High-stakes testing cheats children out of a quality education

crcted.0920 (Medium)The folks at FairTest have been raising the alarm about excessive testing and its impact on education long before most people.

Here is a response to the AJC investigation into nationwide disparities in test results from Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest: the National Center for Fair & Open Testing

By Robert Schaeffer

Across the U.S., the politically mandated misuse of standardized tests is damaging public schools and the children they serve. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s investigation of suspicious test scores around the nation is just the latest example. Experts may debate the methodology, but there is no question that cheating on standardized exams is widespread. In just the past three academic years, FairTest has documented confirmed cases of test score manipulation in 33 states plus the District of Columbia.

These scandals are the predictable result of over-reliance on test scores. As the renowned social scientist Donald Campbell concluded more than 30 years ago, “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” Campbell continued, “[W]hen test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways.”

Testing experts have long recognized this problem. Their professional standards for educational assessment warn against relying on tests as the sole or primary factor to make high-stakes decisions.

Enhanced test security may reduce the number of reported problems. A real solution, however, requires a comprehensive overhaul of federal, state and local testing requirements. President Obama, Secretary Duncan and many governors regularly issue high-sounding statements about assessment reform. At the same time, the federal government is adding incentives for cheating by ratcheting up the emphasis on standardized exam scores. Many state officials are going along to win federal funds. Initiatives such as “Race to the Top” and the criteria for waivers from “No Child Left Behind” escalate the role of annual high-stakes annual testing. New requirements to assess teachers based on their students’ scores, in particular, virtually guarantee even more cheating will take place.

These policies contradict the findings and recommendations of Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education, released last year by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science. That study’s distinguished panel of experts concluded that high-stakes testing has not improved educational quality

Cracking down on cheating is necessary but far from sufficient. The reports by the Georgia Office of Special Investigators should be a national model of “best practices” for detecting and responding to testing irregularities. Unfortunately, educational bureaucrats may have vested interests in protecting current policies and personnel. Comprehensive reviews by independent law enforcement professionals are often necessary. Combined with the full range of forensic detection tools – including analyses for high numbers of erasures, unusual score gains, and patterns of similar responses – this approach has proven most likely to root out the truth.

More policing and better after-the-fact investigations will not, however, solve the many problems caused by the misuse of standardized exam scores. Instead, high-stakes testing requirements must end. They cheat students out of a high-quality education and cheat the public out of accurate information about school quality.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

125 comments Add your comment

Beverly Fraud

April 2nd, 2012
4:32 am

Now if the AJC will only put as much effort into exposing how DISCIPLINE problems are covered up…

Beverly Fraud

April 2nd, 2012
5:48 am

Maurren since Mike Luckovich’s link doesn’t allow comments, can you ask why he engages in “bash teachers first” mentality by using the word “teacher” in his cheating cartoon, when it’s been pretty well documented that the pressure has come from ADMINISTRATORS?

Wouldn’t a more appropriate tagline have been “a subpoena to testify against your PRINCIPAL?”

Or simply “a subpoena to testify about cheating” if you want to be totally neutral between teachers and administrators?

Otherwise isn’t he engaging in “blame TEACHERS first” when they aren’t the PRIMARY cause of cheating?

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Mary Grabar

April 2nd, 2012
7:35 am

Mountain Man

April 2nd, 2012
7:37 am

There would have been no need of testing if the grades that ended up on report cards were reflective of the students’ mastery of the subject AND administrators were not afraid to hold back kids that had failed to master the subject matter. But since high schools were graduating kids that could not read or write or do simple arithmetic, an alternative to teacher grading had to be found. The SOCIAL EXPERIMENT of SOCIAL PROMOTION is an educational failure. The end result is a student who feels good about himself for doing work that is clearly substandard. The second failed SOCIAL EXPERIMENT is mainstreaming SPED students into classes where they have no chance of mastering the subject matter, so the teacher spends valuable time and effort being a babysitter for someone who gains no EDUCATIONAL value from the class, thus robbing the other students of the teacher’s attention.

Poor Boy from Alabama

April 2nd, 2012
8:07 am

The folks at Fair Test are totally out to lunch. I used the link you provided to see what they’re all about. They’re essentially against tests of all kinds, including the ACT, the SAT, and employment tests.

