Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Friday, October 17, 2003
Failing the Test
It's no real shocker that the state program to test academic proficiency of New York High Scholl students is a mess. What is fairly scary is this:
People who should have known better were fooled. New York's testing program was one of the first approved by the federal government under No Child Left Behind. In the spring, a survey of testing programs by Princeton Review ranked New York first of the 50 states. "Mills was hard core" about testing, said Steven Hodas of Princeton Review. "He had a take-no-prisoners attitude," he said.
So this wasn't just one more state program. It was a program in one of the largest and wealthiest states, selected by alleged experts as the best in the nation. And yet, the tests were inadequately tested, the scoring was arbitrary and inconsistent, some questions were incomprehensible, and the contents of the tests failed to match the state guidelines of what students were expected to learn.
Similar tests are now being imposed across the country, due primarily to the No Child Left Behind act, as well as state-level initiatives. No real funding from Washington is being provided to ensure well-designed tests, or to help schools prepare students. Millions of students will spend weeks or months of class time preparing for these tests at immense expense and with huge disruption of other educational objectives. And yet there is little evidence that the millions of test scores that will be collected and analyzed will even provide meaningful information, much less a real approach to fixing the real problems of schools.