“And we’re not being honest with kids about what they need to be proficient.”
In an article in the News Journal, Governor Markell said there is an “honesty gap” between state standardized tests and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. First off, with all the news going on with education in Delaware, how is it that reporter Matthew Albright’s biggest education news of the day yesterday was a conference call with Markell, Achieve, and the Collaboration for Student Success? I can think of at least three dozen other matters that are more newsworthy.
Governor Markell is scrambling. So are the big education reform companies. They will say and do anything to attempt to gain the trust back in their corporate education reform agenda. Now they are tackling the biggest problem they will have in the next three months: when the scores come back on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. What Markell and Achieve don’t mention in this article is how Achieve is in a contract with the Delaware Department of Education right now with the Assessment Inventory initiative. This was Markell’s rocket science idea to get rid of other assessments to justify the Smarter Balanced.
When the issue of parent opt-out came up during this conference call, Achieve President Michael Cohen said:
“While we’re here talking about making sure parents get honest, accurate measures of performance, parents are actually opting to get no information about their performance,”
You are absolutely right Mr. Cohen. The parents who are opting their children out do not trust the test or Governor Markell. Teachers don’t trust it either. Sure, maybe the chosen few who become Teachers of the Year or become part of the Rodel Round Table over at Camelot, aka 100 W. 10th St. in Wilmington. These are the dying embers of a failed policy, but Markell is too stubborn or too invested to just throw water over them and just let it cool down. This is his Achilles Heel. Whenever his baby is threatened, he pulls these stunts. And this widens the gap between himself and the rest of us.
Where is the honesty with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Governor Markell? Teachers can’t see the test beforehand, and they don’t see the answers the students give or the actual graded tests. Parents don’t see it either, but they are supposed to trust a score? But this is okay to measure schools and teachers? I don’t see a lot of honesty in that Governor. So keep peddling your proficiency measure like some guy selling Rolex watches in New York City, and us parents will continue to opt our kids out. The debate is over, but you are too foolish to realize it.
Matt Albright, you are better than this. Stop taking phone calls from the Governor and start covering real education stories.
8 thoughts on “The Honesty Gap Between Governor Markell And Students, Parents, & Teachers Is Wider Than The Pacific Ocean”
Exceptional analysis of a situation that is reaching boiling point.
Yes, it appears Jack is scrambling, as he should be.
Teachers don’t see question or format in advance, and as I perused the lab while my students were testing, I was horrified by the split screen format. Had any one of them dealt with that before?
The literal length of some of the questions was absurd.
I am ever more convinced that this test is designed for failure: the failure of teachers, schools, students, and even parents. The chief motives behind this are financial gain and political power.
Keep scrambling, Jack.
My comment to TNJ article:
Students who are hoping to go to college usually take the SAT or ACT tests. College graduates who would like to go on to law school or medical school take the LSAT and MCAT tests. However, these tests are quite different than the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
You see, the people taking the Praxis, SAT or ACT, LSAT, MCAT, or even a test to become an employee of the DuPont Company all have a personal “stake” in these assessments. If they don’t pass, they don’t get the reward of moving on to something that they would like to pursue.
This is NOT the case with the Smarter Balanced Assessment (or any statewide assessment to date). In fact, the students taking it have NO STAKE in the test, whatsoever. They aren’t going to be rewarded or punished or allowed to pursue something they want to do by their results on the test. They know this. Some of the more studious children decide to take it seriously. Most, however, do not. (As a teacher, this is very frustrating, as you can imagine.)
If you are a scientist or engineer (or anyone with half a brain), I’m sure you can see where I am going with this… How is data from these types of tests useful, reliable, or valid if the people taking it have no stake in it?
No, instead, the “high-stakes” part of Delaware statewide assessments falls on the educators, schools, and districts. In other words, the people who are being measured by the test aren’t taking the test. This makes no sense to any scientist.
SBAC is clearly not the right test. There’s no reason that students should be testing for longer than I spent on the SAT, SAT II’s, Praxis, and GMAT combined. That’s awful and unnecessary.
However, there is some truth to the idea of an “honesty gap”, whether or not you think it’s been perverted by high stakes assessments. Lots of students receive A’s and B’s in class or get high scores on DCAS and so they have the expectation that they are ready for higher education. The truth is that most of them are nowhere near ready for it, especially in low SES schools.
We tell our students and parents through in-school assessments that they are doing just fine by giving them A’s and B’s. The reality isn’t quite that. If not standardized testing, there does have to be some kind of solution for that. While college certainly isn’t the best option for every students, they should at least be prepared for it if that is the path they choose.
I don’t think any teacher should be giving any student As and Bs just to get them through, but standardized assessments are not the way to do it. A solution can be found, but it requires ALL to work together, not just government dictates sent to schools essentially saying conform or be punished.
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This is true, they definitely should not be. The truth, though, is that may teachers don’t think they are necessarily practicing this. Two teachers might be teaching Honors World History in the same school, but there can be a stark difference in the difficulty of those two classes. An “A” in one class is not made the same as an “A” in the other. Students learn this quite quickly – every child knows who the “hard” teachers are. Schools try to normalize these things (department made lessons and assessments, group grading, etc. etc.), but they don’t quite work.
For this reason, some level of standardized assessment is appropriate. Used correctly, they can be extremely helpful for teachers to adjust their practice and for students to get a snapshot of where they are. Used incorrectly…and well…everything that’s happening now happens.
Here is more truth. There is a trend towards giving no 0’s as grades. When the first of a series of district grading committee meetings, teacher members ( who no doubt thought they would have some part in shaping policy) where given three articles to read. Each one presented a rationale for no zeroes, and if memory serves me well, no grades below 50.
One article stated in its preface, “if we want students to get better grades, we have to change the way we grade.”
This is no joke. My school had already instituted the no zero policy. I could see exactly where this committee was headed so jumped off that train immediately.
These practices are meant to please. Please by fraud; by lying. And its the tip of the iceberg.
It isn’t just DOE that plays the pretend games.
You’re absolutely right governor. There’s an honesty gap that is being perpetuated resulting in irreparable harm to children and public education. Some might suggest that “Achieve”, like-minded governors, the business community and you should gather around a mirror and see if that dishonesty cabal appears..
Representative John Kowalko 25th District
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I don’t even read the News Journal anymore. I used to read it religiously every day but I so strongly oppose SBAC and all the corporate reform it stands for and this newspaper just can not report objectively! I’m done with it.
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