A few weeks ago, the Tennessee Department of Education released an early Christmas present: last year’s TNReady scores. In case you are not familiar with TNReady, it is Tennessee’s version of an annual standardized test. I know, you are probably like me and thinking, “What the hell good are scores from last year in the middle of December?” Releasing them now is just an offshoot of the multiple problems that Tennessee had with standardized testing last year. It’s really no surprise that they are just releasing them now, just in time for some holiday hand wringing.
According to Tennessean reporter Jason Gonzales, “Only 22.8 percent of all high school students are listed as on track or mastered reading in their grade level, and 12.2 percent are on track or mastered their grade level in math.” That means if I walk into a roomful of 100 students in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), only 23 of them will be reading on grade level and only 12 will be able to do adequate math. Hmmmm…. What about in neighboring Williamson County where they are known for their superior schools? Take that same room of 100 and only 41 will be able to read or do math on a grade level. Anything starting to smell a little fishy?
Think about this. We are giving kids a test where only 41% are deemed on track or better in our very best schools under the very best circumstances. What? If I showed up at your place of employment and gave you a test that less than 41% of the staff could pass, would you not raise questions about the validity of the assessment? So why are we not questioning the validity of these tests? Why are we instead wringing our hands, rending our garments, and blindly accepting that our kids are underperforming?
What if I showed up in a classroom of 6th graders and said that I believe running a 100-yard dash in under 9 seconds is essential to your success as a human being? We all Guarding Democracy « Dad Gone Wild: