Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Arkansas Test Scores, Manipulated?

Congratulations are being issued to all concerning the seeming good news on Arkansas test scores.
Then the folks at Education Week, bless ’em all to pieces, issued its rankings of student performance in the 50 states last week, and there we stood—tall. At 29 th.

Mark Moore asks an interesting question about the newly released news about Arkansas school test scores. Here is something that you won't find in any of the newspapers. Too bad, it's a question they should be asking.
Legislators should check the number of students labled "special ed" and "504" from 2002 to 2006. If the 2006 number is much higher, the answer is clear- Arkansas' schools are doing a better job than the nation of keeping low-performing students from taking the test by classifying them as some sort of "Special Ed".

Somehow, I think it's more likely that the test was manipulated in some matter, rather than the students actually doing better. I just don't see the current Arkansas school administration being able to pull up scores. An anonymous ( 12:10)commenter has this observation
It is actually getting more difficult to assign special ed status to kids now. I have students in my class who desperately need special classes, but the procedure to have them identified is extraordinarily complex.
What is actually causing the scores to rise is the lowering of cut scores. I checked with a math teacher earlier this year who shared that a score of 42% earns a student in the 7th grade a Proficient in math. Imagine that! A 42 in my class is an F. On Arkansas' tests, it's proficient!

Well, now we know how to make ourselves look better, just lower the standards. The problem is, we've been lowering school standards for years.
As technology becomes more sophisticated, manufacturing plants require more sophisticated workers, those with a superior education. If this state's economy is going to continue to develop, and if we're going to provide better jobs with better pay for the generations of Arkansans to come, we need to start by providing a better education.

This was a platform that Gov. Beebe ran on. What are you going to do about this Gov? Just do what Arkansas Democrat Gazette did and congratulate everyone for what appears to be cheating or start raising the standards so that students can really compete for better paying job?

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