“Equipercentile equating” is fancy-talk for “don’t like the percentages of failing students? Lower the passing score.”
The New York Times recently covered the flap, in which a proficiency grade of 4 on written tests yielded “too many” failures but a grade of 3 magically gave the same results as last year: 81% of students passed. From the article:
Former Gov. Jeb Bush, who was in office from 1999 to 2007, put into effect what may be the most aggressive testing system in the country, and subsequent administrations have followed his lead. Test scores are used to determine which third graders must be retained and which high school students can graduate. They determine a school’s report card grade, from A to F, as well as which teachers and principals will get bonuses and which ones will be fired.
While it is unlikely that there will be significant changes any time soon, there are signs of cracks. Two weeks after the writing results were announced, Broward County, the sixth-biggest school district in the nation, became one of 10 in Florida to pass the National Resolution on High Stakes Testing, calling for a reduced role of standardized tests in public education.
In Florida, public disgruntlement and lack of confidence in the state standardized test, the FCAT, is at an all-time low. Around the nation, more than one hundred Texas school districts have voted to reject high-stakes standardized testing. Parents are opting their children out of tests to deny states and testing companies data with which to fail students or fire teachers.
How long before the rebellion turns to the Adequate Yearly Progress provision of No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top?