“By requiring minimum competency testing accountability, we demand mediocrity.”

In the “keeping us honest” department, here is an e-mail from our resident testing expert Jerry Eads in response to the AJC story on exceptional CRCT gains at five APS elementary school, gains that fell far outside the expected range.

The AJC data analyst — the same person who originally did the CRCT analysis in 2008 that led to the exposure of widespread cheating — said  the odds of such increases range from about one in 700 to one in 21,000. APS is now looking at the gains, which principals and parents credit to extraordinary efforts.

Jerry is the former coordinator, research and evaluation, for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission:

Here is Jerry’s response to the AJC reporting on this issue:

Oh, where to start.

Those of you who catch my posts know I have fits about the AJC continuing to mislead readers by saying “scores increase” or “scores decrease.” That’s because the so-called “scale” scores on minimum competency tests are virtually meaningless. The ONLY thing that should be said of minimum competency tests is whether PASS RATES go up or down.

I’ve noted many times here that there are ONLY TWO even remotely meaningful “score points” on the CRCT “scale”: 800 & 850. The shape of the raw score ‘curves’ are extremely skewed (they don’t even begin to look like a bell curve). What that shows is that the tests are BY DESIGN very easy for average and above average students – they all get most of the questions correct, and we learn NOTHING worthwhile about those students. That also should tell you that the PR about “high standards” is nothing but, well, PR. “Standards” are fine when you’re fitting doors onto cars on an assembly line, but they have no place in an educational system that should be doing its best to meet the needs of ALL students.

On any state’s tests, the difficulty of the individual questions changes a bit each year, so that a “pass” might be 30 questions one year, 32 the next, and 29 the year after that. What THAT means is that the contracted test makers have to “massage” (i.e., beat the heck out of) the scale each year so that the difficulty represented (in our case) by 800 and 850 (pass and exceeds) is pretty close to the same each year. Nothing else matters. The difficulty of each year’s tests at 800 and 850 still DOES vary a bit (sometimes a lot – remember social studies); that’s one part of why some of the change in district and state pass rates has NOTHING to do with whether students performed better or worse from one year to the next.

For all the millions we spend on accountability testing, most of you should no longer be surprised that while we (testing geeks) can sometimes be pretty good at measuring student learning, we’re totally worthless at splitting hairs with individual students (like the difference between 799 and 800).

Most of us expect that a point on a “scale” on a test, whether it’s from 50 to 51, 500 to 501, or 800 to 801 to be akin to inches on a ruler. That’s pretty much true for something like the SAT. The difference between 4 and 5 inches is the same as between 11 and 12 inches. Nothing could be further from the truth in minimum competency testing. It’s quite possible that the difference between 852 and 858 could actually be LESS than between 858 and 871 in terms of actual student learning.

SO, even though the school’s average reading CRCT “scale” score increased from one year to the next, IF the test actually tried to adequately measure ALL students (like the norm-referenced tests from days of yore), it’s VERY likely the average score would actually go DOWN, because minimum competency testing forces teachers to focus only on those students around the “pass” difficulty level, at the expense of all other students. This is especially true in areas with high proportions of very disadvantaged students.

Are the changes in pass rates at the school referenced in Maureen’s recent post possible? Yes. There are MANY ways to change pass rates – not the least of which is to transfer or at least label as transfers low-performing students. Another is to change answers after the fact. But another is to put all (or most) of your resources into doing NOTHING else but teaching the students performing close to the pass point to pass the tests – to the exclusion of real education. While the last is perhaps the best of three miserable options, it is certainly far from what we should want for our kids. By requiring minimum competency testing accountability, we demand mediocrity.

I’ve heard rumors there may be changes afoot for Georgia’s school accountability. For the sake of our kids, our state, and our state’s economy, I certainly hope so.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

105 comments Add your comment

Data After a Decade

July 29th, 2011
4:16 am

After about ten years of the CRCT, are students demonstrably
better in math and reading than fifteen and twenty years ago
(before the strong emphasis on standardized testing and NCLB
accountability)? Based on the students seeking entrance
into college,are SAT/ACT scores higher ,or lower as a result
of the emphasis of CRCT ?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 29th, 2011
5:26 am

The mission of Dr. John Barge and his team is to bring real accountability for our students and teachers. Dr. Barge, Dr. Buck and the other members of Team Barge deserve our complete support in their efforts. GODSPEED to them!

