Re: Major NYC scoring glitch messes up kids lives
- Subject: Re: Major NYC scoring glitch messes up kids lives
- From: "George K. Cunningham" <gkc@LOUISVILLE.EDU>
- Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 21:34:01 -0400
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Expect to see more of this sort of thing in the future. forty eight states,
with Nebraska slated to come aboard soon, are assessing their content
standards. In most cases they are contracting their testing out to a
testing company. Since it costs so much to be competive in seeking these
contracts, few companies can afford to compete. The three that are most in
the running are McGraw-Hill, Riverside, and Harcourt-Brace. There are a
few other companies that try and stay competitive. With so many states and
so few players, assets are stretched thin. There is no way that these three
companies can do a good job in every state where they have a contract. On
the other hand, they can't afford not to bid on these mult-million dollar
contracts. The lack of competition also means they can afford to bid high
and thus enjoy high profits. Expect to see more breakdowns of the sort that
happened in New York. It has already happened in many states.
George K. Cunningham
University of Louisville
----- Original Message -----
From: Monty Neill <Mneillft@AOL.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 1999 5:05 PM
Subject: Major NYC scoring glitch messes up kids lives
> I am jumping the gun a bit here, lacking all the info we will soon get,
> this is a story we should pay attention to.
> The essence is that due to technical error, CTB-McGraw Hill has mis-scored
> possibly tens of thousands of tests. In New York City, this includes
> (apparently) thousands of students who were falsely deemed in need of
> school -- unless they raised their test scores via summer school, they
> be retained. An early estimate was that of 7000 students who attended
> school, were re-tested and failed, perhaps 3,000 should have passed in the
> first place (before summer school).
> Apparently, this has happened not only in NYC, but in states where CTB is
> test contractor. A year ago, there was a norming problem in Indiana on the
> state test -- caught by the Supt. of Ft Wayne who had to fight to get CTB
> address the issue. There, raw scores went up, but percentile rank scores
> It appears that something akin to this has now happened.
> If test companies cannot produce tests with even reliable results, why
> they be used to make decisions about anyone or anything?
> In New York, this has messed up thousands of students lives. Apparently,
> board of ed is blaming CTB. They are refusing to acknowledge that if they
> acted responsibly, even with test errors, bad decisions would not have
> made. Irresponsible act 1 was to decide to implement massive retention.
> Irresponsible act 2 was to do so solely on the basis of a test score.
> NYC maintains summer school can a) be enough help as to enable some
> to avoid retention; and b) helps accelerate learning for all. they pointed
> small class sizes. However, since around half of those who were supposed
> go so summer school never went, it seems that the only reason they had
> class sizes was because of massive non-attendance. One might also ask, if
> school did not work adequately for years, why will a few weeks of summer
> school? If small class sizes are so good, why are they so uncommon.
> We know the answers: those with power would rather give tax breaks to the
> rich that ensure adequate education -- never mind address such issues as
> over 1/5 of US children are living in poverty.
> The debacle in New York, and perhaps other states and districts, can be
> to help make sure it does not happen to yet more children -- at a minimum,
> must stop the test craziness. But we should also use this to expose
> the refusals to provide real education instead of test coaching and to
> address poverty.
> We've also gotten some media calls about the MALDEF case against the TAAS
> test in Texas, for which trial starts next Monday. This too raises many
> issues of test misuse and the failure to address basic issues -- even if
> state wins in court, because what is right and what reaches constitutional
> muster are not the same.
> Monty Neill
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