Aaron Regunberg is a community organizer in Providence.

10 responses to “Protest RIDE’s High-Stakes Testing Policy Thursday”

  1. joann fonseca

    High stakes testing is part of the $75 Million dollar Race to the Top BS that Commish Gist went to DC accompanied by Fox, Chafee and the entourage of other clueless lawmakers as well, who did not understand or perhaps did not care what this would do to teachers and students. This RacettTop never should have happened but Gist persisted and her close friend & buddy Arne Donecan’t awarded RI the money…( you have to remember Gist worked in DC–was a fundraiser-not a teacher-(8 yrs teaching only Grades 1, 2 and 3 in two different states-then had to leave DC when Michelle Rhee and her got into a fight over the job there with Mayor Fenty..and Gist ended up in RI) ..RI should not have gone after this money but then again the clueless politicians thought it was a great way to bring in money to the state not really understanding the multi-pages of the application…not knowing that is an extension of No Child left Behind. Politicians know nothing about education–it’s not their expertise and because of their incompetence, RI schools will be focusing on testing, testing, testing. 
    The GA lawmakers will vote for more charters, as part of keeping the RttTop money in addition to increasing the percentage of tying the students’ high stakes testing scores to teacher evaluations…All these factors are the conditions of RaceTTTop….
    And by the way, back on Friday, June 22, 2012 GoLocalProv News  published a story where a former assistant U.S. Secretary of Education took  Commish Gist to task for implementing reform efforts that focus too heavily on test scores and teacher evaluation and not enough on the burdens imposed by poverty.
    In a wide-ranging interview with GoLocalProv, Dr. Diane Ravitch, who has become one of the loudest critics of charter schools and the Race to the Top program in the country, said too many educators are currently emphasizing high-stakes test scores and supporting charter schools while failing to address the problems public school teachers face every day.
    So let’s see if Thursday’s protest in front of the Shepard Building changes anyone’s minds….. 

  2. Barry

    Putting too much emphasis on testing is a mistake, and the embrace of charters before they have proved themsleves is clearly in part political ideology intended to lower the standard of living of teachers.  But I also know teachers who are concerned with over time slipping standards and lowered expctations of performance.  There do need to be expectations of learning that students must be made aware of.  When I was a kid in NY the Regents Exams were a beneficial motivating factor.  Also, I’m not sure why the NECAP test is allegedly discriminatory, is there an indication the NECAP questions are biased?

    1. PinkHatLib

      “Also, I’m not sure why the NECAP test is allegedly discriminatory, is there an indication the NECAP questions are biased?”

      I’m not aware of any studies showing the test adequately accomodates for students with learning differences such as dyslexia. I should note that it should not be up to the parents of these children to prove the test is a valid measure but rather a requirement of the school district that is implementing the high-stakes testing regime.

      In any case, whether the test questions are biased, there is no question that these tests harm the very groups they were supposedly designed to help:

      — quote —

      Since its creation in 1985 by leaders of major civil rights, education reform and student advocacy organizations, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, Inc. (FairTest) has closely monitored the impact of state-mandated exit exams on both equity and educational quality.
      More than two decades of evidence demonstrates that high school graduation tests are the wrong prescription for what ails public education. In fact, such requirements most damage the very groups proponents claim they will help. Across the country, misguided exit exam mandates have increased drop-out rates, especially among minority groups, and focused classroom teaching on test preparation rather than 21st Century skills…

      Rather than provide better education and expanded opportunities, a greater focus on the tests too often results in disadvantaged students getting narrowed curriculum and instruction that pushes lower-order cognitive skills Meanwhile affluent students are more likely to retain a rich, challenging curriculum because teachers have less reason to fear they will test poorly. The gap in access to high-quality schooling can easily widen instead of narrow.

      — end quote —

  3. donroach

    I really dislike RI Future’s recent tact of calling something X but never allowing the viewing public to view the contents of X for themselves. Aaron, if you believ this policy is dscriminatory and want people to join your cause, shouldn’t they at least take the time to view the policy and draw the same reasoned conclusions you have?

    Or would you rather they take your word for it and show up with the pitchforks?

     

    1. PinkHatLib

      Is it too much for you to look this stuff up? (took me less time to write this than to find it)

      The Rhode Island High School Diploma System

    2. PinkHatLib

      Er, more time to write that.

    3. PinkHatLib

      Hmm, my bad. That doc is from 2005 and actually makes the case against high-stakes testing based graduation requirements.

      As to the larger question, why is testing discriminatory?

      — quote —
      The Tests Often Test the Disability, Rather than the Ability of the Student
      Standardized tests assume that each student taking the test will read in the same manner. However, a student with a learning disability cannot process words like other students. Every time a learning disabled student reads a word, it is as if he or she is encountering that word for the first time. Reading is thus a slow and tiring process. On these tests, the student is struggling with reading the test, not answering the questions. The students’ disability, not his or her ability, is being assessed.
      One reason that high-stakes assessments have a discriminatory impact on students with learning disabilities is because often when the tests were developed, little no attention was given to how the tests would impact learning disabled test takers. The sample population that is used by test developers to set the average scores for the tests usually does not include students with disabilities. When disabled students are included in the sample population, it is often unintentional, and the performance of these individuals is not separately tracked. Most testing publishers also do not give students with disabilities accommodations they need when testing a sample population, thus leading to a dearth of information and research about the true effect of an accommodation on a testing situation.
      — end quote —

  4. donroach

    Your bad indeed…

    …My point in action.

    I have a son with a disability. He’s been in the school system for years. You cannot argue the case that school systems do not modify standardized test for children with disabilities. We can agree that often the school and parents/psychologists/independent educators don’t often agree on the ‘appropriate’ form of education for the student, but there’s no way to argue that every child with a disability will be forced to take the standard test…unless there is a link showing that this new policy would do just that…

    …unfortunately no link was provided in the post.          

    1. PinkHatLib

      btw, I did finally find it…

      “FIELD MEMO ALERT UPDATES ON:  The RI Diploma Requirements and Educator Evaluation System”

      “Information for Rhode Island Parents and Families:  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the 2011 Secondary Regulations”

      ———

      If a student has a learning disability will he or she be eligible to earn a diploma?
      All students who successfully complete the coursework, diploma assessments, and NECAP assessment requirements are eligible to earn a diploma. Schools have a legal responsibility to make sure that students with disabilities have the supports to learn and meet the requirements. Those supports, or accommodations, are developed during the process of writing the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

      Will a student who is taking the Rhode Island Alternate Assessment (RIAA) get a diploma?
      If your student is taking the RI Alternative Assessment, they are not eligible for a diploma. However, they must be tested because State and Federal Law requires that all students are tested. The state assessment system is meant to ensure that each student is instructed and supported toward passing the NECAP or RIAA.

      ————

      So dyslexics can struggle though with an IEP (assuming their disability has been identified in the first place) or not graducate. The way I’ve heard this described is that it’s like saying because blind people can learn to work with their disability and cross a street, that it’s therefore valid to time them doing so and compare those times against sighted people as a measure of say their ability to accurately and expediently evaluate complex situations (reminded a bit of Frogger).

      What’s clear is that there is a “dearth of information and research about the true effect of an accommodation on a testing situation,” as none of that information is provided in the links above.

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