"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Poor Testing Companies

Some testing companies are struggling to keep up with the requirements of No Child Left Behind and are suffering from lost revenue and scoring errors. Perhaps Senator Edward Kennedy who charged today in the Washington Post to "stay the course" on this bi-partisan education reform can introduce new legislation to leave no testing company behind and protect them from"buckling under the weight" of NCLB.

Not to worry though about the poor teachers, administrators, students and parents across the country who find themselves in an ever-tightening noose of measuring every child every year in this one-size-fits all anti-intellectual drive to compete for jobs that do not exist. Hmmm...perhaps those Citicorp workers who are about to be laid off can be retrained to be psychometricians or scorekeepers at Harcourt.

CHICAGO - To motivate juniors on last April's assessment exams, Springfield High School offered coveted lockers, parking spaces near the door and free prom tickets as incentives for good scores.

But the incentives at the central Illinois school went unclaimed until this month, when Illinois finally published its 2006 test scores - more than four months after they were due.
Critics pounced on Harcourt Assessment Inc., which lost most of its $44.5 million state contract over delays - caused by everything from shipping problems to missing test pages and scoring errors - that made Illinois the last state in the nation to release scores used to judge schools under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

But experts say the problems are more widespread and are likely to get worse. A few companies create, print and score most of the tests in the United States, and they're struggling with a workload that has exploded since President Bush signed the education reform package in 2002.
"The testing industry in the U.S. is buckling under the weight of NCLB demands," said Thomas Toch, co-director of Education Sector, a Washington-based think tank.

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