Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Gutless Education Officials Take No Credit For Test Score Disaster

NOB HILL--Well the state released the numbers: 81 of ABQ's 128 schools are not making "adequate yearly progress." This is more than double last year's number of 39 schools. If the trend had gone the other way (improvement to the tune of cutting the number of "failing" schools in half) everybody would be claiming credit. As it is, the officials seem to be putting the blame on the kids. The Tribune cites a couple of reasons:
  • English-language learners had to take the reading and math tests in English, which was a problem for many students.
  • APS spokesman Rigo Chavez said the special education population "had to make the same progress" as other groups of students in order for the school to make adequate yearly progress.

These are bad rules and this is a bad test. I predicted lower scores last March, and gave some of the reasons why. However the magnitude of the downturn is more than I ever imagined.

But state and local school officials, instead of saying this is a rotten exam and a rotten way to judge schools, soft-pedal the numbers and say, "Don't worry...be happy.
  • "These are the growing pains of education reform." --Veronica Garcia, State Secretary of Public Education.
  • "This does not mean things aren't going well." --APS Assistant Superintendent Diego Gallegos
I am going to take the liberty of reposting a piece I wrote on the insanity of this test in February.

Standardized Testing: Briefly Revisited

NOB HILL--Here are just a few facts to help you decide whether the No Child Left Behind Act knows what it is doing when it comes to testing our students.

  • 0 ----------The number of hours of state mandated testing that private school students are required to take.
  • 0-----------The number of hours of state mandated testing that home-schooled students are required to take.
  • 4.75--------The number of hours allotted for either the ACT or the SAT (including the new writing segment). These are the tests which generally decide whether you have what it takes to enroll in college.
  • 6------------The number of hours allotted for the National Teachers Exam. This test, with the appropriate coursework enables you to receive teacher certification at any primary or secondary level.
  • 11-----------The number of hours estimated for a third grader (8 year-old) to take the state mandated New Mexico Standards Based Assessment. This test is designed to see what the child has learned in the last 9 months.
Why doesn't some of our high-priced talent say something that makes sense! Like, "This test does more harm than good." Or, "Don't believe goofy numbers." Or, "What does this prove?" This isn't educational reform...this is the punishment for not having your children in private schools.

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