Did they not notice that US students have fallen to the middle of the pack in critical subjects such as math, science and reading when compared to their global peers? Probably not since they don’t believe in tests. Did they not notice that the US military uses tests to determine which career paths are available to new recruits? Did they not notice that the promotional opportunities for fire fighters, police officers and many other civil servants often hinge on testing? Did they not notice that private employers are increasingly using tests when making hiring decisions? Do they really think colleges and universities are going to scrap the ACT, the SAT, the LSAT, the MCAT, the GMAT or other tests that are used in making admissions decisions? Do they live in the real world?

Testing is a way of life, especially in a global marketplace where it’s harder to compare the skill sets of people from different parts of the globe.

Tests can be a useful tool in determining how well a student is doing in a particular subject and in developing individualized learning plans that can be used to optimize a student’s progress.

It’s fair to ask if we’re using tests wisely, but the folks at FairTest are not in the best position to be asking the question since they have zero credibility on this topic.

Jane W.

April 2nd, 2012
8:16 am

Testing, again.

Or as the teachers’ unions prefer to malign it, “high-stakes” testing. I do by the way want to thank the union’s paid astroturfers for allowing me to squeeze in here during their coffee break.

And may they never have to send their OWN kids to public schools where bankrupt liberal social and education policies make learning impossible—and bad teachers have jobs for life!

Ron F.

April 2nd, 2012
8:21 am

“Did they not notice that US students have fallen to the middle of the pack in critical subjects such as math, science and reading when compared to their global peers?”

I’ve heard that statement for all of the 24 years I’ve taught, and I’ve often wondered when we fell to that level. Where is the data to show where we were on top? As diverse as our population is, when you look at the individual subgroups, you see much different results. Some do well, some don’t. Averaging them all together and then comparing them to less diverse nations produces nothing. Japan is 95% ethnically homogenous. That makes for an irrelevant comparison to our overall scores.

You’re right that testing is a way of life…to an extent. When the test matters, people study and try their hardest. All the testing we force kids through now desensitizes them and they don’t try as hard. If the test doesn’t matter to them, then what? It matters to the teachers, whose evaluations are coming to rely more and more on the scores kids get. How do we make the repeated tests important to kids who would just rather be kids and do anything rather than sit through another standardized test?

Ron F.

April 2nd, 2012
8:23 am

“And may they never have to send their OWN kids to public schools where bankrupt liberal social and education policies make learning impossible—and bad teachers have jobs for life!”

Jane, you’re welcome at any point to become a teacher and fix it all. It’s easy to talk about from the outside, but very different from in here. Come join us and help solve the problem rather than blaming everyone.

[...] Via blogs.ajc.com Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. from → Uncategorized ← THERE CAN BE NO JUSTICE FOR DAVONSTAE SANFORD! – Black Talk Radio Network™ No comments yet [...]

Tony

April 2nd, 2012
8:34 am

Testing is already excessive and is about to increase exponentially under the new common core.

These tests have been perverted and distorted as they are used to quantify so-called teacher effectiveness ratings, a measure that the tests were not designed to measure.

The most dangerous effect all this testing is having on our children is in how the curricula of schools has been narrowed. If it’s not on the test, it is not allowed to be taught. A second factor in how dangerous the test-mania has become is how classrooms spend so much time using materials that look like the tests. In other words, everything is reduced to multiple choice worksheets. This eliminates the critical thinking and creativity that are truly at the heart of real and authentic learning.

Campbell’s axiom rings true. And it’s not just about the cheating in a very few schools that’s the problem. It is about the overemphasis of test data, the improper use of test results (teacher ratings), and the reduction of our curriculum to multiple choice worksheets.

carlosgvv

April 2nd, 2012
8:36 am

High-stakes testing is just the latest in a long line of social experiments begun in the 60’s to insure that all students achieve at the same level. It is not working, a fact that some educators realized to the point of instituting cheating to achieve these equal results. Now that the cheaters are being caught and testing is coming under increasing criticism, look for another experiment to be implemented. Don’t, however, look for it to work.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

April 2nd, 2012
8:36 am

High-stakes testing doesn’t cheat our kids out of a quality education. Curricular, instructional, school
climate, student family and testing-abuse issues conducted, or acquiesced in, by educrats and their minions do that.

