Re: more testing fun (HELP!)
- Subject: Re: more testing fun (HELP!)
- From: George Sheridan <gsheridan@BOMUSD.EDCOE.K12.CA.US>
- Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 21:49:49 -0700
- In-reply-to: <001701bfcb63$c8e33ec0$4d66a3d8@computer>
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
California has "test security" provisions like North Carolina's,
threatening teachers with dire consequences for divulging any information
about the secret tests. Whatever the purported reason for this secrecy, it
serves to protect the test contractors and state departments of education
from public scrutiny of the poorly constructed items that abound on these
Trying to avoid running afoul of the testing police, I have asked numerous
educated adults a question similar to one on the second grade STAR math
test (changing all nouns and the numbers involved). The adults always miss
the question the first time it's asked. They always get it right the second
time, because they know what information to listen for. But the test
instructions are explicit: the original question is to be read aloud to
second graders--once only!
If the public knew more about the flaws in the tests there might be greater
resistance to attaching major consequences ("high stakes") to the tests.
One way to develop a critical mass in favor of changing or abolishing the
tests is to make public exactly how bad they are. By doing away with our
First Amendment right of free speech, test secrecy blocks the development
of public awareness and of pressure for change. North Carolina could attack
you in the same way Chicago Public Schools have attacked George Schmidt.
But there's a good chance their lawyers will decide that what you did looks
too much like protected free expression, and they will look for a way out,
leaving you to decide whether you'll accept the deal they offer.
At 08:51 PM 5/31/2000 -0400, you wrote:
I am getting 2 different stories (as you might well imagine).
From the lawyer folks I am hearing how insane these threats are. DPI has
not spoken to me. They are dealing (as far as I have been told) through
their regional testing coordinator who is going through the testing
coordinator in my county. The only person talking to me is my principal,
and all he can do is read the emails to me. There was a threat that DPI
might pull my license, but as I understand it, that would involve quite a
long hearing process as well as public involvement (potentially).
From the school folks I am hearing that the consequences may be anything
from termination to a letter of reprimand. At the moment I am really
struggling with the due process issue: at no point have I been asked why,
when, how, whatever by anyone with the power to impose these sanctions on
me. I've had no opportunity to defend myself at all.
My principal called me this evening to tell me that he will meet with the
superintendent, testing coordinator and an assistant superintendent to
discuss my fate. There is no word on a timeline. My superintendent has
been instructed (as per an email read to me over the phone) to go before the
School Board and inform them of this breech of ethics. (Nevermind that I
don't think it WAS a breech of ethics... and they haven't proven it was.)
The School Board may determine my fate...
I'm not sure, really, what to do from here. I'm not willing to accept a
reprimand, even-- not until DPI PROVES that I breeched testing ethics. I
don't think I've done anything wrong-- what's wrong is deciding a child's
fate based on one or two points on a standardized test-- particularly when
several test questions (worth 1 or 2 points) are IMPOSSIBLE and
INAPPROPRIATE. (Sorry for shouting-- I'm pretty po'd.)
I've been told to just accept whatever consequences I get, short of
termination. I should count myself lucky if I don't get fired.
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