Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fred Smith on test warnings/needs that were never addressed

The first piece is my call for a testing ombudsman (1982, Newsday Viewpoints), long before Ravitch and others started banging the drum for an independent agency to monitor testing and keep it honest.  It outlines issues and themes that are relevant today--and have reached code-red levels of urgency, as the testing program has devoured education, and the stakes have increased exponentially beyond what they were 28 years ago.
The second Op-Ed (The New York Sun, June 19, 2007) picks up on the theme of independent auditing of testing--with a focus, i.e, warning, on the cozy business relationship that exists between test publisher (vendor) and state education department (client).  This was true of CTB/NYSED then and remains the case now, as the same publisher and SED continue to deliver and defend a poor testing program.  They both want and need students to get high test scores and will lie to protect their interests.  
The third piece is from City Limits (May 25, 2010).  Deals with cut score setting mystery and challenges Tisch and Steiner--despite their reform rhetoric--to come clean about who set the cut scores and when they come into effect.  Failing to do that, they're just posturing and leading us on the path of more-of-the-same.
Last, my first NY Post Opinion (July 21, 2010) column, which attempted to raise alertness about flaws in the tests and the way the results were misused.  I touched on four warning points: cut score manipulations, weak field testing methods, internal inconsistencies in the exams, and the failure to derive any educational benefit from the Writing section of the ELA.  FYI, I sent Miss Medina a copy of the Op-Ed and I don't believe she or the Times felt any of the news it contained was fit to print.
4-count indictment of the testing program and SED, CTB and the state's look-the-other-way technical advisors
1.  Rigged Cut Scores
2.  Flawed Field Testing Procedures
3.  Defective Tests that Generate Contradictory Undisclosed Results
4.  Neglect of Writing as a Skill - Tested but not Reported

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