For those who have not been following along, the quick summary is this:
To this point a set of standardized tests – called “STAR” tests – have been used in CA to satisfy the federal requirements for evaluating student performance.
Starting soon, the federal requirements are shifting to a process called “Common Core.” There are a number of reasons for this, who knows if they’re valid or not, but it’s going to happen. This transition will require a new set of tests that supposedly test different things.
It’s likely that the initial rounds of tests under the Common Core system will result in overall lower test scores. That has already happened in New York, and is projected to happen pretty much everywhere – in theory because the Common Core standards are higher and therefore kids educated in ways that make them test well under the old standards may not fare so well under the new ones.
Again, in theory, at some point as the entire “Common Core” curriculum ramps up, test scores should also catch up.
We could debate whether this is all true or not, whether Common Core is even the way to go, etc, etc, but the real point of this post is to discuss the state of California’s decision to not publicize it’s test scores for the first couple years of this transition process.
Now, to me it seems obvious there must be an ulterior motive to that. The idea that we’re simply not going to do this because it makes us look bad certainly makes sense – looked at from a perspective where how things look is all-important (not how things actually work..), but given the publicity this has gotten I would think if the only impact is that every test score in the country is going to be downgraded a bit, we’d all be on the same playing field and it would make little difference.
NOW, thanks to the San Diego Union Tribune (link below) we find out the real reason behind this – because teacher evaluations are tied to test scores, and having those test scores go down may impact them.
Of course in a smart world we would just say “of COURSE teacher evaluations should be tied to results (their student’s test scores)” and design a system that took into account the possibility that the tests might change – and set the proper bar based on those new tests.
We can’t do that, though, because we’re intent on pursuing only STUPID solutions in our government, so the solution to this one is just ignore it and hide the test results.
Stupid government at it’s best.