Sunday, October 11, 2015

Who Really Failed the Honesty Test about PARCC?

Barry Irwin of the big business lobbying group, Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), has written an opinion editorial in the Lafayette Advertiser where he assumes that some BESE members and some school groups want to hide the truth about Louisiana student performance from the public. The title of the article is Will We Pass the Honesty Test When Scores are Revealed. Actually, as this blog has demonstrated, it was John White who really wanted to hide the truth from Louisiana parents by withholding the raw scores of the PARCC test.

It was a public records request by a group of parents, 4 BESE members, 5 legislators and other citizens that forced the true test scores to be released. Those are reported on the blog post below. It was never necessary to use the PARCC consortium's confusing point system to know how our students did on the test. The ugly truth is in the raw scores given below. That particular post according to my stat-counter has been read by over 20,000 Louisiana citizens and educators to date. We can handle the truth! even though White and his friends at CABL wanted to keep us in the dark.

The action before BESE next Tuesday is not just the approval of White's phony scale cut scores. The action being recommended to BESE would usurp all the power of BESE to set testing standards and hand over all decision making relative to scores and even test construction to John White  and his testing companies. The action recommended removes all the old safeguards to require tests to meet certain criteria for grading. Once that is approved, White controls all the test construction and the grading and the judgements of what is basic, mastery and advanced.

We have shown on this blog how White already has manipulated state test scores without consulting BESE. If these new rules pass, White will have a free hand to make apparent student performance go up or down depending on his purpose at the moment. Did you notice that he had manipulated an increase in the LEAP, iLEAP and even the end-of-course tests leading up to this election so that his supporters on BESE could get reelected. But now it serves his purposes to give the perception that our scores are down, so that he can orchestrate their revival in the coming years.

Here is my response to the Barry Irwin article included in the "Comments" section of the Advertiser article:

Actually, State Superintendent John White has already failed the honesty test concerning the release of student scores for the PARCC (Common Core) tests. White was desparately trying to hide the real performance of our students on the test by having BESE adopt his new scoring system for the test which runs from 650 points to 850 points. That system would give even a student who made a flat zero on the test a score of 650. All the other student scores would be skewed similarly to make it look like our students did better than they really did on this poorly designed test.

We already know how students did on the test since the state was forced by a public records request to release the raw scores last week. The average score on the twelve tests given in English and Math was 38%. This means that 72% of the test questions were answered incorrectly on average statewide. This is a terrible result that I believe happened because the Common Core Standards and the test itself were so poorly designed.

Louisiana is not alone in this result. Students in Ohio who normally do a lot better on national tests than Louisiana students also had dismal results. Ohio has already decided to stop giving this highly flawed test in the future.

But Barry Irwin and John White are desperately clinging to this test which is now only going to be given in about only 10 states and still trying to claim that it will compare our students with other states. That is false!

Thank goodness there is one test that is going to continue being given to samples of students in each state accross the nation that really does compare our student performance fairly. The NAEP test does show that student performance accross the nation varies inversely with the level of poverty of the families. So Louisiana is near the bottom even though some of the big business supported candidates for election to BESE claim that our test scores have been rising.

So Irwin's real purpose in writing this editorial is to try to save a highly flawed set of standards called the Common Core that are increasingly being rejected by state after state. If Irwin and White succeed, ironically the test may just allow Louisiana to compare with a dwindling number of states foolish enough to continue using defective standards. That is the real honest truth about the issue before BESE this Tuedsay.

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