In a recent interview, I predicted that what is now called (self-proclaimed) as “reform” would come tumbling down like a house of cards as the public realized the damage to children and to the quality of education.
This reader in Illinois picks up that theme, saying that the foundation of VAM (value-added assessment) rests on the standardized tests, and they are a weak foundation indeed. When the house of cards comes tumbling down, it will be apparent that they rested on a method of assessment that is flawed at its core. She responds here to the comment of another reader:
You nailed it in your next-to-last paragraph–“if my students understood pineapples and hare races a little better…”–it isn’t simply the VAMs that are junk, it’s the very TESTS that all this is based upon
that are junk! As a special ed. teacher who administered these tests for years (and IL uses Pearson), I was able to look at the tests (because we read the math and science from scripts), and I can tell you that there have been NUMEROUS faulty questions and answers (more than one correct answer, NO correct answer) over numerous years. This holds true for all the prep garbage we buy, as well. Last but not least, people who score the written portions of tests (extended response on Reading Comprehension selections) are often people not competent to do so–such as ESL adults, who did not understand the nuances of the English language.
(As I have before, I must reference Todd Farley’s must-read 2009 book,”Making the Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry,” which will explain in detail).
Farley also wrote a Huffington Post article this year about COMPUTERS scoring written essays (another must-read).
When you factor this together–along with all the score-juking that goes on (again, read the book!), WHAT “valid,
reliable” basis is there upon which to base a VAM?
It is all a house of cards–just like the wall that Diane predicts will
collapse. This bodes well for us–public schools and teachers–as this is the basis of our fight. Lawyers, ready yourselves!