Thursday, July 03, 2008

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three

Ase suggested before, the NYC school test results are in need of independent review. And, as the NY Sun reports this morning, some experts agree: "A top adviser to the state Education Department is pushing Albany education officials to scour their test results for possible score inflation...The adviser, Howard Everson, a psychometrician at Fordham University who is chairman of the state's Technical Advisory Group and also advises the federal government on its testing regime, said he is confident that New York's tests are not getting easier, as some have speculated in the wake of large test score gains this year. But Mr. Everson said he is concerned that the rises in scores could partially reflect an inflation phenomenon, in which practices at the school level make test scores rise regardless of whether true learning has occurred."

Indeed so! And it's time for the educrats to take action since," Practices can include teaching test material to the exclusion of other topics; "gaming" to get around rules by, for instance, giving students extra time, and outright cheating."

For now state ED isn't biting on the review: "Mr. Everson and a colleague, the Harvard education professor Daniel Koretz, are crafting a research project that would attempt to isolate real improvements from inflated results by rewriting tests as "self-auditing assessments." They approached an assistant commissioner of the state's education department, David Abrams, with the idea last year, asking if New York would consider participating."David wrote that NYSED was not prepared to participate at that time, in part because of the workload it would impose, but he did not rule out participation at a later date,,,"

Let's hope that the department overcomes its reluctance, and that the current foot dragging isn't pure obstructionism. New Yorkers need to know if the current educational regime is above board and really working for the kids.