Peter Smagorinsky

July 29th, 2011
5:27 am

Thanks Jerry, for helping us peek behind the curtain of what these numbers represent, and don’t represent. I do hope that people who believe that these scores indicate the single best indicator of student learning are paying attention.

DeborahinAthens

July 29th, 2011
6:42 am

Many things need to change in our schools. It seems to me that some kids are very smart, but are not able to think. I don’t know if technology or teaching to the test is to blame for that. Another thing that must change is the attitude of kids to education. The kids that live in poverty, in projects where thugs rule, don’t have a prayer until the attitudes towards learning change. I have no idea how to do this. I would suspect it would begin with educating young women to stop having babies they are I’ll prepared to raise. There must be some way to break the cycle of poverty and that has to be the first step. Then we have to make learning more important to these kids than sports and drugs. These kids seem more focused on making a quick buck than having the patience to knuckle down and learnHow do we do that? No clue.

Lee

July 29th, 2011
7:00 am

“By requiring minimum competency testing accountability, we demand mediocrity.”

No. In theory, by requiring minimum competency accountability, they are trying to ensure that a student sitting in a (pick a grade) classroom is actually capable of doing the work at a baseline level.

What has ensured mediocrity is the politically correct practice of inclusion and integration. Schools could (and should) group by ability/achievement level in the early grades and provide instruction at a pace and level pursuant to that class’ ability level. However, the man behind the curtain tells us that you can have the future valedictorian, the future felon, the illegal alien who cannot speak a lick of English, the Special Ed and the dumb as dirt student all sitting in a “balanced” classroom, but it is okay because the teacher can “differentiate” instruction.

Implementation of the CRCT, EOCT, graduation tests, et al, were done as a response to years of grade inflation, passing students from grade to grade who could not do the work, and the graduation of illiterates.

Unfortunately, due to the cheating scandal, we cannot even rely upon these simple tests to tell us anything.

Back to square one….

Cobb Teacher

July 29th, 2011
7:01 am

Nothing will EVER change until the State of Georgia demands more than mediocrity from the COMMUNITIES and PARENTS. Period.

Tucker Guy

July 29th, 2011
7:21 am

Thank you for this great note. I hope everybody reads it.

@Cobb Teacher; I don’t think the state should demand more, communities and parents should be the ones demanding more. Until that happens nothing will ever change.

@Lee; I agree. Back to square one…

Bruce Kendall

July 29th, 2011
7:27 am

@ Data After a Decade,

The 1967 national SAT reading/vocabulary score was 540, in 2010 it was 501, a thirty-nine point difference. For the last forty-four (44) years, there has been an erratic but steady decline in reading scores.

ScienceTeacher671

July 29th, 2011
7:33 am

@Lee: Implementation of the CRCT, EOCT, graduation tests, et al, were done as a response to years of grade inflation, passing students from grade to grade who could not do the work, and the graduation of illiterates.

Unfortunately, due to the cheating scandal, we cannot even rely upon these simple tests to tell us anything.

Actually, because the state has set the pass rates on most of these tests so low, you can’t really rely on them to tell you much, even if there is no cheating.

Unfortunately, students can pass without even having minimal competency. So we’re still passing students who cannot do the work from grade to grade, but now it’s state-sanctioned.

ScienceTeacher671

July 29th, 2011
7:38 am

@Tucker Guy: communities and parents should be the ones demanding more. Until that happens nothing will ever change.

Excellent point.

redweather

July 29th, 2011
7:45 am

@DeborahinAthens: It seems to me that some kids are very smart, but are not able to think.

Well, I guess anything is possible.

FBT

July 29th, 2011
7:46 am

How should student achievement be measured? I am no fan of the CRCT, but how will parents and school officials know what is happening in the classroom?

Garrett Goebel

July 29th, 2011
7:49 am

Before we get into the usual soap box and passing the blame game…

City Schools of Decatur is doing a number of things which are encouraging. CSD is looking at improving the percentage of students receiving exceeds. And CSD is increasingly looking beyond the CRCT to the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP). MAP is administered multiple times per year and is both criterion referenced and nationally normed. With MAP our system has the ability to set individual growth targets.

Our administration and teachers are taking steps to insure that students across the spectrum are learning and achieving as well or better than the national average. Last year at one of our schools we found that our highest achieving students weren’t growing as fast as similar students across the country. So the principal and teachers have made changes to insure that those students will be introduced to more new and challenging content.

