Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Additional Information on "Test Score Scam of 2009" & 68% Graduation Rate

This former article can be found at this link: http://www.wpaag.org/Test%20Score%20Scam%202009.htm

Graduation Rate in Arkansas in 2004 and 2005 was 81 percent. In 2008 the graduation rate is 68 percent. Has anyone sounded the alarm? See ADE information on graduation rates at these links: http://normessasweb.uark.edu:80/src1/State304.php http://normessasweb.uark.edu/schoolperformance/State/SRCy3.php

Note that the number of points that students have to scores to be considerd Proficient on the state benchmark criterion referenced math tests have been lowered every year, which makes Arkansas and the students look as if they are improving. (Proficient means students have mastered the standards.) In reality this is simply manipulating the data. In 8th grade math in 2004 students had to score 47 points out of 80 to make Proficient; in 2005 only 39; and in 2009 only 28. Other cut off scores to be Proficient were also lowered significantly in math at every grade level from 2005 until 2009.

Arkansas Department of Education also implied in its press release ( and I fully believe purposely) that students in Arkansas scored at the 62 percentile on the nationally normed tests that compare Arkansas students to students across the nation by stating in their press release:

"Academic growth is also evident in the state's norm-referenced exams. Norm-referenced questions allow for comparison of Arkansas students’ scores to their counterparts across the nation and are reported in percentiles. The scores are listed as percentile scores. A score at the 62nd percentile would mean that on average, Arkansas students scored as well or better than 62 percent of their nationwide cohort. The percentile scores in most testing areas were slightly higher in 2009 than they were in 2008." Taken from this link: http://arkansased.org/communications/pdf/test_scores_071309.pdf

Third grade did improve on these nationally normed tests from 34% to 35%, and 4th grade did improve from 33% to 34% from 2008 to 2009, but no one would get any idea from the way ADE reported the scores that any scores were anything like this low. In fact, several people reading the above paragraph thought the students scored at the 62nd percentile when in fact many of the scores were quite low. Scores in reading also dropped in every grade level this year.

For a list of these scores in table form for 2008 and 2009 for 3rd through 9th grade, see this link: http://www.wpaag.org/Test%20-%20Test%20Scam%2009%20additional%20inf.htm

I feel sure the Language scores are so low because Arkansas only tested Reading and Math the last few years on their state benchmark tests; therefore, the curriculum is narrowed to those two subjects, leaving students totally inadequate in language. The grades do look good on math. But but keep in mind that math has been the area of emphasis for several years now, and even science teachers will tell you that they had to spend a great deal of their time teaching math and preparing the students for the tests. If the curriculum is narrowed to two subjects at every grade level, students should improve in those scores.

Links to other testing articles that show the "other side of the story" can be found in article at this link: http://www.wpaag.org/Test%20-%20Test%20Scam%2009%20additional%20inf.htm

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