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  • Thursday, August 29, 2013

     

    NCLB testing fiasco almost dead



    The Emperor has no clothes!!!!
    Dying gasp of state testing is a mixed bag of results for state and OUSD as California Superintendent finally acknowledges the truth

    The unrealistic goals of a the federally mandated testing system under No Child Left Behind continued to die a slow and painful death as the State of California released the latest numbers of its 2013 Standardized testing.

    The API (Academic Performance Index)  is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000. School and student group targets are set at 5 percent of the difference between the school or student group's Base API score (posted last May, along with school ranks) and the statewide target of 800, with a minimum target of 5 points. All numerically significant student groups at a school must meet their growth targets for a school to meet its API growth target.

    Across California, the overall API declined by 2 points from last year, from 791 to 789, although a number of student “subgroups” saw some gains.

     Like the state, Orange Unified’s numbers were a mixed bag with wide numerical swings.  Overall, 18 OUSD schools (51%) the API grew and API targets were met.  Three schools (9%) the API grew, but targets were not met. API scores declined in 14 (40%) of OUSD schools. ( see links below)

    This year’s results were the last true statewide results. Starting next school year, California will be on a “two test” system, with its largest and most struggling districts receiving a federal waiver to be removed from the California Department of Education system to create one of their own. In addition, a new standards regiment called “Common Core” will be introduced. The testing system for Common Core is under development. By all indications, the “Smarter Balance” testing system that “part” of California will be participating ( yes- there is no “national” test for the “almost” national Common Core) is far from developed, or ready to implement with current state facilities. 

    The federal  Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) performance targets for 2012-13 identify all Title I schools for Program Improvement unless nearly 90 percent of students attain proficiency.  When the impossible targets were made by Educrats and federally mandated in the No Child Left Behind law, top state officials embraced the targets, while teacher groups across the state called them unrealistic, arbitrary and flawed.

    Today with the release of the dismal California AYP, Tom Torlakson, the California State Superintendent of Public Education wrote in a uncharacteristically harsh Press Release today finally acknowledging what the Emperor’s people had long seen:

    “As expected, the unrealistic federal proficiency targets set under No Child Left Behind continued to identify an even larger number of schools, including many at or above the state's performance target, for Program Improvement (PI).

    ‘It is unfortunate that officials in Washington continue to enforce a program they have acknowledged is deeply flawed, and that paints too many high-achieving schools with the same broad brush,’  Torlakson said. ‘As an elected official, I'm obliged to comply with the law. But as a teacher, I'll continue to urge Congress and the Administration to get to work, change course, and replace No Child Left Behind with a workable law that fosters rather than hinders the progress California's schools are making’ “

     In this year’s California API results, only 14 percent out of 9,861 schools met the AYP benchmarks this year compared to 26 percent last year. Of the more than 6,200 Title I-funded schools, only 10 percent reached federal proficiency (Table 10).

    Among the California schools identified for Program Improvement (PI) , 30 percent have an API of 800 or higher. This year, 741 Title I (federal lower income identified) schools are new to Program Improvement and the bureaucratic hoops associated with that identification.  

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