Tony

April 2nd, 2012
8:38 am

Ron F. is correct to point out that the US has not “fallen” in international comparisons. These comparisons have been misused by politicians, media, and bloggers to try to claim that American public schools are failing. Unfortunately, too many people lack the critical thinking skills to actually review the data and learn that American students are actually performing quite well.

crankee-yankee

April 2nd, 2012
8:39 am

The current testing rhubarb is reflective of the adage “If “X” is good, more is better.”
We trap ourselves into self-perpetuating loops that will “cure what is wrong” and take a long time to realize the “fix” has its own set of problems. No one (party, organization, etc.) is immune. We need to be more responsive when problems are identified rather than trying to sweep the negatives under the rug so as not to damage a political ideology.

Jane W.

April 2nd, 2012
8:50 am

No sign yet in today’s blog of that other great teachers’ union canard—about teachers being forced to “teach to the test.”

Could the first one to lament it … please help us understand how achievement test scores can remain so LOW when teachers everywhere are “teaching to the test?”

Tony

April 2nd, 2012
8:58 am

An interesting opinion on the use of international test comparisons.

http://bit.ly/HasPzf

Poor Boy from Alabama

April 2nd, 2012
9:01 am

Ron F,

Use this link to see a long term assessment of US student progress from the US Dept of Education: It was done in 1998 and is sobering. It shows little progress by US students over an extended period of time:

http://nces.ed.gov/pressrelease/reform/pdf/reform.pdf

Then fast forward a few years and use this link to see PISA results from 2000 – 2009. Even during that short time span, the percentage of US students who showed high levels of proficiency declined:

http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/pisa-2009-results-learning-trends_9789264091580-en

We see similar stagnation in long term ACT and SAT trends.

There was a period when Americans had high levels of educational attainment compared to the rest of the world. They have now caught up with us. The percentage of young Americans who have gone beyond high school, for example, is now middle of the pack when compared to other nations.

Use this link to learn more:

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/61/47/48630299.pdf

Chart A1.3 shows this clearly

Walk around our most prestigious colleges and universities and this becomes obvious. This is especially true when it comes to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs.

I get your point about growing diversity, but the bottom line is that the rest of the world doesn’t care. Either we’re competitive or we’re not.

We’re going to have to elevate our game unless we want to stagnate and lose economic momentum as a nation. Testing alone is not the answer, but it’s clearly part of the solution since you can’t fix a problem unless you understand it.

I’m the grandson and son of teachers so I appreciate what you do.

Mikey D

April 2nd, 2012
9:02 am

@Jane W.
“and bad teachers have jobs for life!”

This “jobs for life” idiocy is another myth that folks like you with an ideological agenda perpetuate to advance your cause to an uninformed public. I have seen poor excuses for teachers shown the door. I’ve seen it in my school, with my own two eyes. It can happen, and when it has happened the fired teachers didn’t even dispute it. Know why? Because the principal had taken the time to document their failings. It had nothing to do with test scores, but rather with the failure to execute their duties faithfully. Now, I know that goes against the grain of your “unions are evil” simplemindedness, but the truth is often more complex than a regurgitated soundbite from fox news.

HS Math Teacher

April 2nd, 2012
9:47 am

Mountain Man: To add to your good post, when a ninth grade teacher has about 1/4 to1/3 of his/her students who never passed a math course in middle school, your test scores are really going to stink big time. High schools should not be a dumping ground with a one-track curriculum. If nothing changes in this regard, then high schools should become more like community colleges, i.e., have a remedial math class in the 9th grade, with no EOCT, and no Carnegie unit credit for a core math class. Pay a teacher a supplement to teach that class and make the Asst. Principal sit in for the full hour to maintain discipline.

HS Math Teacher

April 2nd, 2012
9:50 am

To add: A student would have to pass this remedial math class before they are allowed to take a regular core math class in high school.

lovelyliz

April 2nd, 2012
9:50 am

“High-stakes testing cheats children out of a quality education”

Just look at what it did for Rod Paige in Texas

[...] The series has sparked a range of responses, including one today from an official of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. [...]

Ron F.

April 2nd, 2012
9:59 am

Poor boy: You have to break down the data to be precise in any comparison. If you compare any single subgroup of similar demographics to another similar group, the comparisons look vastly different. It’s when you look at total USA numbers, which are far too diverse to fairly compare, that you see the disparities you point out.

I’ve seen many reports and much data that looks at overall scores. We have a much higher percentage of students taking the SAT, for example, than is offered in any other country. That makes a comparison of scores erroneous, when other countries will only test those specifically chosen to test because of potential success. 1998 isn’t that long ago in terms of longitudinal data. How far back do we go? Can you find a time that the US scores were the best in the world?

Beverly Fraud

April 2nd, 2012
10:12 am

George W. Bush will vouch that Rod Paige is a great American.