Reid

July 29th, 2011
7:52 am

I run a learning center, and I tell parents all the time that 800 doesn’t mean your child is prepared to be successful next school year. 800 means your child knows the LEAST POSSIBLE to be passed to the next grade. Since I’m a private learning center, they think I’m just trying to make a buck. It’s too bad when they don’t believe me.

Dr NO

July 29th, 2011
7:58 am

atlmom

July 29th, 2011
8:05 am

Of course, we are only looking at pass rates, and who is passing the tests, etc.
So what happens is the ’smart’ kids aren’t cared about one lick in most schools. the teachers only care about the pass rates, so they only worry about those kids who are on the border.
We are doing a huge disservice to our children, and have been for decades. the latest laws are only one more symptom.
we are falling behind – way behind – the rest of the world. But it seems no one is really interested. They prefer to pretend that our political correctness is more important than if anyone actually learns in school.
The schools are but a microcosm of our society. They are only a symptom of all other things. it used to be that education could take you out of poverty. what does that even mean anymore? people seem to have learned only that they can work the system, and don’t really need a ‘formal’ education, they learn they can get money for nothing, and who doesn’t want that? it’s not hard to see when we are apparently giving away cell phones and hoverrounds. Why bother working?

We need our government to be less of a safety net. we are teaching people that it is fine not to actually want to want more for their family and/or that it’s okay to have several kids you can’t care for. Who needs an education?

We need to look at so many other things – not just our education system. it’s not the center root of the problem. it’s taken us decades to get where we are, though, and I guess it will take at least decades to get out. if we can.

Cobb Teacher

July 29th, 2011
8:07 am

@Tucker Guy You are totally correct – communities and parents SHOULD be demanding more…but they don’t. And as a whole, they never will. It’s easier to pass all of the responsibilities onto schools and teachers. But if the State of Georgia demanded more, such as holding communities and parents accountable, then real change would occur. But nobody in this State has the guts to do so. How would they hold them accountable? $$$$$. Fine communities and parents for low performing schools and students for a year or two without penalizing schools and teachers and see what happens. If change happens, then start looking at the schools and teachers. But wait, the State already does this – only in reverse.

www.honeyfern.org

July 29th, 2011
8:08 am

@Data After A Decade – where did you get that information? It is patently false.

@FBT – IMHO, student progress should be measured on actual performance tasks, not a one-off standardized test; although a standardized test can (and, some argue, should) be included in a portfolio as a snapshot, it should not be the only opportunity for a student to show what they know.

The CRCT does not serve the purpose for which it was intended and should be scrapped. I think it should be scrapped even before a replacement is developed; it is that damaging to students, that misleading to parents and that destructive to education in general.

atlmom

July 29th, 2011
8:17 am

the reality is that we are all well aware of the good performing schools. it is NOT rocket science. look where the housing prices are high. look at the schools. we all know where the kids are doing well.
the whole testing thing was to ‘prove’ that the bad schools are bad. but it takes years, with the laws the way they are. and by then, well, you are several years into a child’s education. it’s a crying shame is what it is.
I don’t honestly know what the answer is (charter schools? school choice?) – because the kids with the parents who care will try to get them to the best schools. and the other parents still won’t care. so what good does school choice do for them?

teacher&mom

July 29th, 2011
8:19 am

“But another is to put all (or most) of your resources into doing NOTHING else but teaching the students performing close to the pass point to pass the tests – to the exclusion of real education.”

Teaching to the test has adopted new “labels’ because test-prep is earning a bad reputation. If your child comes home talking about RTI, Study Island, Write-to-Learn, AIMSWeb, NovaNet, Reading Street, SuccessMaker, etc. They are working on test-prep. Make no mistake about it.

A Conservative Voice

July 29th, 2011
8:23 am

@AJC Article, July 29th – Twyman said there were two state monitors assigned to her school during testing last spring, along with two Atlanta Public Schools monitors. She said two of her employees at West Manor were also assigned to watch the testing.

Kinda like the Fox watching the Hen House

Look folks, nothing’s gonna get solved until we rid ourselves of the US Department Of “Bad” Education.

