Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Testing, Testing: Educating the Educators

City Room is reporting that NY test scores are sick-maybe terminally so-and the regents have asked for a second opinion: "It is an annual ritual: the State Education Department releases the latest results of its standardized math and reading tests, showing dramatic improvements at nearly every level. Critics and skeptics cry foul, pointing out that the results on national tests are much less rosy. Now the state is submitting itself to a study by Daniel Koretz, a Harvard University testing expert, who intends to figure out whether the tests can be gamed, and if so, how they are being gamed and who is gaming them. At its core, the study will be an attempt to figure out what could give schools the chance to inflate scores and what to do to lessen the problem."

What's that I see? Is Joel Klein actually immersed in a shvitz bath, or is the copious sweating coming from a different source? He should be sweating bullets because we believe that the Harvard study will expose Klein-and by extension Educator Bloomberg-as a charlatan: "Last year, even Merryl H. Tisch, the chairwoman of the state’s Board of Regents, and Education Commissioner David M. Steiner raised questionsabout the scope and validity of the exams, saying they planned to make them less predictable and more difficult to pass."

What is really a good question is whether the mayor should be forced to personally reimburse the city for all the fraudulent bonuses that were handed out based on these test scores? It just may be that the gaming of the system-from top to bottom-may finally be coming to an end: "What you have right now is that teachers are spending a huge amount of time on trying to find predictable patterns on the test,” Dr. Koretz said. “What we want to do is make it harder and get away from that sort of thing.”

Dr. Korvitz echoes our critique: “Without this kind of study, test-based accountability systems that have been a cornerstone of education policies are to some degree fraudulent,” he said. “There isn’t a polite word that’s accurate.”

Once the results start to come in the demystification process will begin in earnest-and the nakedness of our emperor will finally be exposed for all-and even Morticia and Rupert-to see.