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Test - Small FeaturedDid New York State manufacture an educational crisis by releasing artificially low test scores? By creating panic, government may be able to enact “reforms” more easily.

Nazareth College Professor Maria Baldassarre-Hopkins  wrote an important and fascinating blog post about how the state decided the “cut scores.” The state gathered educators at a hotel for five days to go over the tests – and the results – and make recommendations.

Here’s the big problem she revealed. The tests are supposed to measure what students know based on national standards. Yet the state set those standards – after the results came in. The state looked at how many kids answered questions right as it was deciding the cut scores. The professor, who signed confidentiality agreements, implies the panel’s work was not heeded.

The anti-education “reform” crusader Diane Ravitch picked up on the blog post. She published a response to the Nazareth professor’s post from testing expert Fred Smith:

…data generated by the test population were used–changing the concept of a standards-based test (as in testing aligned with the common core learning standards) to one that depends on the performance of students who took the test.

This makes the Level 2, 3 and 4 thresholds dependent on how well kids did on the exams–bringing the test score distribution into play and rendering judgments about cut scores and student achievement relative to the composition of the students who took a particular set of items at a particular time–a normative framework instead of a standards-based one.

This information adds to the questions about the state tests and how they will be used.

 

Links of the Day:

 

– There’s a flaw in the state’s teacher evaluation system. Teachers could be rated “ineffective,” even if scores say they are average.

– Cuomo got $100,000 from a developer and then signed a law giving it big tax breaks.

– Buffalo police will post pictures of johns online. 

– Amazing. Less than a month after her ouster from North Syracuse, former RCSD official Kym Dyce is hired to run the large Tulsa school district. (Do employers use Google?)

– The George Eastman House restored a long lost Orseon Welles film called “Too Much Johnson.”

– A review says Amore restaurant is a vehicle to sell Wegmans products.

– Frederick Law Olmstead left his mark on Rochester.

– Why cycling is so popular in the Netherlands.

– Swedish men are warned about testicle-biting fish.

6 Responses to Manufactured Crisis?

  1. August 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm Susan Barnhart responds:

    Tests are supposed to be “normed” before they are deemed ready for official use. Said another way, the tests are supposed to be given unofficially to lots of groups, to verify for test validity, which means that it measures what it is supposed to measure, and reliability, which means that a variety of sample tests, at different testing events, still give you the similar scores.

    That said, it is clear that this test does not appear ready for valid or reliable measures of student progress towards a path to college readiness, if that is what the common cores standards are measuring. The test developers are still formulating their norms.

    However, as a retired RCSD school counselor, I have long been a voice for the lack of college readiness in RCSD. The 5% college readiness level is consistent with past published data by the state. Telling my students that there is often a huge difference between graduating from high school, and being prepared for college was a constant battle, as so many headed to MCC for non credit remedial classes. So few were accepted to four year colleges.

    • August 11, 2013 at 8:17 am ben c. responds:

      My son worked his way though graduate school teaching remedial math to engineering majors and other undergrads like medical students.

    • August 12, 2013 at 9:01 am Teddi Urriola responds:

      Susan,
      Thank you for pointing out what I learned years ago in grad school. Reliability means that if you take the test on another day you will see similar results. Validity means that the test actually tests what it says it tests. Since it was all done in secret with no input from educators how do we know what it measures. We are being asked to take it on faith that these tests actually test what they are supposed to test.

  2. Pingback: Inside the Sausage Factory Where Failed Schools are Made » Balloon Juice

  3. August 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm Orielly responds:

    Many professors give exceptionally hard tests to control the number of A’s and B’s they give out vs testing against what was presented in the classroom. Its more fun for them that way as they have their power ego validated.

    So working that concept into their political agenda by controlling test scores makes even more “sense” – to them.

    And then they try maintain what they think is educational integrity. For many its a game vs honesty and real integrity.

    Teachers, Teachers Unions, and Colleges who pride themselves on international students accepted while they reject US applicants totaled up are leading contributors to the demise of this country.

  4. August 13, 2013 at 10:49 am Sam Anders responds:

    Orielly: another obvious teacher hater. Blaming teachers, teachers unions, and colleges for the ” demise of the country ” ? That’s the most laughable comment I’ve ever seen !

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