Analysis: More "Disturbing" News About School Testing

The highest educational official in the state has called the recent revelations of testing problems "really disturbing"

By Gabe Pressman
|  Monday, May 14, 2012  |  Updated 9:41 AM EDT
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Analysis: More "Disturbing" News About School Testing

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Another school year is ending and there seems to be faint hope that the testing crisis will go away  soon -- not for the citizens of New York, nor the teachers nor the one million schoolchildren.

Over the last 12 months, there have been many revelations of improper testing of students.

Notably, Meryl Tisch, chancellor of the Board of  Regents, the highest educational official in the state, has just said that the increasing number of mistakes found on this year’s math and English tests is “really disturbing.”

Critics of the school system have made clear for a long time that they don’t trust the tests meant to
record progress or failure for the children. And now, we have an indictment of administrators and teachers by the highest official education official.

If Tisch doesn’t know, who would? Tisch, in a speech to Crain’s New York Business breakfast, said a series of mistakes made by the people entrusted with testing our children has shaken the faith of the people.

Said Tisch:  “It makes the public at large question the efficacy of the state testing system.”

The Board of Regents is entrusted with setting educational policy and Tisch has earned a reputation for honesty and integrity. I have always found her to be a straight shooter.

It seems clear that some major changes in the testing procedures are in order. At the end of the school year, our educators are still stumbling. There’s an aroma of incompetence and inefficiency in the air.

And then there’s the crisis over the “talking pineapple," first reported  by the Daily News.

It seems that eighth-grade students had to take an English test in which a talking pineapple was the star. This pineapple challenged a hare to a foot race and lost. The hare’s friends, other animals, cheered. The hare won. And the animals all ate the pineapple.
      
The state education commissioner, John King,  has barred the question.
       
He ought to question the tester, a company called Pearson, which is getting $32 million for five years to produce New York standardized tests.
        
Better, perhaps, that Pearson should go into the catering business and produce fruit salad for hares. 

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