Saturday, October 19, 2013

Where is the bottom?

For the past few years, teachers at CPS have been told to teach with more "rigor"!  We even had to lengthen the school day and year because our kids just weren't learning enough. We still have to test them to death throughout the year (regardless of what is said in the media) to make sure than when the BIG test comes in the spring all kids are "test prep worthy" and will be able to pass and be promoted!

On this year's test agenda...the following alphabet of tests will be given.
REACH, ISAT, and NWEA - that doesn't include other test like  DIBBLES for primary grades, CPS Quarterly Assessments (that are not mandatory for your school, unless they are).  All of these tests are to get the students ready for the PARK Test which has an unknown start date.

The REACH test is basically given to judge the teachers not the students. The ISAT test which used to be for promotion is fading away, but not before we can give it one more time.  Interestingly though, according to a CPS announcement this past week, ISAT is NOT being used for promotion this year - the NWEA test is instead. So, why give the ISAT test at all?  If it is so obsolete, why bother?  If the test is no longer in the students' best interest, then whose interests are we serving?

What does all this really mean?  Absolutely nothing!  Why?  Because in the same announcement this past week, CPS changed its Promotion Policy for grades 3, 6, and 8 -  the only grades where summer school can become a reality anyway.  Since the tests are getting harder, CPS decided in "the best interest of the children" to make being promoted easier.   Now, the promotion bar was set so low to begin with even a great limbo dancer would have had problems.

How low can CPS go?  Apparently not low enough. For about the past decade the bar to pass was set at the 24th percentile. According to the new policy, if students score between the 11th and 23rd percentile, but have at least a C in Math and Reading they will NOT have to attend summer school.  Only those kids who score below the 10th percentile MUST attend summer school this year.

Triple B (Barbara Byrd-Bennett) had this to say:

"This current policy that we have has become outdated. The new policy takes a much more balanced approached to measuring student success."

What isn't being said...

1) The assessments have absolutely no value, so let's not put any value on them.


2) CPS doesn't believe its students can learn and rise to the occasion of these more challenging assessments.

What is being said...

Summer school costs money.  Having students retained cost money.  It's always about the money. It's only about the money.

Soon there will literally be NO CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND.  Unfortunately, there won't be many children getting ahead either.

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