Posts Tagged ‘Evaluation’

Standardized Testing on the Ropes at the Local Level in NYC as SHSAT is Suspended for 2020-21

November 29, 2020 Comments off

Chalkbeat writer and Brooklyn Tech alum Haley Lucas wrote a thoughtful and persuasive essay calling for the end of standardized tests to gain entry to NYC’s “Elite” High Schools. As noted in many earlier blog posts, the SHSAT is the exclusive metric used to screen students for entry into eight competitive high schools in New York City. Given the impact of the pandemic on public schools, Ms. Lucas suggests that NOW is the time to abandon this test, which has unfairly screened out otherwise qualified students. She writes: 

The test has long been controversial and, frankly, problematic, as a metric that has worked to keep many Black and brown students out of specialized high schools. Now, it also faces logistical hurdles, with school buildings closed and social-distancing guidelines in place.

In the convoluted governance world of NYC schools, the State legislature will ultimately determine if the test can be replaced… but… as noted in Ms. Lucas’ essay, NYS law only requires that these tests be used in THREE of the eight high schools that currently use it: 

Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Tech, and Bronx Science are the only schools that are mandated by the Hecht- Calandra Act to administer the exam as a requirement for admission. The other specialized high school not bound by law should use alternative admission measures this year no matter what.

As noted in earlier posts… the only positive by-product of the pandemic for public schools and education in general might be the complete abandonment of standardized tests as a total re-thinking of what schools SHOULD be about. The good news is that such a re-thinking is underway….



Another Positive Covid Consequence: Abandoning “Ahead” and “Behind”

May 4, 2020 Comments off

KQED offered a clickbait article this weekend that offered Seven Steps schools should take to transition away from exclusive online teaching. Some, like the first one calling for universal access to broadband, are beyond the purview of public education, and others, like examining what was successful or variants thereof, are so common-sensical that they don’t seem worth making. The final recommendation, though, caught my eye: it called for abandoning the notion of falling behind. Here’s an excerpt that explains:

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has many people trying to get back to where they were pre-pandemic. Students and parents are looking for the same schoolwork, grades or experiences needed to keep them “on track,” especially for college admissions, despite the fact that colleges are adjusting their admissions requirements. Laufenberg worries about administrators who pressure teachers to catch students up to a standard that doesn’t take into account the harmful effects of the pandemic and what that could do to kids.

The problem with the concept of “catching up” is two fold: it assumes that the time of completion of high school is essential for getting into college and it assume that whether a student is “ahead or behind” of some artificial timeline matters in the future. If we can abandon the idea of being “ahead or behind” it would make mastery learning feasible in the future.

USA Today Article Exposes USDOE’s Flawed Logic on Deregulation

February 28, 2020 Comments off

As reported recently in this blog, a USA Today investigative team determined that a for profit college with no students or faculty members was fully accredited by ACSIS, an organization that was barred from accrediting colleges by the Obama administration because it had approved several programs that were not able to provide jobs for graduates or support for their students. One of Betsy DeVos’ first actions as Secretary of Education was to restore ACSIS’ status as an accrediting agency. Why?

DeVos has made it one of her priorities to roll back some of the federal regulations around accreditation. Her argument: Fewer regulations could allow colleges to create training programs quickly to fill holes in the workforce. Critics say cutting back the rules would make it easier for shoddy or predatory institutions to take advantage of students. 

In the case of Reagan University the critics were right. And if you guessed that ACSIS accredited Reagan U you have been paying attention!