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Proviso Probe

Thursday, July 05, 2007

relationship between grades and test scores

Proviso Herald (Chuck Fieldman) writes that Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) Superintendent Stan Fields suspects grades are being inflated.

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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7 Comments:

  • Joe says: I worked at Dist. 209. Yes, the grades are inflated. If you give out too many F's, you get called into the dept. chair and asked to justify your grades. The emphasis is that YOU are the reason these kids aren't passing, not that the kids can't pass. How many F's a teacher gives coupled with how many deans' referrals you write are used to determine if you will be rehired. You must "go along with the program".
    Another comment to ponder: Just because the test scores may be low, doesn't mean that the kids are stupid. They take little interest in standardized tests. I had kids in my room who took the test and quit after a half hour. When I tried to encourage them to take it seriously, they just laughed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:58 PM, July 05, 2007  

  • The bottom line is that there are teachers at Proviso who can't teach, don't want to teach, and are not made to teach.

    Most new teachers are hired at the last minute. Most well to do schools are done hiring their teachers in April. Why does Proviso hire teachers in August. That is not enough time to read the curriculum or prepare for classes in
    the fall. Proviso can't even do teacher evaluations correctly. The union is corrupt they won't fight for education. Johnson and her all "BLACK women cabinet" only care about their own personal gain, while Fields laughs at them and does not take her or the union seriously.

    This can't be blamed on the students, teachers, or parents. It goes back to the administrators and the board. The whole morale is the LOWEST it has ever been. The majority of the Board led by Welch does not care about education, because they have not had a meeting in five months that dealt with education. Robin Foreman is power hungry and bossy. She only cares about her next outfit for the meeting. Sue Henry only cares about the Proviso East band and well Dan Adams does not care about anything. It should be investigated if he still lives in Melrose Park.

    Proviso will change when a board and supt. are FOCUSED on EDUCATION and not patronage jobs and contracts. Until then, Proviso is DOOMED under Welch and his bandits. Welch has robbed Proviso dry and now he has found a supt that has the same LOW ethics and morals as him. Mundelein has gotten rich off of Proviso.

    I hope Fields reads this one, because the next set of robo calls will make him want to leave Proviso.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:06 AM, July 06, 2007  

  • The last thing the NEA & the School Districts want is Standardized testing. We would have a whole bunch of pupils not making the grade and being required to be held back until they met the grade level competenticy. This would be prohibitivily expensive for district 209 residents. I thought we are funding the district to the rate of $13,430 per pupil per annum. With this level of expenditure our students should be performing at or better then their peirs in the surrounding collar counties. The biggest input to the learning process is the child.
    We need to get the parent(s)/ guardian involved so they can prioritize their childrens goal to inprove their academic performance and not just their test taking ability.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 PM, July 08, 2007  

  • The reason why the students may not be performing better than the students in the collar counties is parent commitment and the education in the ELEMENTARY schools. By the time they arrive at the high school, 13,000 per pupil is not going to bring students up to par with their PEERS.

    When the parents decide that education is a priority and are willing to work cooperatively with the schools, we will start to see improvements.

    By Blogger Isis, at 11:07 AM, July 09, 2007  

  • So, Isis you don't think that some of the lazy ass teachers who don't care about Proviso students are at fault. You seem to place the blame on the parents. What about the corrupt school district that does not value education, but only jobs and contracts.

    Well, I guess if the parents raised enough hell then the majority board members and supt. would not be able to steal. I guess you do have a point. MY BAD!

    Field's four conerstones on Proviso's website pretty much explains who is responsible for the educating of our children. I just wish him and the majority board members would practice what they preach.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:14 PM, July 09, 2007  

  • Anonymous @ 3:14:

    Unfortunately, you are correcct. If you had enough parents that raised hell, things would be different.

    Not to draw a comparison that a school district is better, because sometimes too much is not a good thing...

    OPRF has generally had a decent reputation and student performances. One reason is that their parent contributions is HUGE. The number of parents clamoring to serve on committees and interest groups is outrageous. Sometimes that can get in the way of progress. For example, administrators may want to change a program or curriculum. Parent committees, teacher committees, administrators...all have to examine and have their say into what wants to be changed. Sometimes this can drag on too long.

    Don't get me wrong...I think there are teachers almost everywhere that need to keep current with teaching strategies and expectations in education. This school district is no exception.

    By Blogger Isis, at 9:26 PM, July 09, 2007  

  • Consider the following situation:

    You have a student who comes to class everyday and has no discipline problems. H/She is always organized and has all the materials needed for class.

    In class, the student is attentive, participates and completes all of the in-class work as well as homework assignments.

    The problem is that h/she isn't getting it. The homework isn't very good (let's say between a C/D), and quiz/test scores are a disaster. The student has come in for tutoring, but the overall grade is not passing.

    Sitting next to her is a joke of a student. Attendance sucks, homework turned in when he/she has it, and is rarely prepared with the correct materials. The student's grade is the same as the first student described.

    Do you feel that you are right in assigning both students an "F"?

    My point being is that standardized test scores have absolutely no relation to grades. I grade based on achievement made from the beginning of one quarter to the next. That first student would have received a "C" in my class. The second is an "F".

    Joe (3:58 on 07/05) hit it in the head when he said kids don't take standardized tests seriously.

    By Blogger Isis, at 8:47 AM, July 14, 2007  

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