Friday, September 25, 2015

District Superintendents Being Taken to the Woodshed for Asking the Wrong Question

Last week at the Superintendent's Advisory Council, several superintendents had the nerve to ask Superintendent White a rebellious question: That was: "If we are not going to get our scale scores on the PARCC test given last Spring until November, and if we are expected to get students ready for a similar test in 2016, why can't we at least have the raw scores so we can see where the emphasis should be placed?"

White's answer was (I am paraphrasing): "Raw scores are not really useful until we interpret them and create a set of scale scores that allow us to compare various forms of the tests from year to year."

Some of those rebellious superintendents must have been thinking: "Why do we need to be able to compare this year's test to tests that have not even been given yet. This is the baseline test. It does not compare to any tests yet. Can't we just find out which standards our students scored poorly on so that we can prepare them for the almighty tests being given in Spring of 2016?"

Next, I kept waiting for White to bellow out the famous Jack Nicholson line from A Few Good Men,
"You can't handle the truth!"

But he kept his cool and left them with a promise that he would look into getting them the data if they still wanted it that badly.

Thank you to the district superintendents for standing your ground on this critical issue.

Now we hear that White has put out an edict that superintendents who really, really, really, want the raw data for their districts will have to set up an appointment with him next week so that he can provide counseling (woodshed licks) to them at the same time that he agrees to hand them their raw data.

But the public still can't see the raw data yet because White apparently thinks that a report on how many questions the kids got right on a particular test is just too complicated for parents to understand. What the parents need is a doctored up, adulterated scale score that gives a kid 650 points out of 850 even if he did not answer a single question correctly on the test! This is the garbage that the PARCC consortium is putting out.

Unfortunately this PARCC test is going to show exactly the same thing that all the other standardized tests have shown so far: The greater the poverty of a district, and the greater the number of at-risk students, the lower the relative scores in that school system. But the raw test results may also demonstrate that some of the Common Core standards are just not very well thought out or may not be age appropriate. Why would we not want to know that? Such information would be helpful to the Curriculum Standards Review Committee that is now working totally in the dark because they have no idea how the students performed on any of the new standards.

Maybe the citizens of Louisiana should all stand up and growl back at White that we have a new slogan for the Louisiana Department of Education:
Louisiana can handle the truth about PARCC and Common Core!