Bloggy Roundup

Interesting thread over at Core Knowledge.  In comments, Robert Pondiscio: “If you gave me a magic wand to waive at problems in education, I wouldn’t even aim it at teachers first. In fact, teachers might not even make the top five. I’d fix curriculum, disruption, parenting and ed schools before I’d even consider teachers.”

On a Boston math teacher’s blog, questions about consistency in the “charters cream” charge.  

From 2 weeks back, if you missed it on Gotham: Diana Senechal’s Guessing My Way To Promotion.  

I’ve observed a similar phenomenon here in Massachusetts: the MCAS cut scores are incredibly low, not just for “passing” but for “proficient” and even “advanced.”  While my DOE friends make a reasonable argument — thousands of kids still MISS those incredibly low cut scores — the signaling to kids and parents is way off.  A kid who scores “Advanced” should reasonably conclude “on track to be college ready.”  Yet that is not true.  That’s one reason our school requires AP courses for all upperclassmen.  Which is why I like…

 …Jay Mathews’ notion, that AP might replace SAT.  

 -Guestblogger Mike Goldstein

2 Replies to “Bloggy Roundup”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out GGW.

    I agree with you in part about the MCAS, but I think it’s worst on the HS test. Let’s use the math test threshold scores from the 2009 tests as an example:

    3rd Grade
    Advanced 93%+
    Proficient 75%+
    Needs Improvement 53%+

    4th Grade
    91%+, 76%+, 43%+

    5th Grade
    89%+, 72%+, 46%+

    6th Grade
    89%+, 70%+, 46%+

    7th Grade
    93%+, 74%+, 48%+

    8th Grade
    87%+, 69%+, 43%+

    wait for it, wait for it….

    10th Grade
    67%+, 45%+, 27%+

    Here’s the deal, as I see it.

    1) The advanced and proficient thresholds aren’t bad across the elementary middle grades (though 8th grade marks tend to be a tad bit little easier to attain), and the next category’s name says it all: Needs Improvement. I would say that is definitely true of any of my students who score below about 70% on either a classroom assessment or the MCAS…

    2) The HS test thresholds are a joke, especially considering the following:

    a) The HS math test is a graduation requirement. Are you telling me that a HS sophomore jumps one of the hurdles to graduation if he gets 45% correct on a test of Algebra I and Geometry?

    b) The 8th grade test covers barely more content than the 7th grade test. The only big ones I can think of are scatterplots and Pythagorean theorem (though I’m sure there are a few more). The 10th grade test contains a number of questions that most of my 7th graders could have answered at the end of last year.

    I’m generally a supporter of the MCAS; I think they are well-written, reasonable tests. However, if the graduation requirement is going to have any real teeth, students should actually demonstrate real mastery of Algebra I and Geometry by the end of HS…not just 50% mastery.

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