CNN.com – Huge gaps in state, federal test scores – Mar 3, 2006

CNN.com – Huge gaps in state, federal test scores – Mar 3, 2006

Duuuhhhh!

That’s just about my only response. What do you expect when you tell states that “all students have to pass these tests….but you can create the tests yourselves”?

Of course there are other reasons that should not be ignored for the descrepancies in federal and state test scores.

(1) Most schools spend a great deal of time preparing students for the state tests. This means that the students are familiar with both the layout of the test and its contents before taking the test. There was likely zero preparation for the federal test.

(2) Regional differences. I’m going to guess that there are both conceptual and linguistic regional differences that are accounted for in the state tests, but not in the federal tests. This is really the same complaint that I have for the state test (doesn’t account for local differences).

(3) State tests often use state norm groups. Federal tests, likely, use national norm groups.

These are just a few possibilities, but in the end we are arguing over 2 useless forms of assessment. Both are a waste of time and money. The testing mentality has serious hurt teachers, students, and communities. This mindset is causing us to de-evolve into industrial mentalities, which will eventually lead to us slipping even more in the international “rankings” that this focus on testing was supposed to address in the first place. Accountability can be achieved without large-scale testing.

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