Cut Ups

It would be nice to think New York is the only state with this problem, but it’s not.  A lot of states have been using sleight of hand on tests and proficiency rates to make themselves look better than they are.   It’s part of the whole pathology in education governance around looking good rather than doing well.

You’re hearing a lot of excited chatter about how common standards will make this problem go away.   That’s wrong.  The same political and optical pressures will exert themselves in a new venue, which is why the governance and fidelity requirements around the new common core are the ballgame, not just how many states decide to adopt.

Lay primer on cut scores here (pdf).  You can see how (a) easy it is to get into mischief here and (b) how a new set of standards isn’t a cure by itself.

One Reply to “Cut Ups”

  1. The only way to get around gaming and cheating will be to use NAEP-like matrix sampling and low stakes (for schools). Accountability (to the feds) should reside at the state (not school) level.

    It’s really not difficult: the feds administer an annual NAEP-like test to measure how well states are doing with their achievement gaps, etc. Leave states alone to figure out what to do with schools. If states want to continue NCLB-like test-every-student-every-year-with-the-same-damned-test, fine. If they want to try some other touchy-feely approach, that’s fine too.

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