Arne Duncan will vouch that Beverly Hall is a great American.

What do Duncan and Bush have in common? UNQUESTIONED integrity.

We must therefore conclude that lovelyliz is NOT a great American.

DawgDad

April 2nd, 2012
10:46 am

Predictable. Eliminate the testing so the corruption can once again be socialized and hidden from view, so the people in power can advance those favored to them and manipulate outcomes to suit their personal agendas, out of the light of day.

These people don’t want equal opportunity and social justice, they want power and money. Simple fact – testing is exposing the cancers in public education. This is a GOOD thing – sweeping children under the rug for the benefit of corrupt teachers and administrators is a BAD thing. Stop listening to these so-called “experts”, they’re gaming you for their benefit.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

April 2nd, 2012
10:55 am

DawgDad,

You must be a retired public school employee.

EduKtr

April 2nd, 2012
11:12 am

@Jane W: You seem to have found at least a few of the union trolls at their office keyboards! Yes, I too regularly wonder how testing can be the barrier to learning some make it out to be. And why we’re so embarrassingly ineffective at “teaching to the test” given all the time we spend at it.

At least, according to Fair Test.

ssteacher

April 2nd, 2012
11:15 am

“Did they not notice that US students have fallen to the middle of the pack in critical subjects such as math, science and reading when compared to their global peers?”

Based on what – test scores. Circular logic is no logic at all. We are basing our position in the world on assessments that are questionable at best. Who’s to say that the other countries are not using erasers too?

I would ask this question to the AJC – Is there any incentive for investigators who find “cheating” among schools to find cheating in schools? If there is incentive for teachers (though I would say admins are the ones with the most access, opportunity, and incentive) to cheat then there is equal incentive for investigators to identify cheating as well. Which makes their methods suspect.

Since we are so terrible at math in this country, according to test score results, then why should anyone believe the algorithms used to identify erasure deviations? When anyone says it’s a billion to one chance – is that not worthy of checking the math?

Someone should check out these two books (full disclosure – I have nothing to do with either book):

Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception
http://www.amazon.com/Proofiness-Dark-Arts-Mathematical-Deception/dp/0670022160

Proofiness: How You’re Being Fooled by the Numbers
http://www.amazon.com/Proofiness-Youre-Being-Fooled-Numbers/dp/0143120077/ref=pd_sim_b_1

First, teachers are told by NCLB in 2003 to raise your standards and help your kids reach an unachievable target of 100% of students meeting minimum educational standards. Then, when some schools with high minority, low socio-economic families, and any other “these kids can’t achieve” statistics actually improve beyond what is expected, then teachers are accused of cheating.

Here is their Catch 22: Teachers, you will be fired if your kids don’t improve. Teachers, if you kids improve then you will be accused of cheating and you will be fired. The entire process stinks.

DawgDad

April 2nd, 2012
11:19 am

Dr. Spinks: Ha, appreciate the late morning humor.

I just shake my head at these kinds of “reports” – the focus needs to be on the kids. The many, many honest and hard working teachers and administrators need our support and assistance cleaning out the bad apples in their midst. If the kids are being educated the tests aren’t going to be an issue; if the kids aren’t learning they need corrective action/assistance before their lives are seriously impacted.

NONPC

April 2nd, 2012
11:20 am

How else can you measure student success except through testing to see if a student has learned what they are supposed to learn?

How else can you measure student learning from one class to another, one school to another, across the country, so that you are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges?

Student testing sucks, but name any other way to do it.

Poor Boy from Alabama

April 2nd, 2012
11:22 am

Ron F,

The US Dept. of Education report I referenced shows trends going back to 1973. How much further back do you want to go?

The global marketplace moves a lot faster than some of us would like. We can’t afford to get stuck in “analysis paralysis” while other nations move forward. Here’s one example of just how rapidly the world is changing: PetroChina, a thirteen year old company, now produces more crude oil than 125 year old ExxonMobil.

http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-03-30/commentary/31259074_1_petrochina-exxon-mobil-reserves

The macro numbers tell the tale from a global competitiveness point of view. We have got to raise our academic achievement levels as a country. Trying to slice and dice the data won’t change the overall trend. I agree that understanding the differences in performance between various demographic groups is useful when crafting policies to raise overall academic achievement.

