Date: Jul 3, 1995 10:40 AM
Author: Ed Dickey
Subject: Re:coaches and standards

Dan Harts said:
>>Stuff deleted<<

>Each curricula would have a final exam (oops, assessment)
>associated with it. This exam would be given in place of a final, under
>AP-type conditions. >>more deletia<<
>These state competency assessments would take place every three of four
>years, culminating in a "leaving exam" at the end of the 12th grade.

The Nov 1992 issue of the _Mathematics Teacher_ contains a Soundoff titled
"How National Examinations Can Benefit Students and Teachers." Author
Peter Glidden feels as you do about standards, accountability, and student

>Of course, the question is what would these exams look like? For math, I
>would suggest this format. The test would be standardized, multiple choice or
>short answer on the Japanese model (which are very clever). Scoring open
>ended questions on a state-wide scale is just too expensive.

I'm not sure "too expensive" should be taken as a given. In South
Carolina, every student is assessed on writing. In an unusual moment of
lucidity, the state assessment system decided to use a prompted writing
sample to gain evidence of students' ability to write (instead of the usual
multiple-choice format). For the past ten years the writing samples have
been scored by a private firm in North Carolina. Costly, yes, too
expensive, no. It all depends on what you think is important.

My main concern with a terminal exam system is the potential for having too
many classroom decisions guided by a test that is administered in one
sitting. Nonetheless, the AP program has successfully managed this
problem. I believe the open-ended questions on the AP exam are a critical
element to the success.

Ed Dickey