Friday, September 18, 2015

Playing Political Games with PARCC Test Data

In this latest pro-John White article, Will Sentell of The Advocate never seems to question why it should take until November for the student scores on the Common Core PARCC test to be reported to the schools and the general public. The LDOE has the data but apparently is just sitting on it. Why?

Members of the Superintendent's Advisory Council on Thursday, asked why the results of the testing are being withheld when educators could be using them to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the first full year of Common Core instruction? In addition, there is a Curriculum Standards Review committee that is now struggling with how to modify the standards. Their deliberations could really use that test data. The data will not change between now and November, so why is it being withheld?

The full data on the results of the PARCC tests for Louisiana students has now been supplied to our LDOE by the PARCC consortium. The LDOE has in its computers exactly how many students answered each question on each test correctly. The LDOE could right now produce a detailed report on each PARCC test telling educators and the public exactly how many students got various percentages of the questions correct.

But White is claiming that knowledge of how many questions the students got right is not really helpful. Apparently the testing experts have to doctor the results in order for ordinary people to understand them. You know, like they did with the Geometry end-of-course test, where it was somehow determined that a score of 32% correct answers was passing. You see that's the trouble with standards. The people controlling the data can totally control the results and the standards by their setting of the raw passing scores. When they do their magic with setting the scale scores the testing experts are telling us: "Don't believe your lying eyes, about how well students did on the test, just believe what we tell you it all means." Educators are being treated like children who just don't really understand test results. What an insult to our professional educators!

Here is what Ann Burruss, a parent activist from Lafayette, had to say about the reason for the delay in reporting scores: "John White's delay in releasing scores -- when other states in the dwindling PARCC consortium have released results is political; plain and simple. "

BESE elections are scheduled for October 24. John White's supporters on BESE are up for reelection. These are the same BESE members who are strong supporters of Common Core and PARCC testing. Ugly results of the PARCC testing could hurt their reelection. So maybe those results should just be delayed until after the election. It's not about standards anymore. It's not about our school children anymore. It's just about politics!

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