Monday, October 11, 2010

A must read article about NY's experience w/ standardized testing

From the NYT, "On New York school tests, warning signs ignored":


Questioner said...

One issue the article focuses on is how tests became very predictable in recent years, so that much of the improvement in test scores did not reflect real improvement in student skills and knowledge. Educators in Pittsburgh have noted this same phenomenon with Pennsylvania's tests.

The NYT is to be credited for not looking the other way on this issue.

Anonymous said...

The FACT that PSSA test scores in Pittsburgh Public Schools have steadily dropped at the High Schools and have fluctuated in ranges of LESS than 10% above and below the previous years___ with very little, IF ANY, overall progress over the past ten years.

The past ten years of DATA accessible on the PA Department of Education PAAYP website will substantiate this.

In New York, however, the achievement scores have continued to go up, substantially, which probably accounts for the NYT focus therein.

PPS is the only district in this region that is in the Corrective Action II (3rd year) category____ a status lower than Duquesne, Sto-Rox, Clairton, Wilkinsburg, etc.

The "test" skills in PA have been clearly articulated and in place for more than ten years, but there is little evidence of this in PPS schools (in the many, many classrooms that I have visited), while, to the contrary, in New York the teaching, learning and assessment of NY skills are clearly in place in the many schools/classrooms that I have visited there.

We need to change the PPS District focus from "millions" of dollars and creative "PR" to a focus on "thinking skills" and cultural relevance across content areas, grade levels, and schools.

Just some food for thought!?!

Anonymous said...


PPS High Schools test scores are dropping over ten years with the PA target increasing by 18% pts. and PPS scores decreasing by as much as 13% pts.

At PPS Elementary Schools fluctuate up or down LESS than 10% each year with no real progress.

Out of 60 PPS schools only 23 are meeting PA MINIMUM targets_____with many schools far below the minimum target.

Only one ALA meets the PA minimum target with the seven other ALAs more than 25% pts BELOW the PA MINIMUM STANDARD TARGET.

Anonymous said...

Next year the PA minimum target moves UP 9% points.

The PPS schools that are 25% BELOW the PA minimum target will then be 35% points BELOW the minimum target.

I wonder how many of our schools will meet the target next year when it is clear that few, if any, will be sufficiently improved to advance at a range of 10 to 35 points in Reading and Math??

The evidence points to continuing decline in achievement in PPS. We must reverse this trend.

Questioner said...

Based on the above posts, PPS performance isn't very good.

But when Mark Brentley mentioned on a radio show dissatisfaction with academic performance over the past 5 years, the response was "Didn't the district make AYP for the first time ever?" Do these interviewers, who are being paid to find and report the news, really know nothing about academic performance beyond "AYP"? It may be that they need to be informed regularly about corrective action as a counter to "AYP".

Can someone provide a link showing that the district is currently in corrective action despite the AYP year in 2009?

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to the CURRENT STATUS -2009-2010 of ALL DISTRICTS in ALLEGHENY COUNTY.

PPS is the ONLY district in CORRECTIVE II (3rd year).

Anonymous said...


I have sent and continue to send them the DATA and ask that they put an "investigative" report on assignment;

Post Gazette: Chute, Rujumba, Neiderberger, Smydo
Tribune Review: Weigand
City Paper: Daley, Potter

KDKA: Adams ( Grn. Mgr,) M. Griffin, R. Mangino, C. Moore

As I have said previously, locals won't touch it. This must go national____Education Week, NYT

Anonymous said...


I have sent and continue to send Media the DATA and ask that they put an "investigative" reporter on assignment.

The following have the DATA.

Post Gazette: Chute, Rujumba, Neiderberger, Smydo
Tribune Review: Weigand
City Paper: Daley, Potter

KDKA Radio: Adams ( Grn. Mgr,) M. Griffin, R. Mangino, C. Moore

As I have said previously, locals won't touch it. This must go national____Education Week, NYT, etc.

(Please remove the immediately preceding post.)

Drone 1 said...

Darn, and here I thought that it was all because of gist and significant moment questions in our curriculum.

Mark Rauterkus said...

But in New York, “field test” questions cannot be included in tests because those exams are made public.

Not really. Field test questions could be in tests that are made public.

All in all, what isn't measured isn't managed. I think it is sad to put so much focus on a single, simple test. But, they need to be more creative to measure other things that do count in life in significant ways.

Case in point: As a swim coach I'd love to know how many in a city system can do a 100-free in less than 59.9 seconds.

I'd love to know how many in each grade can do the Great Race 10K -- and if that number increases 10x, we're making progress.

Getting well rounded kids means we'd have to have well rounded measurements and priorities.

Questioner said...

What?! If a question and answer are made public and then on a later test a student answers that question correctly, how do you know it is not just because he has seen the question before?

Every student would like to see a copy of tests in advance, but that's not how it is normally done.