RE: Assessments

Date: Thu Mar 02 2000 - 17:09:59 EST

I will use Linda's remarks as a platform to respond to the insightful
commentary that all of you have contributed. The results in Colorado are
very similar to those Linda is reporting in Maryland, even with the
emphasis on literacy that the state has had for the past three years. What
is coming to light in a very glaring way is that our boys are scoring
substantially behind girls in reading, writing, and math at the lower
grades. The middle schools assessment are just beginning here, but the
speculation is that the patter n will continue. When the test results are
disagregated not only by race and gender but also by SES, the results are
predictable. The concern I have is how the results are being used. If
they become a driver to have the curricula in line with the standards and
their supporting rubics (not always the case in many districts) that is one
consideration. If the results are used as a catalyst to make the changes
in the school systems so that all students are helped to achieve, that is
another consideration. What is in the offing is that low test scores are
being used as a rational to take accreditation away from schools, to push
for vouchers and charter schools, and possible state take over of low
performing schools. The debate about the fairness of assessment processes
is not new nor are the patterns of achievement found in assessments. What
does appear to be new is the use of assessment results in the political
processes to meet agendas which may or may not have the success of all
students at their core. Our region may be unique in that respect, but what
has been the political climate around assessements in your areas?

Kathleen Rigsby <>

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