Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Thursday, June 20, 2013

More problems with N.Y. testing privatization madness. T(est) for Texas

Columbia University's Teachers College held two Masters convocations on May 21. During the ceremonies students held up signs that read "I am not a number" and "not a test score."   Photo by George Joseph

From today's Daily News 
McGraw-Hill will pay overtime to teachers to work nights and weekends to catch up on grading the high school exams after a scanning glitch prevented the educators from scoring the tests soon after they were taken. The Education Department said that seniors who haven’t received their scores can still participate in graduation ceremonies, but won’t be able to immediately receive their diplomas. 
 The city awarded a three-year, $9.6 million contract to McGraw-Hill to run the operation — but the company failed to pick up the exams from a warehouse and upload them into a computer system to be scored on time.
This is the first year city teachers were barred from grading their own students’ Regents exams as part of a statewide effort to crack down on inflating scores.
Pearson rules 

In 2010, when the state, long known as a beacon for its strong curriculum standards, was formulating its new standardized “Common Core” program, lawmakers handed Pearson a, $32 million contract to administer tests, in addition to another $1 million for helping the state Education Department with testing services. Having seized control of standardized testing in states like New York, Pearson has also made its own costly textbooks essential for teachers under pressure to turn out high-test scores, thereby turning additional profits while transforming classrooms into Pearson test-prep centers.

Last month the city was considering severing ties with Pearson after it was revealed that the gaffe-prone agency made yet another scoring error on the entrance exams to gifted and talented programs that affected more than 300 students. Also, nearly 3,000 were told they did not qualify for such programs, only to later learn that they did.

T for Texas Testing 

But none of this has stopped Texas from agreeing to pay Pearson $90 million/year to run their state testing program, top-to-bottom. Texas’ $468 million contract with Pearson dwarfs the company’s contract with New York State by more than ten times. New York’s contract, also lasting five years, is worth a paltry $32 million.

By the time a current student in Texas public schools graduates, she will have taken at least fifteen standardized tests. This means Texas has the most frequently tested students in the nation.

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