Monday, October 12, 2015

Conversion Tables Reveals White Lowering the Bar. . . . Again!

Release of Secret Conversion Tables for PARCC Forced by Public Records Request. 

Louisiana citizens will be the first ones in the PARCC testing group to see the critical conversion tables, that are used for producing the scale scores.  It only happened because of a formal public records request and the threat of a lawsuit against White for withholding public records.

The 33 member citizens public records request filed on October 1, included a request for a copy of the conversion tables for converting raw PARCC scores to the new PARCC scale scores. Those conversion tables were finally released by White today along with a calculation of the percentage of students scoring Basic, Mastery and Advanced. The newspapers will give you the percentages of students deemed performing satisfactory by the setting of the cut scores but the subject of this post is the lowering of the academic bar once again by Superintendent White.

Those conversion tables reveal absurdly low cut scores for ratings of Basic and Mastery. The percentage of students getting a rating or Basic or above depend upon BESE adopting the lowest passing scores in the history of Accountability testing in Louisiana! (by far)

Would you believe that White's cut scores for Basic performance on the 3rd grade English-Language Arts test would require students to only get 30% of the available raw points on the test correct to get a rating of Basic?

A student can receive a rating of Basic on 7th grade math by getting a grand total of 23% of the raw points. A similar level of absurdity of White's "raising the bar" is reached when the conversion tables reveal a cut score of 22% on the 8th grade math test.

The highest cut score for Basic among the 12 PARCC/Common Core tests is the pitiful standard of 37% on the 8th grade ELA test.

When superintendents and citizens started asking for the old fashioned raw scores on these controversial tests, White protested that only scale scores were useful in describing student performance to parents. So with the adoption of these scale scores by BESE, parents of a child who got only 22% of the math questions right would be awarded 725 points out of a possible total of 850 points and declared to be performing at a level of Basic! How does that make any sense? But the strangest result of all is that students who score zero raw points up to 4 points out of a possible 80 points will all get a scale score of 650 points!

I believe that this highly skewed and misleading point system was developed by the PARCC Consortium after they discovered that students all over the country would have totally flunked these tests by any other rational scoring system. So they dreamed up this phony scale system to pretend that most students had done OK on the tests. They never intended to release the raw scores to anyone, and certainly never intended for any citizen to see the conversion tables for producing the scale scores from the raw scores. Remember what I said some time ago about making sausage.

So I suppose the rubber stamp members of BESE will hold their noses tomorrow and approve White's absurdly low cut scores camouflaged as scale scores. This is how the multi-million dollar testing industry maintains control of our schools and siphons off scarce tax dollars even when they saddle our students with defective tests. Remember how the big banks got a free ride with our tax dollars even when their fraudulent home loans almost crashed the economy of the world? The same is true when the experiments on our children by the testing company fail.

Here are the various forms by which PARCC cut scores can be reported:

  • 3rd grade ELA- Basic = 725 scale score = 29.6/100 = 30% of possible points
  • 3rd grade Math - Basic = 725 scale score = 27/81 = 33% of possible points
  • 4th grade ELA- Basic = 725 scale score = 32/104 = 31% of possible points
  • 4th grade Math - Basic = 725 scale score = 30.4/82 = 37% of possible points
  • 5th grade ELA - Basic = 725 scale score = 29/104 = 28% of possible points
  • 5th grade Math - Basic = 725 scale score = 27.4/82 = 33% of possible points
  • 6th grade ELA - Basic = 725 scale score = 40/137 = 27% of possible points
  • 6th grade Math - Basic = 725 scale score = 22/82 = 27% of possible points
  • 7th grade ELA - Basic = 725 scale score = 39/135 = 29% of possible points
  • 7th grade Math - Basic - 725 scale score = 19/82 = 23% of possible points
  • 8th grade ELA - Basic - 725 scale score = 51/137 = 37% of possible points
  • 8th grade Math - Basic - 725 scale score = 17.3/80 = 22% of possible points

I am convinced that these tests are not valid for measuring our student performance or for rating our schools.