ScienceTeacher671

April 2nd, 2012
11:25 am

HS Math Teacher: I like your idea for the remedial math course. I’d make them pass it before they were allowed to take Physical Science, too. At our school, 95% of the students who fail the Physical Science EOCT were committee promoted after failing the math CRCT.

Poor Boy from Alabama

April 2nd, 2012
11:40 am

Ron F @ 9:58

The Dept of Education report I provided a link for includes data that goes back to 1973. How much more history do you need? We are in serious danger of losing our competitive edge. A recent report by the Council on Foreign Relations report (”US Education Reform and National Security”)says the same thing.

The world moves a lot faster than many of us would like. Global competition is relentless. Just last week the news included a story about how 13 year old PetroChina now pumps more oil than 125 year old ExxonMobil.

Slicing and dicing the data by demographic group won’t change the overall trend. I would agree that gaining an understanding of differences in academic achievement by demographic group can be useful in crafting effective policy solutions.

A Conservative Voice

April 2nd, 2012
11:44 am

OK folks, inquiring minds want to know (OK, I want to know), Out of all that has been written on this subject by Maureen Downey and comments made by a legion of people who all insist they have the answer, has anything concrete ever come out of it? I mean, has anyone with any authority at any PSS ever said anything that would lead any of us to believe that all this “Blogging” and “Commenting” has ever resulted in any changes in the way our school systems operate. I’m looking for just “one tiny sliver of anything”. I’d be willing to bet no one can find anything. Folks, the only thing that’s gonna help is “State Control” over our public schools.

Ron F.

April 2nd, 2012
12:00 pm

Poor boy- I’ve seen the reports you posted and reread them today. You still have to realize that it’s an apples and oranges comparison. Different cultures, different emphasis on education, different demographics of group being tested. There’s not data to answer this, but I think if we took or top and bottom 10% and compared them to the top and bottom 10% in other countries, we might see a fairer comparison. There’s no way to control for far too many variables to make the comparison fair. Not that I don’t think there’s something to be learned from the data, but I don’t see massive improvements as a result of all the panicking it has caused either.

One thing perhaps to consider in the USA is the lowering of the dropout rate. More kids stay in school and graduate. I would think that would skew the data as many more dropped out in the 1970’s and we let them. Now more stay and end up taking tests multiple times in the bottom 20% of the population in order to pass them. That is obviously going to affect the data.

Just food for thought.

Dr. John Trotter

April 2nd, 2012
12:02 pm

Hey Beverly and Dr. Craig: It appears that some Educational Pundits (and our friend Maureen) are beginning to sing out of the MACE Hymnal when it comes to the standardized tests becoming the sacred false gods of public education. We have been writing about this from the very beginning of MACE in 1995. In the first publication, we hammered standardized testing, the prescriptive teaching mythologies imposed on teachers and the resulting lack of creativity in the classrooms, and the woeful lack of administrative backing for teachers in the area of classroom discipline. In fact, this MACE mantra was spelled out in this same magazine: You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions. Of course, when students are allowed to defy teachers and disrupt the classroom with near impunity, then this does not bode well for good teaching conditions.

When these same now-somewhat-enlightened Educational Pundits begin to see the all-importance of discipline in the schools, I might finally have more hope. But, until the abject disciplinary conditions are addressed, there is little hope that the schools below the almighty “achievement gap” will ever improve.

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

Ron F.

April 2nd, 2012
12:06 pm

“Folks, the only thing that’s gonna help is “State Control” over our public schools.”

Am I the only one who notices how socialistic that statement sounds?

Poor Boy from Alabama

April 2nd, 2012
12:22 pm

ssteacher@ 11:15

There’’s a lot more than just test scores to show that the US is in trouble of losing its competitive edge.

Check out recent trends in the number of patents issued by country. The US produced about 57% of all patents issued between 1977 and 1998 according to the US Patent and Trademark Office (Patents by Country, State and Year – All Patent Types (December 2011)). By 2011, the US share of all patents was down to 49%.

A recent National Science Foundation report (Science and Engineering Indicators 2010) shows that the number of foreign students enrolling in US colleges and universities has grown steadily over the years:

“Foreign graduate student enrollment in S&E grew from 110,300 in 1993 to 155,000 in 2003, declined for 2 years, and increased slightly in 2006 to 151,000. Foreign students increased from 22% to 25% of all S&E graduate students from 1993 to 2006 (appendix table 2-17 ). The concentration of foreign enrollment was highest in engineering (45%), computer sciences (44%), physical sciences (40%), mathematics (36%), and economics (52%).”

