Test Scores in State Schools
Now that the Stanford 9 test scores are available to the public (July 1, June 30), those of us who teach in L.A.'s public schools are preparing for another round of teacher-school bashing. Test scores only up 1%? How can that be, when we’re pouring millions into the schools? After all, class sizes are 20-to-1. (Never mind that those children who benefited from 20-1 in elementary school are 11 years away from graduating.) Only 1% when we’ve mandated textbooks for every student in every class! (Never mind that they haven’t arrived and we’ve spent years with not enough textbooks for everyone and outdated books for many.)
The Stanford 9 is a norm referenced test, which means that students are not measured by what they can do, but by how they do in relation to their peers across the country. If all schools work with students and improve what they know and are able to do, the test scores will not rise to reflect that gain. Fifty percent will always be considered better than average and 50% will always be considered below average. Perhaps we should grade students on what they can do and not on what their peers can do. Only then will we know if our students are improving.
* If we want an explanation for the deplorable state of public education in California, look no further than the comments of State Supt. of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin. The Stanford 9 test results of basic skills revealed that in only 12 of 43 grade level and subject combinations did more than half of our students score above the national average. To make matters worse, these results reflect the scores of English-fluent students only.
Eastin’s response? These scores should now quell talk of alternatives to public education! I am certain that all concerned parents feel quite the opposite.
RIC C. OTTAIANO