Kathleen Rigsby-Opening Statement

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

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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