Kathleen Rigsby-Opening Statement

From: edequity@phoenix.edc.org
Date: Wed Mar 01 2000 - 10:11:15 EST

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    Happy Leap Day! And what a day it is to begin a discussion on Equity in
    Educational Assessment. Both of Denver's major newspapers are carrying
    week-long series on Colorado's state assessment program, the Colorado
    Student Assessment Program or CSAP, as it is commonly called. The news
    articles and debates about assessments, and the achievement of students
    which the CSAP purports to measure, come as a result of the Colorado
    Legislature wanting to use the exams as a means to rate, berate, and
    accrediate public schools in our state. This is a substantial difference
    from the intent of the standards movement and the development of CSAP in
    1993 when it was the purpose of the reform effort to make certain that ALL
    students were included in the educational processes in Colorado. Politcal
    winds make for change, especially in an election year. The CSAP tests are
    performance based tests which are linked to the Colorado State Education
    Standards and all our students are required to take the exam no matter
    their proficiency in English or conditions of disability.

    The achievement patterns reported from CSAP mirror those of
    norm-referenced tests such as the ITBS, Terra Nova, CAT, and other testing
    programs. Students who are from middle and upper income familes, white,
    and native English speakers without conditions of disability are those
    most likely to score well on the test. In our state, a substantial
    percentage of our students do not meet that description. The equity
    issues are many--from the curricula which is supposed to prepare students
    to take these assessments--to the administration of the tests and lastly,
    to the use of these assessments to punish or reward schools for their
    student's scores.

    And we haven't even begun to look at the implications of such tests as the
    ACT or the SATs!

    Kathleen Rigsby <rigsby@CAHS.Colostate.edu>

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