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

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Victory in Pennsylvania on High School Testing

Many people worked very hard to halt the further spread of the tabulation orgy in Pennsylvania high schools. Congratulations, Penn. citizens. From the Inquirer:
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Rendell administration Monday temporarily shelved plans to develop graduation competency exams for Pennsylvania high school students in hopes of making peace with legislative critics who felt the administration was moving too fast.

"Under the current circumstance and to allow the emerging consensus to develop, we will not spend funds for state-mandated graduation test development" under a seven-year contract signed last month, Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak said in a letter to ranking members of the House and Senate education committees.

Some lawmakers were upset last month when the department signed a contract with the Minnesota-based Data Recognition Corporation to develop the proposed Keystone Exams before they approved a testing method.

In last year's state budget, the Legislature included a provision barring the state Education Board from developing regulations to implement the exams through the June 30 end of the fiscal year.

Efforts to reach a compromise on the politically touchy subject were in progress when administration officials signed the contract, said Rep. James R. Roebuck, chairman of the House Education Committee.

"It served really to disrupt that entire process," the Philadelphia Democrat said. "It was as if they were in another world."

The proposed exams would be administered in grades nine through 12 to gauge students' progress in specific subjects and, pending federal approval, would replace the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests currently given in the 11th grade. School districts could continue to substitute their own tests, but they would require advance approval by the state, said department spokesman Michael Race . . . .

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