Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CPPAC notes on testing

Dave Perda and Amanda Kershaw from the Data and Accountability 
Perda: this is "perhaps a transition year" on testing
PARCC could be a replacement for the MCAS; Board votes in the spring
"it can be helpful to take a look back"
retrospective: in 1994, state's requirement for graduation was one year of U.S. History and four years of gym (there were local requirements)
MEAP provided no results at school or student level, only at district level; were not connected to standards, as there were none
prior to MCAS, development of curriculum frameworks
first administration of MCAS was in 1998; class of 2003 was first to need to pass MCAS to graduate
"so here we are twenty years later and we're still talking about the same thing"
parent/guardian report from schools on MCAS results for each student taking the test, along with school level data
also information on student growth: student growth percentile 
comparison to your child's school, district, and state
item analysis on testing; breakdown of item by item on how your child did
Q: do they compare students and schools to where they should be?
Perda: MCAS is a standards-based test, thus compared to what each kid should know/be able to do
not a norm-referenced test, comparing student to population of test-takers
information about how schools are doing, as well: not just MCAS, graduation rates and dropout rates as well
"we all know that there are lots of other things that are condusive to a child education"
(test scores) "you gotta kind of take it with a grain of salt"
can be difficulty of interpretation when things are not standardized, so the test are at least that
School and district accountability system
"they have this complicated formula that look at all the different parts of MCAS in the school" computes the PPI: Progress and Performance Index
factors in the trends over time; also whether they met their target over the year
percentile for schools: if you're 20 or below, you're considered a Level 3 school (within your grade range)
"tell the community some crude numbers around the schools"
Q: these levels are a bit misleading...if I were a school and I were a B student, and I stayed a B student three years in a row, I could be a Level 2; a D student going up to a C- could be a Level 1. "too much weight put on these numbers"
"That's an important calculation includes student growth"
"The guidance documents for this are an inch think"
"If you're into it, look beyond this crude leveling system...look beyond the levels."
"the problem with any system is they just aren't perfect"
"You can get a better feel in your heart and in your gut by going into your child's school than you will by any of this."
Q: Is a better measurement SAT or MCAS?
Perda: "Or neither"
Doctors take lots of measurement when you go to the doctor; you need more information, this is just like taking your blood pressure.
More information on MCAS and released information on here
Q: trying to figure out how to get my son ready for PARCC
"They're kind of leaning that way"
"It's supposed to be an improvement on the MCAS, not everyone agrees. It's out there getting smacked around in the policy arena now."
Some of the thinking was that every state is doing their own thing, more or less, possibly not such a great idea; trying to get more kids taking the same assessment
Q: PARCC was originally supposed to be an online test. Access to technology limited. Online question doesn't translate to a paper question
Going to computers for kids with a lot of different issues, lot to ask a kid "who doesn't even know how to type yet" Is anyone seeing these issues?
Perda: yes, eventually will all be online.
Kershaw:  state needs to make sure the information is worth the time away from instruction
Q: will John & Abigail Adams scholarships still be tied to test scores if test changes?
You know what? We have no idea. I haven't even heard this question asked. Let's find out.
resources on PARCC 
making sure teachers know which standards are crucial
making sure teachers know which habits of thinking are stressed
Performance-based assessment in ELA assesses ability to analyze text and write effectively. In math, multi-step problems using abstract reasoning and strategy
End of year assessment in ELA will focus on reading comprehension. In math, ability to demonstate "further understanding of the major content and additional and supporting content of the grade level/course and demonstrate fluency (in applicable grades)."
"some students have trouble with all of these difference tools and all of these different options"
"they have to refine all of these different elements of the tests"
Q: "we do way too much some of this going to go away?"
"Worcester, A City that Reads never reads a novel in school."
"we need to look at the district's system of tests...and what do we use them for, and what are the trade-offs"

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