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

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Duncan's Latest Party Balloon Just Got Popped in Tennessee

When NAEP reported in May that Tennessee high school seniors finish next to last in NAEP proficieny in the latest testing derby (just behind West Virginia), it took some of the glory from the earlier report on NAEP scores for grades 4 & 8 that Kevin Huffman and his band of TFA lawyers plastered on every available wall space at the TN State Department of Education--even the elevators. 

But Huffman had an explanation for those lower high school scores: you see, high school students came through the system before his antiquarian style of 19th Century educational leadership and management came to Tennessee:
Huffman, who has pointed to new controversial teacher evaluations, higher standards and other policy moves for producing the elementary and middle school gains — to the chagrin of his critics — believes lacking those things early on in their education might have affected results for high school students.
"Kids who graduated from high school last year have gone through the vast majority of schooling before most of the changes that happened in education kicked in," he said. "The other thing is, I think we have to ask the question about whether our high schools are improving at the same rate as our elementary and middle schools are."
Now it seems Huffman has to dream up some other speculation to explain how the latest state TCAP tests and value-added scores have cratered for 3rd grade and pancaked for grades 3-8. Reading scores for grades 3-8 have gone down for the first time since the Haslam/Huffman regime brought the corporate model to Tennessee.

And, somehow, without the benefit of Huffman's misleadership during their elementary years, high school students' scores are the only ones that show any promise, even though ACT scores remain flat and near the bottom in the nation. 
 And statewide the value-added gains are far below (0.6) those projected growth gain (2.3) for the State.  In short, the latest Miracle has just left the stadium.

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