Chris

July 29th, 2011
8:25 am

Even if you ignore the variable nature of difficulty from year to year, and the non-linear relationships between the scale scores and actual achievement, the truth remains that you only have to get half the questions correct to pass. It is a multiple choice test. You should be able to randomly guess the correct answer to 1/4th of the questions. That means you only need to actually know the answers to slightly more than 1/4th of the questions to pass. That isn’t achievement. That isn’t a standard. That is a joke with a multi-billion dollar punch line.

Mikey D

July 29th, 2011
8:26 am

Yet another well-reasoned analysis of why using these tests to judge true learning is a ridiculous notion. And still, in spite of all evidence, the state continues down the path toward judging and paying teachers based on these standardized tests. The silence from the governor’s office is deafening. Any chance, Maureen, of hearing their response to the mounting evidence that what they are doing with rttt is destined to fail?

John Konop

July 29th, 2011
8:30 am

Jerry I agree 100% with you. The issue we have is the measurement stick for No Child Left Behind uses the complete opposite logic. Also it discounts aptitude of the student and pushes a one size fit all formula.

I have made the following points many times here and in public:

1) Grades and test scores within reason do not directly correlate with job performance. We look for competency not the best score when interviewing.

2) Not every student is the same. And we should allow students more choices on curriculum track not one track fit all ie like they do in Germany.

3) The measurement of schools and teachers should be based on graduation rate and successful placement in higher educational program after high school or completed job skills upon graduation depending on the track not a score on a test.

Garrett Goebel

July 29th, 2011
8:58 am

John Konop:

While I agree with your point #2, Germany does not have a “one track fit all”. It actually has quite the opposite. Early selection into one of multiple tracks: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/case.356/tracking

#3 seems appropriate to measuring schools, but not individual teachers. The only reasonable way to measure teachers is through individual growth metrics. Teachers have little control over which students they get or how prepared they are.

On measuring schools, I would add the following measures:

Percentage of graduates which are unemployed who are not enrolled in higher education program
in the first two years after graduation.

Percentage of graduates:
- enrolled in college
- in college receiving remedial instruction
- in college receiving advanced placement credit
- in college who enroll for a 2nd year

@Bruce Kendall

July 29th, 2011
9:09 am

“The 1967 national SAT reading/vocabulary score was 540, in 2010 it was 501″

Actually, it’s worse than you think. I’m pretty sure that sometime after 1980, the SAT was “renormed” to change the average score from around 900 to 1,000. So 540 in 1967 to 501 in 2010 is a bigger drop than it appears to be.

John Konop

July 29th, 2011
9:10 am

Garret,

…. Germany does not have a “one track fit all”….

I am sorry I meant we should follow their 4 track system.

Fericita

July 29th, 2011
9:13 am

“Minimum competency testing forces teachers to focus only on those students around the “pass” difficulty level, at the expense of all other students. This is especially true in areas with high proportions of very disadvantaged students.”

This is ABSOLUTELY true. My principal wanted us to only focus on these “bubble kids.”

John Konop

July 29th, 2011
9:15 am

Garret,

…. #3 seems appropriate to measuring schools, but not individual teachers. The only reasonable way to measure teachers is through individual growth metrics. Teachers have little control over which students they get or how prepared they are.
On measuring schools, I would add the following measures:
Percentage of graduates which are unemployed who are not enrolled in higher education program
in the first two years after graduation…..

The bonus for teachers could be 50% based on school system performance and 50% based on the student successfully staying on track. I also agree the extra measurements make sense.

Middle School Teacher

July 29th, 2011
9:19 am

I am sorry to step on the toes of leaders who so strongly support the ridiculous CRCT as a means of testing student abilities and teacher accountability. The test is not a viable indicator of either. All this testing has done nothing but dumb down education in Georgia. That is why we are still at the bottom of the American heap in education. Our entire society is seemingly focused on the CRCT scores. The real estate industry has a viable interest in keeping ths scores high. Better scores equals higher valuation in a district. I even heard a district administrator state, in a staff development course, speaking of the need to teach to the test to ensure that the real estate values stay high in my district. The major problem is that the statement was realistic in an environment where testing is held to such a high level. What ever happened to the ITBS, a much more reliable national standard, being the indicator of success for our children? All the state is doing is dumbing down our students and making their chances of success in college diminish. It is highly discouraging when I see some of the best students getting to the college level only to have to take remedial courses just to remain there.

