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Re: MCAS legislative proposals

Dear Deanna,
I cannot believe that you wrote with such naivete regarding the
tests, test-makers and test purposes. Who else but rich white men make these
tests? Who else does well on them besides their children? Doesn't that tell
you something about the purpose of these tests? If we REALLY wanted to
see--and I wonder what it is we really want to see--how well students could
think, for example, then we would have to give them a problem and watch how
they solved it. Then, to use a DYNAMIC rather than STATIC approach, we could
go over their results and see if we could help them figure out an even
better approach. This, according to Vygotsky and others, is the student's
"zone of proximal development," the place where s/he is currently engaged in
It's what "good" parents do all the time: they encourage their
children to take on new challenges and only give them a hand in the form of
encouragement; after all, it is the child who must learn to walk, all we can
really do is support and encourage their efforts. I think "good" teachers do
the same thing, and it's really all we should do. All children--and we were
all once children--are born like worms with vast human potential, but with
out the ability to do very much. Look at us today: we have learned to use a
toilet, walk, read, think, sing and dance, etc. Those who helped us along
the way were really our cheerleaders--they shared their belief in our innate
ability to learn, and we did! The more cheerleaders we had, the more we
learned. If we really want to make a change in education, then we might
think of doing what Kozol talks about in "Savage Inequalities" and try to
get a Constitutional amendment passed that would equalize the money school
districts spend on their children. It is the single factor that would
equalize the playing field the most.
My final question to you is why do you support these tests so
strongly? (aside from the fact that this is the way you earn your money).
Judi Hirsch

At 07:59 PM 2/8/99 EST, you wrote:
>In a message dated 2/8/99 1:28:12 PM Eastern Standard Time, Mneillft@aol.COM
>> Dave concluded: Someone wrote to this list about a month ago that this group
>> has to choose whether it is going to organize against high-stakes tests or
>> whether it is
>> going to try to "improve" them. I think that assessment of this group's
>> options were correct. The memo prepared by the "legislative committee"
>> clear the nature of the choice.
>It has been a while since I posted to this list but I have been reading (with
>interest) all posts on this thread.
>What is so wrong with an approach that would "improve" tests, assessments,
>etc.? Please note that I am not limiting this question to high stakes tests.
>I often get calls from parents and others regarding the validity of tests used
>in their state along with other questions regarding test misuse. If tests are
>developed properly and used for the purpose they are intended by those
>qualified to interpret the results, then the problems we are discussing would
>not exist. Tests can provide meaningful information that will assist teachers
>and others in making instruction decisions but only if used for the purposes
>intended and by those qualified to interpret the results.
>Clearly there are many cases of test misuse and even cases in which tests are
>not developed properly. But that does NOT mean that all tests are invalid. I
>think education and advocacy should focus on getting out a message on how to
>know whether the test your child will take is valid and being used properly.
>The Association of Test Publishers has a pamphlet entitled "Answers To
>Questions About Tests" for this purpose and single copies are free of charge
>to parents.
>Let's get rid of the bad tests--and keep the good ones. Let's create
>sanctions for those that do not use the tests properly. Educational
>evaluators and politicians are among the two groups most well known for
>misusing tests. Something should be done about this!
>Deanna M. De'Liberto, President/Director of Assessment
>D Squared Assessments, Inc.
>(Specialists in Test Development/Validation and Test Administration)
>9 Bedle Road, Suite 250
>Hazlet, NJ 07730-1209
>Phone: (732) 888-9339
>Email: Ddeliberto@aol.com
>Web: http://www.quikpage.com/D/dsquared
>Member of the Association of Test Publishers
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