Today's must read is from the Gannet newspaper syndicate via the Tennessean--and not just because I'm quoted. It's not that "test scores don't help" it's inaccurate test scores that don't help. And when the rules, tests, formats, content change regularly--the excuse that we're comparing apples to oranges allows enough room for a Mack truck to drive through. And sure enough...just as we're reviewing all of this the state is, again, revising the curriculum and tests. It's a moving target.
Tennessee has one of the largest gaps in the nation between how well students score on federal and state standardized tests, a new analysis of testing data has found.and
Yet, somehow that isn't working well either.
'Cheap tricks' vary
States use a number of "cheap tricks" to create the illusion that students are doing better than they really are, said Dan Koretz, a Harvard University testing expert.
Those include designing tests easy enough for almost all students to pass or lowering passing scores to make sure most students make the grade.
I think the authors cut my quote awkwardly before printing it.
"Because taxpayer money is being taken, there must be accountability."I actually started by saying until we have actual choice, where the free market can decide (which schools to utilize) and because we're using taxpayer money and educating other people's children some sort of accountability is required. This is a standard phrase of mine--as some of you will know. To me, it's always been more about the children than about the money. Both are important but children only get one childhood--somehow the legislature always manages to find more money for the things that are first on it's agenda.
Here's the link to the Gannet interactive map. Click on the map and then the mouse rollover feature will let you slide around from state to state to view the differences between their state scores and the national NAEP test.
To save you some time here are the differences for surrounding states in 8th grade Math Scores from 2005.
13 KentuckyNo other state in the nation has as much difference between state and national scores as Tennessee in math. The next three other states, NC, WV and NE all score in the low 50's.
52 North Carolina
And here 4th grade Reading.
53 North Carolina
The Tennessean provides a graphic of all the states in order for 8th grade math but not for reading. Wonder why they only show the one where we're not at the bottom.