Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Benchmarks Education Tests May be Useless!

By Debbie Pelley (click "comments" below for article).


Blogger Debbie Pelley said...

Testing System Corrupted

No Correlation Among NAEP, ITBS and Benchmark Tests

I have maintained for some time that the entire testing system has been totally corrupted. See scores below for proof and links at end of email for documentation. .

Arkansas State 4th Grade Student Math Scores in 2005

Only 34% of Arkansas students scored Proficient or above on the NAEP test (called the Nation’s Report Card) in 2005.

50% of Arkansas students scored Proficient or above on the Arkansas Benchmark Tests.

On the Iowa Basic Skills (ITBS), nationally normed test 4th grade students scored at the 68 percentile (top third of the nation) in math.

So are these students in the bottom third, middle, or top third of students in the nation? I am sure this is very helpful information for the teachers and administrators in working with these students! Links to these three test results at end of email.

Arkansas State 8th Grade Student Math Scores in 2005

Only 22% of Arkansas students scored proficient or above on the NAEP test (called the Nation’s Report Card). Only nine states in the nation scored lower than Arkansas at this grade level on the NAEP .

33% of Arkansas students scored Proficient or Above on the Arkansas Benchmark Exams which are aligned with the NAEP - according to all ADE personnel.

On the Iowa Basic Skills (ITBS) nationally normed test, 8th grade students scored at the 54Th percentile.

So are these 8th Grade Math students in the bottom quartile, bottom third, or top half? For two more examples, 8th & 4th Grade Reading, see end of email.

These are the two subjects and grade levels that were emphasized and millions of dollars in grants, etc. poured into math and reading specialists and all kinds of programs to improve achievement in these areas. And yet there is no validity in the testing. In counseling classes the two things that were stressed over and over as being the goal for testing was validity and correlation. There is NONE on these three tests required in Arkansas. See P.S below for related information and links to other articles on this topic.

“Aligning the curriculum” is just a euphemism for teaching the test. In 2003, 83% of superintendents and 88% of teachers in an Arkansas survey said, “The State Department of Education is placing too much emphasis on test scores and is coercing educators to teach to the test. ( Furthermore, 97% of superintendents and 96% of teachers in an Arkansas survey in 2003 said “The new educational reforms have been a top down approach with educational bureaucrats and/or legislators making most or all of the significant decisions - There was a 50% response from Superintendents.). If educators in Arkansas decided to “align the curriculum” to one particular I.Q. test and teach that curriculum exclusively to the students for years, no doubt Arkansas would appear to have much smarter kids (until they took another form of an I.Q. test.) The kids wouldn’t have any more natural ability than before; the tests would just be corrupted and mean nothing, and the students would know less. That analogy can be applied to the testing required in Arkansas. In addition, so called experts have been designing Arkansas state tests that are not valid tests (See last paragraph for how this happened) There is no correlation between the three major tests that students in Arkansas are taking as exemplified below: For links to Superintendent & Teacher Survey see below.

It is all so complex! The government can spin it any way it wants, and who will know the difference? One would have to spend 100 hours like I have just fishing out the data Yet we have spent 21.6 million (an increase from 5.2 million in 2003-2004) in 04-05 this year for this! July 26, 05 Cynthia Howell ADG Hey, but we supposedly saved 2.4 million on administrative consolidation (when the increased salaries for teachers to bring them up to level to the school into which they merged and transportation is not even included).

Tell me how an educator or a citizen can interpret this type of data and of what good is it to them? Is this testing approach any better than the traditional grading method that we used in recent centuries? As a teacher I was always somewhat surprised to find that when I gave a student an A (or a B,C,or D) that 90% of the other teachers had given that student the same grade. That is an example of correlation and validity which is totally lacking in the testing system we now have.

The state of Arkansas decided to reinvent the wheel and construct its own tests. It appears the Education Reform Emperor is not wearing any clothes but is fooling the entire state of Arkansas and bringing great burdens on its educators, taxpayers, and students. Look for more emails that contains information you won't see in the papers or hear from the ADE!

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act!

Debbie Pelley


P.S. Just how hard is it to find these raw cut scores to compare past years to this year in this so called “transparent” testing system? The ADE doesn’t even have the “Raw to Scale Score Conversion Table” on computer. After a great deal of effort and going to the heads of two different departments, we were able to get them mailed to us but only after a great deal of persistence. In fact 3 ADE employees in two departments ADE couldn’t show me on the web where to find all the benchmark results for this year’s scores. I presume they are not on there. I was finally directed to the Proficient scores for this last year, but as yet haven’t been directed to any other achievement levels.

The ADE hired an inexperienced company (Advanced Systems) to design these Arkansas benchmark tests. The president of this company said, “We couldn’t afford to hire anybody who knew anything about tests, so we hired people who were bright and committed.” (information taken from "Little Firm that Could" www/teacher mag.org, June 8, 1994 Education Week) This testing company had a 29.5 million contract with Kentucky but was fired after a number of years because they had failed to deliver a “usable product.” The Kentucky Senate voted 35-1 to scrap the test. In a survey of 450 teachers, 83% indicated the Arkansas benchmark tests were poorly designed. ) For you who will understand this, Advanced Systems probably earned their reputation because in 1993 they took part in the New Standards Project, which seeks to establish a world-class standard of performances for all students in the US. New Standards Project is a branch of the NCEE, National Center on Education and the Economy, headed by Marc Tucker, Hillary Clinton's friend

Links to Superintendent and Teacher Survey


ITBS nationall normed Scores taken from this link: http://arkedu.state.ar.us/excel_files/2005_state_level_scores_revised.xls
Benchmark taken from this link from a press release page 3 http://arkedu.state.ar.us/whats_new/pdf/news_release_benchmarks.pdf
NAEP Scores taken from this link: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/nrc/reading_math_2005/s0021.asp?printver (All levels can be obtained at this link by clicking the right tab.

This information is included at this link in an article on web entitled Test Inflation by AR ADE


See this Link for Why did ADE Commissioner James Spins Low Test Scores


See this link for Why Test Scores Are Lower in Arkansas Now Than in 1984


See this link for Arkansas Department of Education Presents Deceptive Scores (03)


ADE Director Ray Simon Gives False Information About Test Scores


4th Grade Reading 2005
NAEP 29%
Benchmark 52%
ITBS 62%

8th Grade Reading 2005
NAEP 26%
Benchmark 57%

7:53 PM, November 08, 2005  
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7:54 PM, November 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About time to see you guys back in action. I disagree with you guys alot... but I really enjoy what you add to the debate. We can't get the fully story without hearing you guys side of it. You all need to be more diligent from now on, ya' hear?

8:11 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Blog World said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:15 PM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Mark M said...

To 8:11

We humbly concede that you are right, and we shall endeavor to preservere!

8:00 AM, November 24, 2005  

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