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I have now mentioned ad nauseum the fact that my district no longer gives standardized tests that would provide actionable intelligence to parents or anyone else. We have no idea what our kids' scores mean. Nor does the school have any idea what our kids' scores mean. This is the state's fault, not the school's. The new ELA test is a mess — even the score reports are a mess. Some kids got score reports with one score on one side, a different score on the flip side. At this point the school doubts the validity of either the test or the scoring or both. Not sure. We certainly have no idea what
I'm serious about this. Ed and I have requested subscores for gender and race. The school is not going to give them to us. At some point they'll have to; it's the law. At some point the state of New York will give the data to us — or, alternatively, at some point I'll put on my Girl Reporter cap and go out and get the info myself,
I will not be spray painting state test subscores on the middle school walls.
Anyway, the main reason I want the gender data is that if there is a large gap between boys and girls on the new ELA test, which I suspect there is (lots of writing on the test; writing typically skews test results to girls) I would be inclined to view the results as incorrect. But since the school has opted to stonewall I will carry on being upset about my son's
Of course, I can kind of see why the school might not like me getting my hands on the subscores for race. Especially when you take a look at our local achievement gap in years gone by. Irvington is no KIPP.
defensive testing The point is: I need information. Where exactly does Christopher stand? Enter the ITBS, a test favored by E.D. Hirsch. You can order the ITBS from two places:
The ITBS is one long test. About 6 hours worth; 13 separate tests.
wow The science test was so hard I couldn't score it (informally score it, I mean — the tests are scored by computer after you return them). The maps and diagrams test was impossible. Everything else was doable. Ultimately I'll have scores on each separate scale that tell me where Christopher ranks in terms of his fellow-students throughout the country. For the time being, I'm assuming Christopher is fine on reading comprehension. That scale had 46 questions; he missed 6. So we'll see.
what the middle school is doing right The one terrific moment vis a vis our school happened when Christopher took the usage and expression test. He looked at the first couple of questions and said, "Ms. K taught us all this stuff last year." (And she taught it in one semester, too, in his case.) He missed 3 out of 41 That's teaching. The schools here have tremendous teaching talent. What they don't have is a decent curriculum and a focus on academic achievement.
Math was somewhat disheartening. My take is that Christopher is exactly where Ed keeps saying he is: his procedural skills aren't bad, but his comprehension is poor.
I think I'll probably start giving Christopher the ITBS once a year. That's what Jerry Moore at My Short Pencil does.
* I know this thanks to Nick's Mama.
-- CatherineJohnson - 04 Dec 2006 Back to: Main Page.