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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

DCPS's testing shenanigans

A lot of schools are doing a new testing regimen. In years past, an entire class would test all at once, but now higher achievers are testing first and lower performers sometime after. My initial thought was the district is trying to pull a fast one. The district knows kids talk, so the thought is maybe some could pass on some info to their peers, that and teachers just want to be helpful too. Now I don't see any teacher saying the answer to 26 is C, but if they see a subject on the test that could be covered a little more before the lower performing group took the test, that would be okay too. That's what I initially thought anyways.

Then somebody pointed out that it was being done so the lower performing kids could get more instruction. I can rationalize that, okay, sure why not. The district isn't some evil despot with plots within plots but maybe not so fast.

However, now I am learning that many of the "lower kids" aren't getting extra instruction because their teachers are proctoring the tests. A friend at the district pointed some more things out to me the district probably hasn't considered because "it seems like they look at every kid like they are dollar signs and test scores" instead of, well, instead of them being kids.  

Isn't it going to be a kick in the pants when some kids realize they are the lower performers as they take the tests after their peers? Many of these kids experience test weariness; that is, there are diminishing returns from all the test prep, and if some burnout, worsening returns. How's that going to affect their mental health, something the district pretends to care about? My bet is not well. 

Their tone-deafness is deafening. @$#&ing deafening.

In my mind, the district is doing everything they can to cook the books. Greene can taste that almost A from two years ago, and nothing is going to stop her.   

I would say we were sold a bill of goods with Greene, but the reality is she came here with one scandal and dubious practice after another under her belt. Her actions, do whatever it takes, even if it leaves a trail of broken bodies and burnt-out teachers in her wake, speak louder than her words. 

1 comment:

  1. There's a lot going on with testing and the District will wind up being too clever by half. First, the students are checking out. It's not 'learning loss,' but their motivation is decreasing visibly as they cannot wait for this year to be over. They are done. If the district wants the highest scores possible, they need to test everyone now.

    Second, the amendment put before the Board last night via the consent agenda to amend the Student Progression Plan was the minimum that the state laid out. Nothing district-mandated changed. So students taking a course with an EOC will have a grade determined from a 4 quarter average (because of the pandemic, quarantine mess, switching teachers, etc.) and then, if the EOC result would result in a higher grade once the results are received at the end of July, the district will reward the higher grade. For all other courses that only have a district EOC, no change. That will remain 20% of the course grade.

    The district will follow the state guidance on 3rd grade retention and graduation, but wants everyone to know that no requirement was waived. The district may grant exemptions on a case-by-case basis and the district specified what would qualify. Prominent in the 3rd grade retention decision was iReady scores. Other mentions were performance on PMA3, which took place prematurely due to the district's desire for data that ignored the instructional cycle. Basically, PMA 3 tested kids on a year's worth of curriculum after only two-thirds of instructional days had taken place.

    Same for graduation. High schools will have to look at the criteria and, at this very busy time of the year, when school counselors are busy chasing truants, locating lost students, registering for the new year, filling in as testing administrators, etc., they now also have to review every senior to see if they qualify by the alternate criteria if the seniors have not passed Algebra 1 or 10th grade reading.

    Lastly, none of this addresses teachers. Kids may suffer no consequences from not testing, but teachers will! In her latest email, the super told us to practice self-care. Dammit, I want some superintendent care. Why is she unable to do that?!