Saturday, May 30, 2015

When Higher Expectations Aren't

I want to go back to this post about testing from Jersey Jazzman because it so clearly hits a fundamental lie in the Common Core Testing scheme.

Go read it again. It might be the most important post of (at least) the month.

The big point-- that a standardized test is engineered to create a bell curve. Should all the students ever do really well on it, reformsters will not say, "Yippee! At last student achievement has risen! Mission accomplished!" No, should the long-awaited day arrive on which all students score well, reformsters will say, "This test is defective. Send it back."

Let's frame this another way. Let's talk about expectations.

As I ranted the other day, reformsters love higher expectations. They never tire of telling us that the magic sauce saturating their super standards is a reduction brew of higher expectations. We have for over a decade heard the mantra that we must all believe that every child can excel. Every child can do awesometastic work-- if we just have high expectations.

It's a lie.

It's a big, fat lie.

Common Core is not about higher expectations for every child at all.

Because the expectation embedded in a standardized test is that 10-20% of students will do lousy, and another large chunk will just be fair-to-middlin'.

The architects of Common Core and the Big Standardized Tests expect a big chunk of students to do poorly, and that low expectation is built into the test.

When they say, "We're going to set the bar high because that will make every student rise to meet it," they are lying. What they really mean is, "We are going to set the bar high because that will guarantee that our expectation of large-scale failure will be met."

It is possible that some reformsters don't even realize they're doing this. Under NCLB I'm pretty sure some advocates really believed that all children could be above average. But that doesn't change what they've done.

They've built the expectation of failure into the system. They have codified a program of low expectations. And their low expectations are so ingrained, that just as with their low expectations of teacher quality, they refuse to believe any results that do not confirm their expectations.

The BS Testing of Common Core is the very definition of low expectations. So the next time some reformster tosses out that baloney about higher expectations, ask them-- if the test results came back tomorrow at 95% proficiency, what would you say? Hooray? Because if you'd say "these results must be wrong," you don't ever get to lecture us about the soft bigotry of low expectations ever again.

1 comment:

  1. Well done.

    Here's the part that really gets me. PARCC is supposed to measure fluency/achievement/whatever against a standard. An absolute, concrete standard. The standard itself was designed for College and Career Readiness. The PARCC test is designed to measure College and Career Readiness. The holy grail is to get a "4" (or 5, of course) on PARCC, as a level "4" carries with it the coveted "College And Career Ready Determination".

    How does one achieve a level 4 on a PARCC test? Well, you have to get a raw score that is greater than the "cut score" for level 4. And that cut score will be determined after all the raw scores are in and we see how everyone did.

    In other words: whether you are determined to be "College and Career Ready", by PARCC, depends entirely on how all of your peers do on the test.

    Thank goodness we have standards.