Monday, July 21, 2008

There's a Lot of Ways to Get It Wrong

The Courant is applauding this year's CT Mastery Test results in an editorial laced with misunderstanding and ignorance. They share the delusion of educators and administrators who prop up and profit handsomely from the high-stakes, high-stress testing industry.

What else can they do? Like all-good compliant enablers they buy and perpetuate the unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable assertions of an education community dedicated to blind ignorance and unlimited profit. Called "Learning to Improve" - no, I'm not making that up -the editorial dutifully and patronizingly congratulates the system.
Higher scores on the annual Connecticut Academic Performance Test — in some cases increasing by double digits — are an indication that multiple efforts to boost student achievement are paying off.

Statewide, the percentage of high school sophomores meeting state goals increased in three out of the four subjects — math, science, reading and writing — over 2007. Only reading scores stayed the same. White, black and Hispanic students all showed gains.

Hartford students, among the lowest-performing in the state, made impressive strides in the percentages achieving "proficiency" or better — although that designation is still a level below state goals.

Although the trend is heartening, the gap between the scores of white students and minorities, and between low-income communities and affluent ones, persists. So must the strategies that are showing promise.
Yeah, presumably they are waiting for that utopian moment of intellectual singularity when all students rich or poor, formerly smart or challenged all get precisely the same score thus proving that the "gap" could be overcome.

That moment of intellectual mediocrity is apparently something the schools are striving for, the two-faced graduate, half Alfred E. Neumann and half-genius in everyman, a marching, compliant, ready-for-industry, test-proven, interchangeable widget that we can finally be proud of.

I know, you get teary eyed just thinking about it.

The blatant, obvious, in-your-face-fact that the schools are being blighted by this war of test scores is of little consequence. Like Iraq, the murder, mayhem, chaos, and ubiquitous corruption are a small price to pay for the opportunity to show -cough- progress.

And in a fitting tribute to the absurd, the Courant takes an opportunity to celebrate schools that taught nothing more nor improved their students an iota but managed to find a way to make the test a more palatable poison.
Improvements made in Canton, whose sophomores now rank among the top in the state, should be a model for all districts. One innovation was to spread out the testing schedule so that students took only one of the nine CAPT test segments per day rather than trying to cram them all into five days. Special education students were particularly helped by this change, according to Principal Gary Gula.

That's got to have every school principal in the state saying, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Yes sir. And now that innovation will be used in the next round to some even more progress toward the illusion of teaching kids something - usually an illiterate state employee's idea of what's important.

No, not coffee breaks or not answering the phone! Something that can be tested like -um- "You're having crumpets with the Oneupsman family, do you use a salad fork or a dinner fork?"

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