I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Thursday, September 16, 2010

High-Stakes Testing Follies

So we want to tie compensation and retention to test scores. How are we supposed to do that when we don't have reliable tests?
But this summer’s release in itself provided drama, as the state without explanation pulled back the elementary school language arts scores delivered in July and released new, slightly higher ones in the waning days of August.
In the end, the difference may not have been that great for most students – a point or two on the scale -- but state officials said the adjustments did raise the statewide pass rate for these tests by up to 5 percentage points across New Jersey.
What exactly those new pass rates are remains a mystery, and some local districts still reported considerable declines. State officials said the scores will not be released publicly for a few more weeks at least.
I've said before that with a little creativity, we can use test scores to balance the budget. When times are good, dumb down the tests and hand out extra merit pay; when times are bad, make the tests harder, and merit pay drops.

This is even better: just change the scoring after the test has been taken. You don't even have to rewrite the test - talk about a cost savings!

(What scares me is that there are most certainly people who will read the above and think I'm not joking...)

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