Tag: Indiana


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

Read: Arne Duncan City Limits Department


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

What’s happening in the dropout nation: As readers know, I reported two years ago on the reality that high school exit exams are being watered down or basically rendered useless…

Photo courtesy of AP

What’s happening in the dropout nation:

  1. As readers know, I reported two years ago on the reality that high school exit exams are being watered down or basically rendered useless by so-called alternative methods that allow children to graduate despite being unable to pass the tests. Now the New York Times offers its own story on the same issue. Worth reading.
  2. John Fensterwald notes that more districts in California signed on to the state’s ambitious Race to the Top agenda. Still, only eight of the top 10 districts (and 10 of the top 30) signed on, defying pressure from state NEA and AFT locals. Fensterwald also reports that the U.S. Department of Education official in charge of Race to the Top told a Northern California audience that she was pleasantly “stunned” by the response.
  3. Speaking of districts, here’s my latest report in The American Spectator, this time on Arne Duncan, the bad news out of the Windy City about the district’s issues, and why reforming school districts (especially big urban districts) is so difficult to do.
  4. And as for more Race to the Top news: Editorial pages in Boston and Buffalo advocate for their respective states to get off the wall and embrace reform. Meanwhile the AFT’s New York State affiliate is bringing out the proverbial shock troops to battle against the upcoming reform proposals, especially the lifting of the cap on charter schools. No shocker. (Thanks to Tom Carroll’s crew for the news).
  5. Tom Vander Ark shakes his head at all the negative responses to California’s parent trigger law and other opposition to parental choice. Sadly, such elitism and expertist thinking is typical in education circles. And one wonders why parents struggle to be involved?
  6. Graduation rate data is now streaming out of Indiana, D.C., and other states. In Milwaukee, there’s talk about forming a research and accountability group to observe the city’s woeful school system similar to the famed Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Dropout Nation Podcast. You can listen to the new one, on looking beyond Race to the Top, today.

Comments Off on Read: Arne Duncan City Limits Department

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

Meaningless Graduation Tests


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

THE CENTER FOR EDUCATION POLICY offers its latest evaluation of graduation exams. And for Indiana — whose Graduation Qualifying Exam is notorious for being a tad too easy (only tests…

Did she prove that she is ready for college and life? Did he? Depends on whether they passed the exit test.

Did she prove that she is ready for college and life? Did he? Depends on whether they passed the exit test.

THE CENTER FOR EDUCATION POLICY offers its latest evaluation of graduation exams. And for Indiana — whose Graduation Qualifying Exam is notorious for being a tad too easy (only tests 8th- and 9th-grade learning) and yet, so hard for some students to pass — the results are, well, underwhelming. This, unfortunately, is not only true for the Hoosier State, but for most of the other 25 states offering such exams.

Eight percent of the graduates in Indiana’s Class of 2007 garnered a sheepskin despite repeatedly failing the test. But, as I’ve reported last year, it’s actually worse than those numbers suggest when one looks at each district and high school. Indianapolis Public Schools, for example, 23.6 percent of the district’s Class of 2007 –281 students — graduated despite repeatedly flunking the graduation test. Sixteen percent of Greater Clark County School’s Class of 2007 repeatedly flunked the GQE, while 17 percent of South Bend Community Schools graduating class this year never passed the test (I’ll spare the Gary school district’s miserable numbers for all of us).

Thankfully, Indiana will replace the GQE by 2012 with a series of end-of-course tests in Algebra I and 10th-grade English. But the state isn’t eliminating the waiver process; students and parents will still have incentives for not passing the tests, while schools and districts will have no incentive to improve curriculum and instruction. This is also true for other states, which also refuse to hold students — and schools — accountable for lagging performance.

New York still allows students who passed a state Board of Regents-approved course to submit a “department-approved” test such as the SAT II — none of which are aligned with state standards — if they don’t pass that state’s end-of-course Regent’s exams. Across the Hudson River in New Jersey, 12 percent of students — 11,747 students — avoided passing the state’s High School Proficiency Assessment in order to grab their sheepskins.

And it’s even more laughable in Washington State, where the legislature approved a series of alternatives to passing the state exit exam there. A student who fails the exam can either compare his work to another student with a similar profile who actually passed the test, assemble a portfolio of work or get the slightly more rigorous total cut score of 1200 — way below the average SAT score of 1500 on the 2007 edition of the collegiate entrance exam — to get out of passing.

The results of these faulty regimes can be seen in the high numbers of students, both in major universities and community colleges, in the low levels of graduation and the high numbers of those students ending up in remedial education course. The fact that these students aren’t even being tested for the knowledge they need to even get into apprenticeship programs means that schools are poorly preparing them for the challenges of the global economy, in which math skills are so highly prized. And state policymakers, in turn, merely weaken the very standards they declare they want all students to learn. Education as both tragedy and farce at once.

The good news — if you can call it that — is that states are moving more toward end-of-course exams, which will force students to show that they have mastered the math, science, history and English knowledge they need in order to get into higher education of any kind, be it college, techinical school or trade apprenticeships. But high-stakes testing, contrary to the arguments of FairTest and other opponents of standardized testing regimes, remains more mythology than reality.

Comments Off on Meaningless Graduation Tests

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

The Read


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

The dropout nation at a glance. Updated throughout the day: What shall be done with No Child Left Behind: Some such as Checker Finn of Fordham are arguiing for a…

A young black man with textbooks. Now, this is what we should be seeing. Photo courtesy of blacksgiveback.blogspot.com

A young black man with textbooks. Now, this is what we should all see. Photo courtesy of blacksgiveback.blogspot.com

The dropout nation at a glance. Updated throughout the day:

    1. What shall be done with No Child Left Behind: Some such as Checker Finn of Fordham are arguiing for a major re-write of the law while Diane Ravitch — she of the Broader, Bolder Coalition — think it should probably be dumped altogether. Meanwhile Sol Stern argues that, instead of re-writing the law outright, it should essentially be strengthened to show which states are gaming the system by lowering standards. Feel free to read more of the debate at Newtalk.org.
    2. Editor’s note: Ryan Hill of TEAM Schools argues that the gaming of the system by states exemplifies the need for national standards. I would generally agree. Except for this: If the federal government is already struggling to get all 50 states to comply with No Child’s goals — and that’s with a wide array of exemptions and allowances for missed deadlines thusfar — why would anyone think that it can go so far and actually enforce curriculum standards? And as we have seen in debates over phonics versus whole language and Reading First, a growing federal role will only mean additional battling over whose standards are best — leading to a set of curriculum rules that are as mushy as many of the standards at the state level.
    3. It’s never about the teachers: At least that is the perspective of the piece written by California Federation of Teachers President Marty Hittelman, who mentions that California is among the last in school spending per student (even though California is also, by the way, the nation’s largest state and spends $40 billion annually on K-12) and argues that the allegedly low spending, along with the lack of librarians, are among the reasons why some 127,300 students in the state’s original Class of 2007  are failing to get their sheepskins. I must ask: What about, umm, high-quality instruction by high-quality teachers? Which may be obtained if the state’s rules governing teacher evaluations allowed for more stringent analysis of teacher competency.
    4. Meanwhile the Golden State’s school superintendent, Jack O’Connell advocates for using data in solving the state’s dropout crisis. It would help if his department had a better relationship with the most powerful congressperson on education — California Congressman George Miller.
    5. Not acceptable at any level: So says the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette about the spate of bad news about Indiana’s — and Indianapolis’ — low graduation rates.

      Comments Off on The Read

      Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search