Why do we continue to place so much emphasis upon multiple choice testing? Are we afraid to challenge our students to “think?” Where is the time in the schedule to allow our students to research, learn different sides to a story, and debate? These are the skills that are required in college and in the real world. Problem solving along with multiple individuals is the most critical skill for everyone in college and the working world. No questions in the real world are multiple choice.

I feel the extreme pressure placed upon teachers to have all their students “meet standards” (which are far below any reasonable expectation) has caused many of them to just “give up” on doing anything challenging, refreshing, or thought-proviking. All of these activities require time, time that is wasted on preparing for the CRCT. We are wearing our students down through useless testing. They are NOT learning to think, to express their opinions, to listen to the thoughts of others, or to compromise. You can see that today in the National Debt controversy. No one cares what others think. They have not been taught to recognize that others have reasonable opinions on any subject. Everything in life is not multiple choice. Until we realize that in Georgia, we will continue to crank out robots of tunnel vision.

I refuse to give a Pre-CRCT exercise. I never have specifically prepared any of my students for standardized testing. I have just “taught” the materials I am required to teach. I hold myself responsible for ensuring that my students, when they are tested, excel. Making them think, reason, listen to differing opinions, form their opinions, and make decisions based upon their research always endears them to learning on their own. I will hold up my test results to anyone as a teatament to my teaching. Not only that, I truly feel that my refusal to give in to the mediocrity the CRCT has brought to Georgia’s education system.

Teachers! Show the courage to take a stand on this issue. Know your required subject. Know the academic skills your students must achieve. Give the students the time to digest information and form their own thoughts. Challenge them to support a position opposite to the way they (or their parents) think. Get out of the box. STOP creating a “multiple choice” mentality in your students.

Jennifer

July 29th, 2011
9:21 am

This gentleman is absolutely on target. There is so much information that parents need to begin to understand so they are no longer swayed by the spin of minimal proficiency testing and their districts spin on school performance. When we start to reach a critical mass there – then parents can regain and influence with their voice and vote.

Scott

July 29th, 2011
9:33 am

@ Data After a Decade – Even if we can confirm the downward trend in student achievement, you cannot say it was caused by factor X (standardized testing) or factor Y (grade inflation) or any other factor we might dream up. The data is confounded by a myriad of societal changes. We can only speculate about what causes any fluctuation in scores from year to year. As Jerry stated, some fluctuation is simply due to the inclusion of new questions each year that may be harder or easier.

I though Jerry’s analysis was generally sound and insightful. I agree that these tests are designed to measure minimal competency and specific test scores must be considered with a grain of salt. However, I don’t agree that the scores are useless. In fact they are quite useful in approximately ranking students and sorting out the incompetent ones. The main problem I have is that we fail to utilize the information to hold back incompetent students.

And I agree with @ScienceTeacher671 that the tests are too easy rather than too hard, which means that although the difference between 799 and 800 is not statistically significant, to score near or below 800 is deeply condemning and should result in a 100% remediation rate. Even a score of 810 or 820 is hardly assuring about the student’s readiness.

But then again, we aren’t really holding the student accountable to learn anything, so why would we expect him to be competent, even after teachers waste weeks of instructional time trying to spoon feed him basic competency knowledge for the test?

Middle School Teacher

July 29th, 2011
9:35 am

@John Konop. I totally agree with your thoughts. China, South Korea, and Japan, as well as all European countries do not look at students as “one size fits all.” Recently I toured middle schools in China and South Korea. I was amazed at the fact that they test everyone as certain poiints in their education to determine the student’s individual course of education. By the time students get to the 7th or 8th grade, the determination has already been made through realistic testing which path the student will take. I saw 8th grade students working in a machine shop making pistons for an engine with sophisticated equipment. The finished products were sold to merchants to raise money for the school. The students did not consider themselves as “second rate” individuals because they were not destined for college. They were proud of their skills. We overlook that in our education system. “If you don’t go to college, you are a failure!” seems to be our mantra in the U.S. education system. No Child Left Behind actually means No Exceptional Child Gets Ahead.” When a child of median intelligence is elated by “exceeding standards”, they have been given false hope for succeding at all in college.

All this foolishness MUST STOP if we ever expect to maintain a high position among intelligent countries. Take a look at our Asian students. They all are expected, by driven parents, to go above and beyond. That is why so many of them are valedictorians.

