But as noted here earlier this summer, sometimes the news on the scores goes beyond simplistic beatings (brow, public, dead horse) and actually explains something about the process.
For instance, look at this story in the little old Allentown Daily Call, in Allentown, PA. Really! Look at it, New Mexicans! The writer, Steve Esack, not only goes over the scores, but:
- Fully, yet concisely, explains "growth models" and how PA schools can now "pass" AYP;
- Has quotes from a variety of local & national folks on issues ranging from merit pay based on scores to the idea of using test scores to do anything;
- and, has a tricky, and very illuminating paraphrased quote::
State Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak said Thursday the growth model helped the numbers. He said it is a fairer assessment of student performance. Teachers and administrations should have ''no excuses'' for not moving all students toward (my emphasis) proficiency in math and reading by 2014 as the federal law mandates, he said.
''The growth model is a statistical way to show progress that is for real,'' he said.
Gotta love the use of the word "toward" there.
See! It can be done! A truly informative newspaper account of standardized testing and all in just over 1,000 words. I might be the only person in the whole state who is enthused to see a story like this, but my feeling, my deeply romantic and quite possibly naïve feeling, about this is that if every New Mexican involved in the process read, understood and thought about this single article we'd have a different SBA situation here by next Spring.
P.S.: Hey, I admitted it was quite possibly naïve. Just call me the John Lennon of Standardized Testing (you know, "You may say I'm a dreamer...."). No wait, the name John Lennon should in no way be juxtaposed anywhere near the term "standardized testing". That's just not right. And I don't even really like the Beatles. Sorry for the digression...just wash the expression "John Lennon of Standardized Testing" out of your brain right now...