Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Testing Fever

I don't know how I missed this yesterday, but Elizabeth Green at Gotham Schools has a great piece about the 1-4 scale used to score "proficiency"on New York tests.  A score of 2 is enough to pass to the next grade, 3 is a little better, and 4 is the highest possible grade.  However, students with a 3 score "only have a 55% shot of getting a Regents diploma."

I don't know about you, but 3 to me would suggest a B, or a relatively good performance.  NY teachers know the Regents exams are not a particular indicator of stellar performance, but rather that this or that kid did enough to get by.  For a kid unable to pass the Regents to earn a 3, these tests musts have even lower standards.  In fact,  I remember reading Diana Senechal, writing about the sixth grade test,  that she simply wrote A, B, C, D over and over again, and managed to score a 2, or good enough to pass.

It's remarkable that Chancellor Klein can get up in front of God and everybody and state that he opposes social promotion.  In fact, basing promotion on a single test, or even weighing a single test heavily is a poor idea.   Basing it on tests like these, in fact, is practicing a most cynical form or social promotion.  It's amazing how folks like Klein get to speak out of both sides of their mouths, and that few if any members of our media challenge them.

I'm glad Gotham found this.  It's too bad NY Times editorial writers don't read Gotham, relying mostly on Tweed PR for their opinions.  It'll probably take three or four years before this news hits them.  By then Klein will be on to something even worse, and they won't know about that either.
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