Friday, December 7, 2012

If we "redeem" assessment will we create another "crisis" of faith in public education

In an article in the December 3rd US News, David Coleman, President of the College Board, says the following:

"We have a need in this country to redeem assessment in the hearts and minds of teachers and parents; otherwise the accountability systems we are building will never have the depth of support they need."

The same article indicates that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that only 23 percent of high school teachers believe that state-required tests accurately portray student achievement and only 36 percent of students take the exams seriously

How will we "redeem" assessment and get teachers and students to have faith in and take the tests seriously?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The Common Core State Standards are a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practice and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Forty-five states and three territories have formally adopted the standards. The new standards will, we are told, prepare students more effectively for college and the workplace.

Along with the new standards will come new assessments tied to the standards. The new assessments, which will replace the MEAP and the MME, will be given in Michigan in the spring of 2015.

The new standards and the new assessments they tell us reassuringly will give us a more accurate picture of student achievement.

The logic of the need for the CCSS and new assessments is built upon the foundation that parents and students are not now getting an accurate assessment of student achievement. Thus new standards and new assessments are needed that will, in Coleman's view, "redeem" assessment, once again making it a valuable source of information for parents.

But the initial result will be lower test scores.

How will parents react when test scores drop and schools that were once thought to be "good" schools are shown not to be?

Rick Hess suggests the those advocates of the Common Core hope to "scare" (his word) suburban voters into accepting a reform agenda.

But the question "reformers" have yet to answer is whether there really is a crisis in the majority of suburban districts? Much of the evidence that we have indicates that suburban district students are not overpopulating remedial classes. Take Novi High School for instance. The evidence from the state of Michigan's own data shows that 56 students or only 16% of the students form the graduating class of 2010 took remedial courses in college.

Hardly a crisis.

Yet, the evidence is mounting that the Common core may be an attempt to create the next education crisis.

Instead of "redeeming" assessment, this may again be an effort to create a "crisis" of faith in public education.

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