We must all WAKE UP”

atlmom

July 29th, 2011
9:40 am

we are not germany. there isn’t another country in the world we are like. to compare us to anyone is unrealistic. they have a homogenous tiny country where pretty much everyone has the same values.
We do not. which is pretty much why a federal agency fails when trying to implement most things. Especially education. Education needs to be individualized…then let the states do it. we are wasting trillions of dollars on this – dollars that the states could actually use to educate people.

V for Vendetta

July 29th, 2011
9:46 am

Cobb Teacher,

Fine communities and parents for low performing schools? Are you kidding? I think the socialism bell has tolled enough in this country. Instead, why not hit them where it hurts? Take away entitlement programs so the value of education rises. As it stands, many parents and students do not value education. While making it private would automatically increase its value, ending entitlement programs that allow people to live education free would largely do the same–without having to privatize education. Whatever happens, education must be valued by parents and students before they will treat it with the proper amount of respect. People don’t tend to value things that are handed to them free of charge.

@Deb n athens

July 29th, 2011
9:53 am

Enter your comments here

Ashley

July 29th, 2011
10:02 am

The term mediocrity isn’t a term the schools should be proud of. I have never heard anyone use the word in a good way. Most teacher and parents want above average, good or excellent test scores not mediocre. In our everyday lives we want things to be good or excellent. One doesn’t put much stock in mediocrity or average in this day in age. Yes the economy has caused some to rethink this, but as far as schools and testing….mediocrity is just unacceptable, we must and should demand more.

@Deb n athens

July 29th, 2011
10:03 am

i know this will sound repeative BUT

most of the problems we are facing now is due to federal government intervention

yes, poverty is a huge problem for this nation as it pretains to education; but taking from someone and giving to another is not working ; has never worked

really all one has to do is step back and really look at what the federal government does
Bureau of Indian Affairs… yea, that worked out great for the Native Americans;

Fast and Furious…. the president and others said we have a problem with guns going to Mexico… well guess who was getting the guns there

NCLB…. 100% by 2014 …. really
do away with testing (how did Amercia ever survive before EOCTs)
do away with the Departement of Education (how did Amercia ever survive before)

atlmom

July 29th, 2011
10:06 am

v for vendetta: no joke, there are no consequences for actions anymore. if your kid doesn’t get to school, what happens? nothing. take away ‘entitlements’ if the parent has any. put the parent in jail, and the kid in foster care.
YES, do things. Make actions have consequences. you can’t force people to care, however, but if you start forcing people to be responsible for themselves, maybe they would realize that valuing education might be a good thing.
I mean, how do you teach a 5 YO that being in kindergarten is a good idea? when for five years they haven’t been given the values that education is important?

atlmom

July 29th, 2011
10:09 am

ashley – totally true. i mean, we can’t all be above average, but we can all strive to do better. Really all NCLB does is to create the idea that ‘just passing’ is a wonderful thing. rather than trying to pull up the top students. i mean, it’s not a bad thing to want all kids to be ‘proficient’ but it is coming at the expense of the brighter students.

atlmom

July 29th, 2011
10:09 am

and deb: you are totally correct. see my post above…

Ashley

July 29th, 2011
10:52 am

@Deb n Athens….you are so spot on, what sadden me is this country as a whole puts more emphasis on who can run the fastest, throw a ball the farthest or dunk the highest, those who get in trouble are given a slap on the wrist or front-page publicity. As a person who puts education above sports or extracurriclum activities, I see it time after time. Learn enough just to get into a good college (where there are tutors and coaches who turn a blind eye). The best and brightess suffer at the college level also because far to much attention is paid to the mediocre student/athlete who is on scholarship. Getting back on track I would like to say until parents and guardians come to valve education with the same fervor of the athlete, and demand better we will be going down this beaten path again. Education is the one right that we should fight for with every fiber in our being.

Veteran teacher, 2

July 29th, 2011
11:12 am

Listen up people! If you don’t believe the writer of this article, let me give you some actual student quotes. “I don’t have to worry about passing my math class this year, I passed my grad test in math.” “Why are you always on my case? I passed my class (with 69.6!!).” “How many questions do I need to get right to pass the EOCT?” “what do I need to make on this test? to pass the class?” “I made 71 on the test. Why did my grade not go up? (Grade was 64!)”

Like it or not, kids are now programed for the minimum to get by. Parents of these kids are NO better!! Except for the Math 1 and Math 2 EOCT tests, the tests ARE very minimal. Yet, because of the politicians, the media, and the culture of school these days, people have ultimate celebrations for “passing” any test.

