Friday, June 20, 2008

Why have the scores at my elementary school all gone up so much?

.... a Brooklyn teacher writes.

The math scores especially have never been higher with only a few 1's, and, for the first time, we had a handful of 4's. The administrators at my school are celebrating this achievement but I am eager to see the citywide results. And I will not be surprised if all of the scores are higher.

Many factors could account for this. We have become better at teaching to the test. The test makers have become better at designing easier tests. And the scorers have become better at scoring the tests with help from the State Ed Department [ed. note - call it "relaxing the rubric."]

Everyone knows that test scores will rise dramatically in NYC as the politicians and a complicent state ed dept. have so much to gain from gaming the system and setting things up so teachers and administrators have too much to lose if they don't go along. That is what is behind merit pay schemes and attempts to tie teacher ratings and tenure to test scores. Make things high stakes enough to force teachers to give up any vestige of academic integrity, the very reason for tenure, which pre-dates the existence of teacher unions by many years.

By the way, is there tenure in high priced suburbs?
Are there calls for those teachers to be rated on test scores?
A hint of merit pay?

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