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Topic: Re: Time for Moderation
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Posts: 308
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Time for Moderation
Posted: Aug 1, 2000 11:35 AM
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> From:
> Indeed, this is the central issue. Standardized tests do have a (small)
> role they can play in things like college admissions. (Though a growing
> number of colleges are learning just how small that role is, and, in
> consequence are abandoning them. And some of these colleges are highly
> selective ones, too.)

I tend to think the battle has been lost if a student can't read before the
5th grade. So I am more interested in birth through grade 3. I think
that if a strong basis is built in those years, the SAT will be a cakewalk.
Consider these two standardized tests:
ERB CTP Level C Form 1
It has the subcategories
Verbal Ability
Auditory comprehension
Reading Comprehension
Writing mechanics
Writing process
Quantitative ability

and the SAT Primary 3 form S
with categories
Reading vocabulary
Reading comprehension
Math Problem solving
Mathematics procedures
Social science
Listening skills
Thinking skills

If a student or a class or a school scores in the 10th percentile on all of
these subtests, would Lou have us believe that is an unimportant signal?
That the test results should have a small consideration in proposing
changes to the curricula? That further investigation of the proximal
causes should not be done? Maybe we would find out that the students had
been so busy with Aristotle and Plato that they really hadn't had time for
such mundane matters. If that were the case, if the particular group in
question really could demonstrate proficiency in the reading and
interpretation of the original Greek, I would say more power to them (as
long as their parents understood that it might affect their future earnings

I'd regard these tests as diagnostic to broad categories and therefore
quite useful. If Lou Talman's comments are confined to the big SAT and the
ACT, they have some accuracy.

> But Wayne has repeatedly told us that no curriculum should be put into
> place in a school (let alone a district or a state) until the results of
> implementing that curriculum have been validated by standardized tests.
> This is a ridiculous statement on its face, because the standardized
> tests themselves are not validated--except by being tested against other
> standardized tests.
> --Lou Talman

I have no objection to trying new curricula, if it is done with informed
consent. If standardized tests take a huge plunge, then it is appropriate
to investigate the mechanisms involved. For example if none of the
students in a new curriculum could complete the sentence:
He ____ the matter by cutting the ___ of the bureaucracy.
A) exhumed .. difficulties
B) helped .. inception
C) repudiated.. sojourn
D) tape
E) indicated.. excesses
nor any of the other 100 similar standardized questions on a test, I would
be loath to assume that a localized pocket of immutable stupidity had been
found. I'd much rather give the test, look at the results, ask why it
happened, and formulate a plan of (in)action based on the causal mechanisms
found. I have no objection to creating, using, possessing, or transporting
portfolios. I just think that some nationally normed test results ought to
be one page in that 100 page portfolio.

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