I was involved in similar discussions at pretty high levels five years ago. Unless something changes, we will be having this SAME DISCUSSION five years from now. Please, everyone resolve to try to become a solution rather than continue to just discuss the obvious problems. In Georgia, the only way at this point is through the legislators. Right now, they only get a trickle of contacts about topics like this. It will take hundreds of thousands to force positive change. Please be one of the hundreds of thousands! Contact your senator and representative often. Encourage others to do so, too. As long as they think we are asleep and continue to take it, those in government will continue to dish it out!

atlmom

July 29th, 2011
11:30 am

veteran teacher 2: what is the answer? no one has that. what if we elect 9 new reps for the BOE? who’s to say they would be any better? In what school system is the system we have working?

Mike

July 29th, 2011
11:32 am

“not the least of which is to transfer or at least label as transfers low-performing students.’

Which is exactly what Hall County Schools has been doing as the AJC has shown
http://www.ajc.com/news/hall-county-students-pushed-960650.html
http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/the-transfer-track-on-945991.html

Sorry Dr Spinks – Barge (and Mathers) is not passing the smell test when he is doing nothing but praising his buddies in Hall County for this garbage. Where is the accountability for our kids?

You have to treat systems without favoritism to”bring real accountability for our students and teachers”.

This simply isn’t happening.

[...] “By requiring minimum competency testing accountability, we demand mediocrity.” | Get Sc… [...]

Digger

July 29th, 2011
11:55 am

If teachers could only teach as well as they talk the talk. Rah-rah.

Dr. John Trotter

July 29th, 2011
11:56 am

We have been calling for the quelling of the standardized testing mania in Georgia since MACE’s inception. This was one of my recommendations in The Teacher’s Advocate! magazine in the Fall of 1995 (first article in the first issue), The name of the article was “For Kids’ Sake, Let Teachers Teach!” This can be found in the Archive section of the MACE website…

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

I have been railing against the false gods of standardized tests for years, both in the MACE website, on this blog, and on my personal blog…

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

MACE is entering its 17th school year. I guess MACE has been that many years ahead of the game here in Georgia! Ha! I recommend that people read what Diane Ravitch has been writing about standardized testing, especially about the enormous amount of systematic cheating that accompanies it.

Dr NO

July 29th, 2011
12:46 pm

This is all very small potatos compared to the Credit Suisse and Standard/Poors credit downgrade that is coming.

Gold up
Oil up
Food up
Interest rates up(for all u ARM holders)

Fasten your seatbelts and Happy Friday ;)

Veteran teacher, 2

July 29th, 2011
12:49 pm

Answers? 1. Get rid of all federal government mandates beginning with NCLB. 2. Make the state DOE consulative only, and greatly reduce the current mission of the DOE. 3. Return control to the local BOE. If the larger community demands excellent schools, excellence will happen. If the community does not give a rip, why do we depend on federal or state government to reign them in? Like that has happened with the plethora of federal and state regulations that have come down in the last 15 years??? 4. Expose all the CRCT and EOCT tests as the frauds they are and get rid of them forthwith. If you want standardized testing, there are recognized national standardized tests available. By the way, the recognized national standardized tests all provide information to the teachers that can actually be used to enhance instruction for the individual students. The fake CRCT and EOCT tests provide almost no information that can be used to enhance instruction for the individual students. 5. To those that continuously say “But what can we do instead of tests to tell how the teachers are doing and hold them accountable?” Come on, really, don’t you know how well the schools in your district are doing? Do you really need fake test data to tell you? Maybe my community is different, but I assure you that every school in the district and every teacher in the district has a “report card” out in the community. I am told by multiple people what is on my report card all the time. Fortunately, as I write this there are parents at the school requesting that their kids be transfered into my class. Our system does not always do so well on the fake testing, but we rarely hear a negative comment from our community. Why? They know what is really going on the in the schools, and they see the products we are turning out. They see how well they are doing in college and in operating their own businesses. They see how the kids really like to come to school, and they see the extra hours we spend both bringing up those that are behind and enriching those that are way ahead. My community strongly feels we don’t need the government to provide a fake report card for us. Why is that the role of state or federal government, anyway? 6. Just tell me what is the curriculum of the class I am supposed to teach, and LET ME TEACH! Everything will be fine!