Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shipp: Perdue's to Blame for School Failure

Who better than Bill Shipp to tell it like it is when it comes to Georgia's public schools. The current testing debacle says little about Georgia's students, yet, it speaks volumes about Predue, Cox and the republican-led General Assembly. Half of Georgia's eighth graders failed the math exam, and even more failed the now-discarded social studies exam. Don't you love it? Set children up for failure, then when they fail, and it makes you look bad, toss the results. Oh, don't get me wrong, there was no choice but to toss the results, and they ought to do that with the math, too, but that would get a little complicated. Because of NCLB, the feds would have to agree. But tossing results is not the answer-actually funding and supporting public schools is the answer. Everyone knows that the republican agenda is to privatize public education, so answer me this: in the private sector heads would role in the wake of a failure of this magnitude. Stock holders would insist upon it. So, can someone please explain to me why Kathy Cox should keep her job? For that matter, why would we ever again trust republicans to take care of our schools?

As Shipp so eloquently points out-it's not children and teachers who have failed. It's Perdue, Cox and all who supported their agenda. Until now, those most aware of the ceremonial gutting of our schools were educators. Not so any longer. Parents who must deal with their 8th graders failing test scores are now fully aware of the real price of the republican agenda.

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Tina said...

The CRCTs given to Georgia's children are not technically valid tests like the ITBS, for example, or the PSAT or SAT, which have been field tested across the country. That's what standardized means, and the CRCTs are NOT standardized. Hence parents might very well question the validity of these tests, since not much validity information exists. Try, for example, looking up the Georgia tests in Boros Mental Measurements Yearbook. If Georgia's parents want "clean" tests, then the state needs to be using the Iowa Test of Basic Skills or similar standardized test. The reason that the state gives for using the "home-made" CRCTs is that the state wants certain criteria tested. But why should Georgia's criteria be any different from any other state's? I imagine that the reason why standardized tests are not used for promotion purposes is that the state is afraid that they would have to put the "pass line" at something like the 35th pctle or huge numbers would be held back.
Promotion for kids shouldn't be wholly based on scores tho. Some kids who perform well do not test well. As a retired school counselor who administered tests for many years I think way too much teacher time and way too much student time is being spent on testing and test preparation.
An analogy not original with me: If you are raising pigs and you want them to gain weight, what should you do...feed them more often, or weigh them more often?

Tina said...

Definition of a standardized test:
"Standardized Test: An objective test that is given and scored in a uniform manner. Standardized tests are carefully constructed and items are selected after trials for appropriateness and difficulty."
If a test is tinkered with and items changed/added without "trials for appropriatness and difficulty," truly I don't see gow it can be called "standardized" in any professional sense of the term.