Maryland educators this month celebrated a major jump in test scores, with achievement gaps narrowing and pass rates rising six percentage points in reading and four points in math. Then skeptics crashed the party.
The revelation that this year's Maryland School Assessments were a half-hour shorter than last year's raised suspicions among researchers who thought the scores were too good to be true. Here, some thought, was the smoking pencil.
The episode illustrates a basic disagreement within the education community over why scores are rising across the nation since the 2002 enactment of No Child Left Behind, which sets a goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014: Are kids getting smarter, or are tests getting easier?
"The Congress has told governments and state school officials that all children must be magically proficient by 2014," said Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. "They're finding ways to make sure everybody creeps toward universal proficiency." ...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This from the Washington Post: