Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bloated scores or floating cut scores?

Indy Star likes these type of headlines. Indiana is criticized for reporting high graduation rates and state proficiency levels higher than NAEP scores.

From reading most of the actual paper posted on line by the author, one of the major problems is trying to rank the states when the states use different measuring sticks for determining proficiency.

The author seems to think that if the NAEP proficiency percentages match the state's reported percentages on their statewide assessments, then they are "not inflated."

Yet who says the NAEP cut scores are appropriate? Who says Indiana's scores aren't a better measure of true proficiency? Well it depends on what your agenda is. There certainly has been enough educational researchers question the appropriateness of the NAEP proficiency levels.

Here is an article from 2004 that describes why it is hard to make sense of all the proficiency hoopla.


At Thursday, May 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Super,

You've been so quiet recently and the traffic here so light that I'm hesitant to give you any attention at all. Nonetheless, I can't help but point out that, once again, you are having difficulty interpretting your own references!

The story that you linked points out, for the most part, that state tests are subject to political pressures that do not reflect reality. Only Gerald Bracey, who thinks modern US public schools are the best model of all time in all countries ever, suggests that NAEP is a bad measure. All the other people in that story are pointing to the problems with STATE cut scores.

If you have followed ANY of the cut score setting in Indiana, then you know already that it is an incredibly political process and that cut scores have been regularly LOWERED to avoid the political impact of having too many people fail. I suspect from this post and others by you that you are one of those crazy conspiracy theorists who thinks that business interests have forced higher cut scores in order to justify vouchers. But the facts of the case are exactly the OPPOSITE. Teachers have actually proposed HIGHER failure rates and committees of business and political leaders have lowered those rates. But alas, facts don't often matter in these debates.

If facts did matter, then there would be wider recognition by education leaders that ISTEP pass rates are inflated. There also would not be the continuing suggestion, as given by you in this post, that Indiana's "official" graduation rates are actually accurate.

Of course, I suspect that you actually know better. And what a shame that is for out kids. CYA -- the name of the game for public school administrators. (Not all of them perhaps, but far too many.)

At Friday, May 19, 2006, Blogger Indiana Public School Superintendent said...

Yes, I've been quiet for awhile. Interestingly enough site traffic hasn't changed - only the comments.

Mostly because the discussion on the comments section always seems to center around reactions to your comments! LOL

Nice to have you back. :-) Gets busy during the spring session doesn't it!

You said that "state tests are subject to political pressures that do not reflect reality." That is a crazy statement. You can't actually believe that NAEP scores are reality and that they are not beset by the same political fights at the national level that states face at home?

You know fully well that all cut score decisions are political and social decisions. They are never "reality." Cut scores never came on stone tablets brought down from the mountain by Moses as an absolute truth. They always reflect the social and political pressures of the day.

By the way, I don't think Gerald Bracey believes at all that "modern public schools are the best model of all time in countries ever."

He just makes his living point out that there is a disconnect between how well a 14 year old bubbles in little circles and how well the American economy is performing at the time. A fact that some, not necessarily you, fail to see.

At Friday, May 19, 2006, Anonymous historian said...

Just because no one is posting comments doesn't mean that no one is reading! I take it as implicit agreement/laughter....


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