Thursday, October 4, 2007

Frenchification effort gaining steam?

As our curricula become more and more centralized, both in Washington State and around the country, the reason for the ironic development* is worth considering. Studies like The Fordham Institute's provide it:
Last week, the results of a national test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that Washington fourth- and eighth-graders score above average compared to their counterparts in other states.

This week, a new report shows Washington is again above average, this time in how it defines "proficiency" on its own tests, the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL.

A report released today by the Fordham Institute and the Northwest Evaluation Association says the WASL has a higher passing bar in reading and writing than the average in the 26 states examined. The exceptions were reading in grades 4, 5, and 8, where the WASL passing bar was below the 26-state average.

The report, called "The Proficiency Illusion," underscores the fact that proficiency in one state means something very different than it does in others — and sometimes from grade to grade within the same state.

"America is awash in achievement 'data,' " the report says, "yet the truth about our educational performance is far from transparent and trustworthy."
Even if you can quibble with this particular study's methodology, you have to grant that every state has its own assessment, and with nearly no coordination across states, there's absolutely no mechanism to ensure equity under the provisions of No Child Left Behind.

NCLB makes a national curriculum not only necessary, but inevitable.




*For the irony-deficient: Frenchification is brought to you by the same president who served up Freedom Fries.

1 comment:

Tom Hanson said...

I found the most interesting aspect of this discussion the comments of Michael Petrelli, the VP for policy at Fordham, that even though the math tests are harder, scores are improving more in math than in reading.

http://www.openeducation.net/2007/10/09/nclb-proficiency-illusion/

Tom Hanson
Editor
OpenEducation.net