Spare Change, State Tests and other Anachronisms

I emptied our spare change jar the other day.  The actual “jar” itself has at times been an empty ricotta container or peanut butter jar. But for years it has sat in the same spot collecting the loose change from our pockets at the end of the day. It’s right there at the entrance toContinue reading “Spare Change, State Tests and other Anachronisms”

The Most Important Question

In states across the country, lots of questions are being generated as state policymakers and local educators pore over results from the Spring 2022 state tests in English language arts, mathematics, and science. More often than not, however, the single most important question of all is not asked directly.  At the district and school level:Continue reading “The Most Important Question”

MCAS 2001 – Hindsight is 220

Last week, with relatively little fanfare, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to “raise MCAS graduation requirements” beginning with the Class of 2026 (i.e., students beginning high school this fall). Although the approved requirements do have the effect of “raising” the test-based graduation requirements as reported, what they actually do is alignContinue reading “MCAS 2001 – Hindsight is 220”

Public Schools – In Need of Serious Change

Back To School season is here!  It’s one of the few special times of the year that marketers cannot overextend, although they have tried. We accept Halloween candy appearing in the aisles as soon as Christmas in July ends and non-stop Christmas movies and music beginning the week before Halloween, but nobody wants to seeContinue reading “Public Schools – In Need of Serious Change”

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Once again, those of us on the technical side of large-scale assessment and educational measurement find ourselves behind the curve. In the 1990s, the public clamored for achievement levels and criterion-based results while we were comfortable reporting percentile ranks and grade equivalent scores. Just as we were “getting a handle” on standard setting and percentContinue reading “Slow Down, You Move Too Fast”

Grading the Grading Arguments

Recently, Daniel Buck, a Fordham Institute Teaching Fellow, argued against grading policies that arbitrarily place a lower limit on student scores of 50 points on a 100-point scale.  Buck’s piece elicited a response from Douglas Reeves. The Buck-Reeves exchange and the very mention of Zero Grades incited a response from Scott Marion. Thinking about theirContinue reading “Grading the Grading Arguments”