relationship between grades and test scores
Fields reasons that 1/3 of Proviso students failed at least one class during the spring. But only 20-25 percent meet or exceed state standards.
What's Fields solution? Buy computer software.
"The Pearson Benchmark software provides valid, reliable assessments that are aligned with the state learning standards and (Prairie State Achievement Exam/ACT) objectives, and organized by courses identified with our graduation and classification policies," Fields wrote in a July District 209 newsletter.
The plan, he continued, is to deliver instruction subject only to the valid, reliable assessments maintained with the Benchmark software. Doing this, he stated, restricts the variables impacting student proficiency.
This article raises a number of questions.
1. To what extent are Proviso schools using grades to reflect disciplinary issues? Are teachers inflating grades for students who don't make trouble? Why are grades inflated?
2. Fields seems to want Proviso to teach to the tests. I suspect this will improve test scores a small amount. However, I doubt it will produce large gains over a sustained period of time. Who wants to be a teacher or a student in a school optimized around cracking the whip on test scores and worshiping the boys basketball teams? I doubt the schools that get the best test scores are most extreme examples of the back-to-basics movement.
It will be interesting to see if grades correspond to test scores. If 25 students in a class are ranked by test scores, will the rankings correspond to how the same students rank by their grades? If not, is this a failure of the grading system, or is it perfectly appropriate?
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