Saturday, November 14, 2009

Koss Comments on Teaching to Test

From today's NY Daily News, thanks to Rachel Monahan. Note the following incredibly disingenuous quote from DOE spokesperson David Cantor: "This is the first time I've heard the argument against testing used to explain students' failure on tests as well as their success."

As Mr. Cantor is a regular reader of this blog (and others, I'm sure, such as Ednotes and Time Out for Testing), his statement that he's never heard the argument against testing (such as the NYS 3-8 or NYS Regents) as explaining their failures on tests (such as NAEP or CUNY placement) is absurd, to say the least. Unless, of course, he's arguing the meaningless point that success on a given test means non-failure on that test, but that's nothing more than sophistry for the uninformed masses. There is simply no shame at Tweed -- whatever they feel like saying, they simply say. It is so Karl Rovian, it's positively creepy.

By the way, where has anyone heard or seen ANY story indicating that the current obsession with testing is leading to success other than that measured by those same tests (or other metrics like graduation rates that can and are being manipulated by the same people administering the tests)? Are SAT scores going up? How about Intel Science Fair performance? NAEP scores? College readiness as measured by folks like CUNY? Once you get our kids out of the clutches of Klein and his likes, are they really doing better in other academic venues? Does anyone know of a single study that demonstrates how much better off our public school grads are once they are beyond high school thanks to all this standardized testing? How about even at the high school level -- are more kids scoring high passes (over 85%) on Regents exams than they used to? Are more of them taking and passing the Physics or the highest level of Math?

To paraphrase Mr. Cantor, "This is the first time I've heard the argument for testing used to explain students' success in college and beyond." Regrettably for the DOE, reality is not simply whatever they decide to say it is.

Steve Koss


Daily News Story is here.


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