My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Legislators Looking To Phase Out CSAP 

This was inevitable in the face of a Democratic legislature. And, actually, it may not be a bad thing.

East High School students loathe the CSAP, the state's annual standardized test, because there is no incentive to do well, said Gracie McGuire, a junior at the Denver school. . . .

Two Democratic lawmakers on Sunday proposed a solution to the student apathy that they say has led to inaccurate and stagnant test scores: Do away with the hated exams in high schools.

Instead, juniors would continue to take one test they care about — the ACT — and the estimated $9 million savings from issuing fewer exams would fund after-school and teacher-enrichment programs, under a bill co-authored by Rep. Judith Solano, D-Brighton.

I think Gracie McGuire has nailed the essential problem with the CSAP right on the head: There IS no incentive. And when you force a 12- to 18-hour test on students with no reason for them to care about the outcome, you're really just wasting 12 to 18 hours of instructional time.

But the miseducation about the purpose of the test itself is staggering. I don't have a link, but I remember hearing a different Democratic legislator over the weekend commenting that "the CSAP has FAILED make our students better." Well, here's the thing: tests are measures, NOT strategies. Anybody foolish enough to look for a test to increase achievement is barking up the wrong tree.

Tests measure the results of all the other strategies you employ--if the "test is failing", then what you actually have is an indication of massive failures elsewhere.

It's encouraging that some people are smart enough to see a foolish idea where it exists; but until we can all start looking at what things ACTUALLY are and what they are ACTUALLY expected to accomplish, then we're just chasing our tails.

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