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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pearson Screw-Up Causes Statewide Re-Test, of FIRST GRADERS

If any humane educator, child psychologist, or child advocate had predicted even 20 years ago that events like the ones that follow in this story from Arkansas could actually occur, he or she would have been dismissed as a crackpot.

Now that such state-sanctioned child abuse is commonplace, where are the advocates for humane, effective education and for the healthy development of children???
BENTON COUNTY — First-grade students across the state are in the midst of retaking standardized tests they took last spring as kindergartners.

The problem was created when the test publisher, Pearson, inadvertently sent an estimated 100 schools in the state the actual kindergarten test when they were supposed to receive a practice exam, said Julie Thompson, spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Education.

The mistake was discovered at several schools when teachers and students taking the actual exam realized they had seen the test previously. The schools across the state had been given the option to purchase the practice exam to help prepare students and not all the schools chose that option. When the mistake was discovered, state school officials debated whether or not to require all first-grade students this year to take the test again, even if they didn’t see the actual test as a practice exam. It was decided that to be fair, all students should be tested again so all the previous test results were deemed invalid. The new tests are not the exact same test the students were given last year, but they are similar in style and content, Thompson said.

. . . .

Diana Gray, director of accountability and assessment, spoke of the behind-the-scenes work that the mistake caused.

“ What is not so obvious is all of the time required behind the scenes that also has to be repeated. The tests have to be ordered. Once they arrive, they have to be inventoried and distributed to the building or buildings where they will be administered, ” she said. “ Storage of the tests requires a secure location. District and building test coordinators have to attend Arkansas Department of Education training on how to administer the tests and then repeat that training for teachers and others involved in testing in the buildings where testing will be conducted. ”

Gray added that after the tests are completed they must be checked then mailed.

“ This was an unfortunate situation for everyone concerned, Pearson included, ” she said.

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