It seems that the state's top educators are mighty envious of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.
Faced with less than stellar test results, the Department of Public Instruction, with the blessing of the state board of education, set out to dramatically improve the results -- not by actually improving the results, mind you, but rather by changing the scoring system.
Public school students’ standardized test performance took a giant leap this year, largely helped along by a new scoring scale that makes the tests easier to pass.
The statewide overall passing rate in all subjects was 56.3 percent, compared with last year’s passing rate of 44.7 percent.
Little Johnny can still do poorly on the test, but now Little Johnny will pass the test! This means that Little Johnny is poised for academic and life success, right?
Under the new system, level 3 became level 4, and level 4 became level 5. Students who score at level 3 on the new scale are considered to be prepared for the next grade level, but not on track for careers or college, said Tammy Howard, director of the Accountability Division at the state Department of Public Instruction.
We can hear the GOP lie machine already: "We repealed Common Core and test scores shot up immediately! And we do mean immediately! We got rid of teacher assistants, dumped truckloads of cash on teachers, got rid of all that extraneous textbook funding and started enough charter schools so that every family can have their own, and test scores went through the roof! Immediately! Retroactively, even! That's how good we are! Just think, if they let us do vouchers, test scores will be at least 143%!"
There are plenty of legitimate debate points about standardized testing, how to measure students' success, what set of standards to use and so on.
But simply changing the metrics to give an appearance that things are better is disingenuous, misleading and unfair to students, teachers and parents.
At least we can count on school systems not to try to spin this thing the way the NC GOP will spin it. Right?
While Wake chose not to [directly compare raw scores from the two unequal systems], other school districts used the new lower passing standards to say that they had seen big gains in performance. Charlotte-Mecklenburg issued a news release Thursday saying “gains ranged from nine to 18 points” on state exams.
Welcome to Char-Meck, where all the children are above average!