Social Promotion, the New SAT, Books for Kids, and Testing Troubles (New and Notable)

Social promotion and student retention aren’t just the focus of the NY Times story (see Best of the Week). In addition:

Third-Grade Repeat Rate Improves The Ledger
New York City: The Politics of Promotion NY Times
Florida Board to urge end of all 'social promotions' ... Sun-Sentinel.com
Board wants to end social promotion St. Petersburg Times
An Evaluation of Florida’s Program to End Social Promotion The Gadfly

Then there's the new SAT:

Opinion: Seven Reasons NOT to Fear the New SAT Washington Post
Analogies are to SATs what babies are to bathwater Boston Globe
Scorers of New SAT Get Ready for Essays Washington Post

A new tool from the Education Trust reveals college graduation rates:

Web site helps out in choice of college Des Moines Register
College Results Online SJ Mercury

Books for kids:

Children's book awards Christian Science Monitor
Henkes, Kadohata Win Children's Literature Medals NPR (audio)

Last but not least, this week brings what seems like more than the usual number of descriptions of flaws in state and national testing systems, in the NCLB definition of adequate progress, and the impact of testing on schools:

Meaning of 'Proficient' Varies for Schools Across Country New York Times
School Testing Results Vary Ledger
When Assessment Defies Best Practice ASCD SmartBrief
Schools to test students who have English as second language Boston Globe
Testing Errors in Standardized Tests National Board on Education Testing
Testing Tots Rethinking Schools
TN's grading system tracks student progress The Tennessean
Measuring Literacy in a World Gone Digital New York Times
Testing Companies Mine for Gold Rethinking Schools
Don't Continue Pointless Exercise Carolina Journal
Testing, salaries drive $1.9 billion schools budget TimesCommunity.com
Low Test Scores Could Cost Schools Orlando Sentinel
Social studies get short shrift Kansas City Star

More students, more chances to fail Grand Rapids Press
Subgroups pull PLV schools into 'not met' NCLB categories Papillion Times
Leaving Lots of Children Behind San Diego Union-Tribune
Report: 9 of 10 schools will fail Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Chiefs Issue NCLB Update Education Week

What I don't get about the whole anti-testing "thing" is as follows: It's not like standardized tests are going away anytime soon, from what I can tell (sorry, portfoliophiles). There'll always be tests, there'll always be teachers. And there'll probably never be a perfect assessment and accountability system for education, but then again there isn't such a thing for finance, medicine, etc. It would cost too much, and might not be attainable.

Last but not least, many of those most commonly thought to oppose tests, namely classroom teachers, use them on a daily and weekly basis in their classrooms -- rarely valid, reliable, or without bias. I'm just not clear on whether testing opponents can justify vocabulary quizzes and unit tests, much less boiling down a student's work to a letter grade, or explain what they would do if they didn't "have" to give tests and grades.


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