Equally important, other countries are slowly but surely boosting the quality of their colleges and universities.

There can be little doubt that the United States is in danger of losing its competitive edge.

Beverly Fraud

April 2nd, 2012
12:23 pm

“and the woeful lack of administrative backing for teachers in the area of classroom discipline. In fact, this MACE mantra was spelled out in this same magazine”

Bingo!

If there is a catchphrase that needs to catch fire (to put it in simple terms that can be easily understood by the public) it’s this:

Are you “Waiting for Superman”?

Then REMOVE THE KRYPTONITE from the classroom, and let teachers TEACH!

By the way...

April 2nd, 2012
12:34 pm

What ever happened to Beverly Hall, e.g., any crimimal charges, bonuses revoked or returned, etc.? Where is she now?

WAR

April 2nd, 2012
12:42 pm

when we took the two Ps out education we started failing our children then. the two Ps are paddling and prayer. we southerners know that punishment + prayer = principle…. so i guess thats 3 Ps but you get the drift.

William Casey

April 2nd, 2012
12:55 pm

Let’s face it, standardized testing has a useful role in education in providing general bench marks for low level learning. However, it can never accurately measure either sophisticated higher level learning in students or true competence in teachers. The current “testing mania” is simply a misguided effort to “industrialize” schools (i.e.- Henry Ford circa 1914.) The only way to measure real learning or real teaching is by multiple observations (at least ten) by highly trained evaluators. This would be expensive and that’s why it isn’t being proposed. Standardized testing as currently implemented is largely a “dog and pony show.”

irisheyes

April 2nd, 2012
1:04 pm

Jane W. and EduKtr, do you have anything substantive to add to the discussion, or do you just come to “union bash”? If you had read the article (which I assuming you did), you would see that FairTest is not asking for the elimination of standardized tests. What they are saying is that the “misuse” of standardized testing is what is causing many of the issues we see in education today. When we tell a student (and a teacher) that what they have done for 179 school days doesn’t count and only what they do on a single school day does count, we are misusing the test. I don’t think any teacher here is calling for the total elimination of standardized tests, but what they are saying is that when you rely solely on the CRCT to determine the effectiveness of a student and a teacher without looking at what else is going on in the classroom, then you are failing the student and the teacher. You will notice that many of the premier private schools do not rely on an enormous amount of standardized testing. Many of them give the ITBS, which is nationally normed, to see how their students are achieving compared to students around the country. I, for one, would be in favor of that, rather than using the CRCT.

BTW, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a member of GAE. I am a member of PAGE, but the only thing they ever send me is their monthly magazine. In addition, my children go to our local public school. They even ride the bus!

Mountain Man

April 2nd, 2012
1:34 pm

“You will notice that many of the premier private schools do not rely on an enormous amount of standardized testing.”

They don’t have to because they insist on only having GOOD STUDENTS.

Mountain Man

April 2nd, 2012
1:36 pm

“please help us understand how achievement test scores can remain so LOW when teachers everywhere are “teaching to the test?”

Teaching to the test is not effective when the student is not at school of is in the back of the room acting out.

EduKtr

April 2nd, 2012
1:39 pm

@irisheyes: Please excuse me if I take your back-handed endorsement of PAGE—for a slur on the teachers’ association actually preferred by Georgia educators two-to-one over the union-affiliated (GAE) alternative.

And you need to educate yourself regarding the ITBS. One very prominent reason the ITBS is NOT used to evaluate teachers and schools … is because teacher unions insisted at the outset that the ITBS not be so used. Hence, we’re stuck with the CRCT you now disparage.

A tuition voucher system would transfer school selection decisions to parents. And you would not be able to pressure them as you do school boards, so that’s unacceptable to you. Plus—what chance would you have convincing parents you have solutions when they can see with their own eyes the sorry test results in so many public schools?

EduKtr

April 2nd, 2012
1:50 pm

… and while you’re canvassing your union office colleagues for a rhetorical comeback—spare a moment to consider how your Obama campaign donations are being used to limit school choice for inner city parents DESPERATE to escape failing neighborhood schools.

Ron F.

April 2nd, 2012
2:00 pm

Ahmmmm, EduKtr, the reason we quit using ITBS is because with performance standards, we moved beyond testing basic skills (Iowa Test of Basic Skills). The tests were redesigned when the curriculum changed and will be redesigned again once we implement Common Core standards.

ITBS didn’t test what was being taught. Where did you get your information?