DPI’s “day of spin” is here

The NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will release state test scores today.  They have spent months working with/on the media and their sundry allies to lay the groundwork for today’s release.

Here are a few talking points you will hear this afternoon:

  • Standards are higher.
  • The tests measure “college and career readiness.”
  • Scores usually drop during the first year of a new testing program.
  • Despite lower scores, the student test score growth continued.
  • This has happened in the past.
  • Students will adapt to the “higher” standards and rise to the occasion in the future.
  • This is a transition year.
  • You cannot compare these scores to last year’s scores.
  • Other states have done the same thing.

I would ask the folks at DPI some simple questions:

  • Why have we waited decades to raise testing standards?
  • Why were you content to hold our students to low standards for so long?
  • How do you define “career and college readiness?”
  • Why does DPI feel the need to tinker with standards and tests every few years?  For example, DPI altered cut scores in 2005 (math) and 2007 (reading), only to revamp the tests in 2011.
  • Don’t you think it is a problem that frequent changes to the testing program have made it nearly impossible to examine longitudinal test score data?
  • Can you demonstrate, either qualitatively or quantitatively, that last year’s test questions were more challenging than those on past ones?

Terry Stoops / Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...

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