Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Brag and an Observation

My 15-year-old son took some reading test or another at school yesterday. A computer-driven test, they got the results immediately. He got a 1700+. Since I have no idea what the test is or what the scoring scale is, I don't really have much of an idea what that score means. Except his teacher did say he'd never seen a score that high. My son has typically gotten very good scores on the various reading tests the school has given him. The test they took in middle school gave a percentile score, and his was typically in the high-90s, often 99th.

So, yesterday's test was to read a passage and then choose the best word (I think he said) to complete the sentence to make the best summary of the passage. I've not seen this particular (and quite specific) assessment tool, though I'm sure there's plenty of research-based evidence that using it is the best practice.

But what am I to make of all the data about my son? He had all these great scores, and for a few years of his school career he didn't do all that well on the one test that mattered--the WASL. Oh, he passed, but one year it was a little closer than I was comfortable with. And his score certainly was not in the 99th percentile.

How can I be sure that what the WASL (now Measurement of Student Progress) measures is really the important stuff to measure? How can I be sure that what all those other tests measured was the really important stuff?

I will elaborate in a forthcoming post.

No comments: