Today's news -- October 11, 2017





The costs of misusing test-based accountability in schools

In his new book, “The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better,” Daniel Koretz, a Harvard professor with a career studying educational testing, implores us to consider what decades of test-based accountability have done to U.S. public schools. His assessment isn’t pretty. Koretz describes an education system that has organized itself in almost every way to maximize test scores, often at the expense of the students it serves. Koretz sees the challenges that have emerged from today’s test-based accountability system as a textbook application of Campbell’s law. In essence, Campbell’s law suggests that the more we emphasize student test scores in accountability, the more we should expect two types of negative consequences: people who feel accountable for test scores doing things we don’t want them to do, and test scores becoming poor, inflated measures of what they were created to show. Researchers have documented evidence of each:

  • Inappropriate test preparation, including coaching students to receive misleadingly high scores and, with alarming frequency, unambiguous cheating.
  • Strategic manipulation of which students are tested and, of those tested, which students are most prioritized for accountability purposes (“bubble students”).
  • Reallocation of time between subjects, emphasizing subjects that are consequential in test-based accountability at the expense of those that are not; reallocation of time within subjects, emphasizing aspects of a subject that are heavily tested at the expense of those that are not.
  • Gains on high-stakes tests outpacing gains on low-stakes tests, suggesting that high-stakes tests overstate students’ true mastery of the tested domains.

The list goes on. For example, Koretz laments what an unrelenting focus on state tests has done to teaching itself. He argues that test score pressures render many kinds of desirable instruction an act of self-sacrifice by teachers, who know that the clearest path to better test scores typically doesn’t include the most dynamic, engaging lessons. In essence, we are placing too much emphasis on test scores, with too much pressure to make improbably large gains. As a result, many schools cut corners -- and the ones that don’t risk looking bad in comparison. Moreover, since we use the same tests for many conflicting purposes -- for example, holding teachers accountable and providing diagnostic information about student learning -- we undermine the tests’ ability to serve any of those purposes well. In sum, “The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better” provides a thoughtful, accessible critique of the most powerful force in U.S. education policy today: test-based accountability. I suspect it will leave many readers, as it left me, frustrated that we have the test-based accountability system we have today -- hampered by what seem, in hindsight, like such predictable and avoidable problems.


Brevard teachers rally outside school board meeting for higher raise (Dan Bennett and Anthony Colucci quoted)


Madison comes to an agreement with teachers’ union (MCEA mentioned)


Marion school board shoots down Charter Schools USA application (Chris Altobello quoted)


Central Florida's homeless students top 14,000


300 Puerto Rican students enroll in Orange schools


Florida PTA joins call for increased funding as schools take in hurricane refugees


Florida’s schools -- once integration’s great hope -- are resegregating


The new insult DeVos is hurling at her critics


The “parent trigger” flops in Louisiana


Oklahoma: Virtual charter posts high profits, low graduation rate, low test scores


No pay raises for FGCU faculty concerns union (Morgan Paine and Edwin Everham quoted)


UF president to students: Shun white nationalist event


Senate Democrats urge Scott to waive KidCare fees through November


Law would make “political beliefs” subject to hate-crime criteria


SEIU highlights progressive proposals made to Constitutional Revision Commission


State extends deadline to apply for storm-related unemployment benefits


Hurricane is long gone but its visit may cost state for years to come


Senators eagerly waiting hard facts on how the power grid stood up to hurricane


PSC wants to know how FPL performed during hurricane


Polluted stormwater pouring into St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon, beaches


People of the Everglades survive, thrive in wake of hurricane


Don’t get duped by insurance scams or you’ll fall victim to Irma again


Florida's orange crop at 76-year low crushed by hurricane


Storms leave lobster, stone crab seasons underwater


Scott wants generators required at nursing homes


U.S. House to add $36.5 billion for hurricane relief, Puerto Rico aid


Puerto Rico: U.S. officials privately acknowledge serious food shortage


Puerto Rico’s economy at “a near standstill” as businesses wither, wait for power


Puerto Rico’s health care is in dire condition, three weeks after hurricane


Trump’s Puerto Rico video tells positive story but leaves a lot on cutting-room floor


Dark secrets of Florida juvenile justice


Lawmakers hear grim tales of opioid epidemic


In designation speech, Oliva vows to stay the Corcoran course


Taddeo joins state Senate as first Hispanic Democratic woman elected to chamber


Trump urged by some to go on the attack against Mueller


Page says he won’t testify before Senate Intelligence panel in Russia probe


Mueller can’t save us


How Israel caught Russian hackers scouring the world for U.S. secrets


For Republicans, “failure is not an option” on tax cuts


Kansas tried a tax plan similar to Trump’s. It failed.


Trump finally admits he benefits from his own tax plan


Supreme Court dismisses case against Trump’s expired travel ban


Once it looked like Trump might have some empathy. Not anymore.


Children and fear in Trump’s America


Census 2020: How it’s supposed to work (and how it might go wrong)


EPA’s Pruitt signs proposed rule to unravel Clean Power Plan


Trump nails shut the coffin on climate relief


Zinke’s travels: Ski resort and Alaskan steakhouse


Ethics chief “deeply concerned” about actions by top federal officials


Trump wanted tenfold increase in nuclear arsenal, surprising military


The real problem with Trump’s foreign policy plans? He may not have any.


Trump mocks Corker’s height, escalating feud with a key Republican


Trump misleadingly blames Corker for Iran deal


Corker was channeling most GOP senators. You wouldn’t know it from their silence.


Trump’s bogus claim that paper set Corker up by recording his conversation


Trump challenges Tillerson to an “IQ test.” The White House claims it was “a joke.”


Trump wants to punish NFL by taking away tax exemption it gave up two years ago


For Trump, the reality show has never ended


The president’s self-destructive disruption


While Trump tweets, rights and protections are being eroded




 0 user(s) rated this page
Login to leave a comment
No Comments yet