Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another Update to the Test?

State Superintendent Randy Dorn is apparently imagining yet another change to Washington's test.  It seems the Legislature "funded a report on the merits of formative testing"--tests done at the beginning of the learning.  So he wants to do more smaller tests through the year.

It took a study to figure out this was worth doing.  If you want to evaluate teachers based on scores, the only study necessary would have been to ask teachers.  They are desperate to have a baseline by which their impact on a student can be more accurately and usefully measured.

My district used to do this.  A one-day computer-based test that correlated pretty well with WASL/MSP strand content and score outcomes.  I could project MSP results based on our internal test results, and I could identify what students needed to work on by their results of early tests.  We abandoned that for lack of money.

Another aspect of this--we keep changing the test, always presuming it's the 'same' (if we're going to do a lot evaluating of teachers under the current testing structure, it will be across test years) throughout all the changes.  Consistency of the test instrument is part of 'standardized' also.  Not sure how safe it is to assume consistency will be maintained, though.

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