Saturday, September 15, 2007

Grasmick to Change HSA's Again!

According to an article in te Washington Post...

Beginning in May 2009, the Maryland school system will phase out "brief constructed responses" and "extended constructed responses" -- questions requiring a short or long written answer -- from its four tests covering algebra, English, biology and government, said Ronald A. Peiffer, the state's deputy superintendent for academic policy.

Read more HERE


im1ru2 said...

Rather than facing the fact that yes, some students just should not be receiving a high school diploma because they did not pass the require test, the test our teachers have received nice pay raises and pensions for I might add, and test that students have been studying for and are not grade level and have more than one, two, three chances to take, now the state of Maryland wants to change the rules and say, never mind, everyone will get a diploma!

Why not just do away with testing altogether? Why punish the kids who actually study and do well? I am not saying kids who don't pass these test don't always study or try but I am saying they don't deserve the same as the kids who do pass the test. That is the purpose behind the system of this thing we have called "pass/fail". You do one or the other.

When I study my child's spelling words with him every night starting on Monday evening, when it gets to Thursday night if he does not know some, most or any of them I don't write a note to the teacher or call him and say to cancel the test but to give him the 100% anyhow. Oh, but still give the test to everyone else and grade them the under the same stringent guidelines using the "pass/fail" system because he’ll use the bridge system thank you very much.

These same kids getting a free pass here will eventually have to leave this safe heaven we call our Maryland High Schools for the real world where competition for a paycheck; taking care of people for a living; law enforcement and safety; research; medicine; and even education will demand that they "pass/fail" on a daily basis on the FIRST TRY!

What we are teaching them now is not helping them but only hurting them. Sometimes we have to cry with our kids to show them how much we love them. This is one of those times folks.

Jennifer Abell said...

OMG!! Are you residing in my head?
We are on the exact same page with this, my thoughts all the way.
There must be a minimum level of competentcy before we had these kids a piece of paper saying you EARNED a high school diploma. Afterall, once they get into the work force, no one is going to hand them a paycheck just for showing up, they have to EARN it!

im1ru2 said...

The following quote is what appeared in an article recently about the population shift in Charles County from Caucasian to African American:

"The school system's efforts to maintain and improve academic achievement appear to be working. A similar pattern is unfolding at the high school level, where an increasing percentage of students passed the High School Assessment in the two years since the state created the test, according to the county's data."

Well, now I am confused. All the running around to change the HSA testing requirements so soon after making them mandatory with this talk about Hillaryism and bridge building. So, which is it? Are we on track and getting better? And as legalbeagle stated in a recent blog -what race or skin color has to do with "brains" (I am paraphrasing here) is beyond me. So why then is it that everyone involved in education from the Top Administrators at the State and County levels to the Teacher in the classroom (not "everyone" as in "everyone", but as in the majority -and certainly as in those who are making the rules for sure!) trying to squash the HSAs?! If we ARE so on-track let the process created by those in charge and tasked to those in the education process, work its way through to fruition and let the diplomas fall where they may.

Or is it because, as stated in the same article just a few paragraphs later:
"Despite the measured improvement, however, the county's schools are not scoring as high as the region's top performers: Montgomery, Fairfax and Howard counties. In addition, SAT scores in Charles slipped in each of the past two years, as they did statewide."

So, here we go again. The tale of two stories. One from each side of the mouth - or brain, so to speak. Can the kids pass the grade - pun intended, sorry- or not, especially when the curriculum is structured to the test at the end of the road and the student has more than one attempt at passing? Or, will the kids not pass muster and be able to get into competitive colleges or college at all because the SATs can't be "taught" as a curriculum type course and truly tap into the students learned knowledge of 12 years?

We seem to keep having problems with the same issues over and over and it’s beginning to look like the proverbial hamster will never get off the wheel. The tragedy is that we aren’t talking about a hamster in a cage on a wheel – this is our future, our kids stuck in a system which refuses to budge because of self-interest, not theirs or their future, which should be paramount to everything.

All teachers are not bad and in fact most are excellent. Our Educational System is broken – the political part, the money part, the rules part. Start with wiping out the monopoly and opening up free choice and we can really start to IMMEDIATELY make huge positive differences in our education system. Why? Because eliminating the monopoly creates competition which makes the product(s) better which makes the suppliers better which makes the customers better supplied, usually at a better price or they find a better supplier with a better product for less cost. And when it comes to the competition for education the demand for quality of the product will be extremely high.