Posts from April 17th, 2013
April 17, 2013
- Philadelphia is launching its own online school after seeing how popular the concept is. (Notebook)
- “Keep calm and carry on,” a city parent who is stunned by New York’s tests told his daughter. (Economist)
- The finder of last year’s “pineapple” test question wants to know about this year’s test. (NYC P.S. Parents)
- Brown University is creating maybe the first MOOC for high schoolers, on engineering. (The Choice)
- Parents in Boston, where many schools are on break, are trying to explain Monday’s bombing. (HuffPo)
- The nonprofit that gave us “Widget Effect” argues in “Leap Year” to focus on teachers’ first year. (TNTP)
- Parents want the Department of Education to open more gifted and talented programs. (Insideschools)
- At an education technology conference, a teacher says he was basically ignored. (Mr D’s Neighborhood)
- InBloom, the controversial student data management firm, is planning to grow. (Digital Education)
April 17, 2013
If students post low scores on the sections of the state reading test administered today, it might be in part because many could not finish in the allotted time.
According to teachers who proctored today’s English language arts exams, the time allowed — 70 minutes in third and fourth grades and 90 minutes in fifth through eighth grades – simply wasn’t enough for many students, especially given the critical thinking that the tests required. The year’s tests are the first to be tied to tougher new standards known as the Common Core, and today’s sections were the first to include essays. (Tuesday’s test section was all multiple-choice.)
“When such a great increase in complexity — of questions and texts — is being implemented for the first time, AND we are tying results to students’ permission to graduate — 90 minute is IN NO WAY sufficient,” wrote Michele Hamilton, an eighth-grade teacher in the Bronx, in a comment on GothamSchools. “Today was a very hurtful experience for many of my students.” (more…)
April 17, 2013
Across the state, and in some New York City schools, pockets of students and parents are “opting out” of this month’s reading and math tests to protest the tests’ increasing stakes. In some school districts where officials openly shared the criticism, the tally of dissenters could be significant, according to early reports.
But while the opt-out movement has gotten renewed attention in the last two years, since the state began preparing for tougher new tests, it isn’t new. In 2001, at a time when state testing was confined to a few grades and was not used to assess students or teachers, two thirds of eighth-graders at Scarsdale Middle School in Westchester County refused to take the exams. Parents, educators, and local school officials had encouraged the boycott.
The New York Times reported at the time that the protest was logistically complex:
This was the first of several days of eighth-grade tests that parents had vowed to boycott in protest of what they see as a test prep culture and the lock-step instruction it engenders. … (more…)
April 17, 2013
Most students taking this week’s state reading test are doing so under the watchful eyes of their regular classroom teacher. Teachers proctor their own students’ exams in most schools, in an arrangement that is logistically simple and keeps students calm — but also represents a soft spot in the state’s efforts to prevent cheating.
As part of its recent efforts to safeguard against fraud, New York State has reduced educators’ access to tests before they are administered and increased scrutiny on tests after they are returned to see whether answers were changed unusually often. The latter measure, known as erasure analysis, helped investigators uncover adult cheating in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., in recent years.
But even as the state has taken steps to prevent improprieties at a time when ensuring that scores accurately reflect student performance is increasingly important, it has left proctoring relatively unregulated. Erasure analysis and pre-test security can’t reveal whether students were advised to check their work on specific questions or, more egregiously, were actually given the answers while they took the tests.
“Test administration with educators proctoring their own students is one of the weak links in the testing process,” said Greg Cizek, a professor at the University of North Carolina who specializes in educational measurement and test security. (more…)
April 17, 2013
- The number of city cheating allegations nearly doubled since 2009; about 10 percent are verified. (Post)
- The city lost track of 400 gifted and talented exams and students are still waiting for results. (NBC NY)
- After the first day of testing, teachers and parents shared feedback via Twitter. (GothamSchools)
- State education officials spent Tuesday talking testing anxieties. (Times Union, Democrat & Chronicle)
- “[A]t least dozens” of students boycotted the test in schools just north of New York City. (Journal News)
- Students asked mayoral hopefuls to change how school discipline is handled. (GothamSchools, Times)
- Dennis Walcott: Struggles as a parent-less young adult prepared him for his current gig. (Epoch Times)
- Use of the city charter sector’s common application nearly tripled this year. (GothamSchools)
- In response to opposition, the city abandoned plans to alter a gifted program in Queens. (SchoolBook)
- The city fired a teacher who was caught kissing one of her students in a park. (Post, Daily News)
- Teachers in Florida whose evaluations will weigh scores of students they don’t teach are suing. (Times)