Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Are U.S. schools too easy?

Diane Ravitch takes on a report released earlier this week by the Center for American Progress that claims U.S. schools are too easy. She devotes ample space to Ed Fuller, a researcher at Penn State University who formerly worked at the University of Texas-Austin.

Fuller found the Center for American Progress review did not provide evidence to support its conclusions. Fuller's fascinating analysis is outlined in Ravitch's blog. It's a must read!

Florida governor voices concern over testing overload

In her blog for the Washington Post, The Answer Sheet, Valerie Strauss wrote Wednesday about Florida Gov. Rick Scott who recently said publicly it's time to see if Florida students are spending too much time on standardized tests.

Speaking at a conference of newspaper editors, Scott said he'd received an unprecedented number of complaints from parents about the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT. He said it's time to take a look at the testing load on students - including FCAT and end of course tests.

"In the end, I think it's going to change a lot," Scott said, according to the Associated Press.

Strauss highlights recently passed resolutions by Florida school boards calling for the state to cut back on testing, and says those, as well as a national resolution, have their roots in Texas with the Resolution Concerning High Stakes, Standardized Testing of Texas Public School Students. At least 566 Texas school districts, representing more than 3.4 million students, have passed the resolution.

Scott's comments dovetailed nicely with the Texas Resolution message.

"We have to have a good measurement system but we have to make sure we don't have too much of it," he said.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Superintendents are listening to parents

College Station Superintendent Eddie Coulson had a great blog post recently in response to the accusation that school superintendents are scaring parents about the effect of standardized testing. I'm a public school parent myself and believe me when I say no one had to tell parents that a standardized test doesn't tell the whole story about our children, what they're worth and what they know. 

Parents have never put much stock in the results of standardized tests and rely much more on what their child can tell them about their school day, the grades and teacher comments on daily assignments and on quarterly report cards. For parents, test day mostly means anxiety for their children because the state and national movement for years has been to put way too much emphasis on the results.

From Coulson's blog:

I happen to agree with the moms and dads in Texas who believe that state testing has become a ‘perversion’ of its original intent.  Superintendents, moms, dads and business owners want schools to be held accountable; however, unlike Bill Hammond and the Texas Association of Business, they can see that testing all students every year in multiple subjects is an absolutely absurd way to assess whether students are successful or not.  

Who can tell if a school is any good?  School moms, dads and local businesses.  They know whether the schools their children attend are worth their salt, and, my experience is that they’re not afraid to tell school superintendents exactly what they think.  

Read the entire blog post here.