At 09:56 PM 7/31/00 -0400, Michael Paul Goldenberg wrote:
>I'm truly curious: have the proponents of standardized tests, especially >those under discussion (of sorts) here, actually familiar with any one or >more of the critical books that have been published about them?
Thank you, Michael, but, in order to accurately judge the situation, rational people need not read even one of the many books available with a "scientific" perspective that would support the Kansas BoE decision to pull evolution out of their science standards. The same is true of Tony Ralston, Berliner and Biddle, most anything written by Gerald Bracey, etc. Those who deny the validity of the tests, or of data-free education assessment in general, are certainly free under the constitution to speak and (somewhat regrettably) to vote. They should not, however, be encouraged, nor even allowed, to proselytize for their religion on compony time.
Again, here are a few districts that are doing surprisingly well and the pressure is mounting on others to follow their lead. Some leaders will go to their graves believing that the numbers are meaningless, but the evidence is solid. If the status quo were not keeping hundreds of thousands, even millions, of students from academic success, it would be laughable. Paul Trafton calls us "de-reformers" instead of reformers of a different stripe. In fact, widespread poor student performance is the *only* reason that the hundreds of millions of dollars - that have been squandered in a religiously-based model for reform - were even politically viable! Dance with the guy what brung ya. That is exactly what we're doing here in California and it is indeed an exciting prospect to be witnessing the collapse of the walls of race and socieconomic status that have been held up by decades of incompetent public education.
The CA math adoption cycle is is underway again, a fairly rigid process that is built around verifiable standards of grade-level specific content requirements, and the Framework in which they play a central role, but all are pedagogically neutral if the mathematics is really "there". Most of the US Dept of Ed "Exemplary" list were not even submitted for consideration. I assume the philosophy is that it is better to pretend that the standards are met, to vulnerable parents and teachers or chauvinistic decision-makers, and fund some other way, than to have on record, "Rejected by California."
The three districts that I know about that are making the most direct effort to get with the California Math Standards are Azusa and Inglewood, pretty small, and Sacramento, pretty large. The Year 2000 SAT-9 scores were released on July 17. Their math numbers are at least as high as their other SAT-9 scores for all of 2-6, only a couple of ties in the early grades, and a 10-15 point spread is the usual. Azusa's 5th grade is 46 math versus 27 reading. Sacramento's 6th is 61 math versus 45 reading. The Azusa numbers are all in the 40's against 30's last year and high 20's the year before. Except for a 49 in 5th in Sacramento, all are in the 50's (exclude that 61, too!) versus 40's last year, and 30's the year before.
The Inglewood district (Inglewood?!!) has received a lot of coverage and this year it is up to grade 6 before the entire district's average math NPR drops below 50. Last year, that was at grade 4. This is a district that is over 90% (probably over 95%) Black and/or Hispanic and very low socioeconomically, comparable with Compton Unified that was taken over by the state several years ago. That district????s current numbers are included for comparison
Looking on at mathematics for the last three years in these districts, these are average National Percentile ranking on the Stanford Achievement Tests, Version 9 (average NPR on the SAT-9):
These numbers for the top schools in Inglewood are becoming almost beyond belief. For second through fifth grades (their last), they are up to: SAT-9 2-5 % Low SES % LEP Kelso 81, 82, 69, 73 89 34 Bennett-Kew 80, 83, 65, 58 77 29 Hudnall 83, 77, 57, 65 97 46
By contrast, here are the Compton Unified numbers. There has been progress in the last couple of years as there has been in almost every public school in California, but nothing close to what state intervention should be able to engender or it should stay out of the business entirely. These 1998 Compton numbers would exceed the 1988 Inglewood numbers, not at Kelso and Bennett-Kew but as district-wide averages. For example, when Nancy Ichinaga first went to Bennett-Kew in 1974, the school was in the bottom 5 percentile of California schools. Now it????s in the top 15 overall and the top 10 in mathematics. Free at last. Compton Grade 1998 1999 2000 2 30 35 36 3 24 29 33 4 19 24 25 5 21 22 24 6 22 27 28