Monday, December 13, 2021

Surrender In Oregon

The state of Oregon has decided to ditch its proficiency* exam requirements for high school graduation. They're doing it to fight racism, don't you know.

The Oregon Legislative Assembly passed SB 744 which directs the Oregon Department of Education to review state requirements for high school diploma options, as well as to review state requirements related to demonstrations of proficiency in Essential Skills. Allowing for this review, students will not be required to show proficiency in Essential Skills as a condition of receiving a high school diploma during the 2021-2022, 2022-2023, and 2023-2024 school years.

Both lawmakers and ODE say rethinking graduation and diploma requirements is a matter of equity, and part of a broader effort to better support students from Oregon’s communities of color.

“Leaders from those communities have advocated time and again for equitable graduation standards, along with expanded learning opportunities and supports,” wrote ODE officials in a message to OPB.

While lawmakers did not share Oregon-specific data or information to show that standardized testing is inequitable for students of color, national studies and research bear that out. Oregon test results — much like results in states across the country — show a persistent gap between the scores of white students on standardized tests, and scores of students who are Black or Latino.

Talk about throwing in the towel! This is total surrender.

The Republicans who blame the education system for poor performance are disingenuous at best. All they're doing is venting against the teachers' unions who hate them and donate like mad to the Democrats. It's not the evil educrats hurting the kids, it's the lack of traditional families. The vast majority of people involved in our school systems really love the kids and want them to succeed. They may be misguided blockheads and do evil out of ignorance, but they aren't trying to be bad.

To me, this looks like the teachers deciding they can't do anything with the raw material they're being given. If the kids aren't studying at home, if they aren't being taught discipline and self-control by their parents, there's not much the teachers can do to get them ready for those proficiency exams. Why hand your critics the stick to beat you with by making failure stats readily available? It's not like those kids are going anywhere anyway. They aren't going to become proficient no matter what you do, so why go down with them?

This is their raw material.

* - Note that the link leads you to an .aspx web page. I don't need to hear anything about proficiency from a pack of idiots who use Microsoft products to create their websites, thank you very much.


tim eisele said...

Looking at that link, it appears they have only been doing the Essential Skills testing since 2008, so only 13 years - just long enough for kids that were in kindergarten when they started, to be graduating high school now. This actually sounds like a good time to review whether the testing is doing any good, or is telling them anything they didn't already know.

I only vaguely remember this kind of testing from when I was a kid, filling in sheets of Scantron bubbles and then never hearing anything further about it. I don't remember it as being any sort of a big deal. Currently, my kids say they get these tests, but that the general opinion of both the other kids and the teachers is that they are basically an exercise in checking off boxes for the bureaucracy, and are mostly a waste of time.

K T Cat said...

From a scientist point of view, having widespread, objective data in any form is invaluable. When everyone is taking the same scantron test and you've got demographic data about each test-taker, you can do some real analysis. If you're just looking at grades, which are subjective and prone to fiddling so teachers don't have to retain a dozen or more kids, the data is so sketchy that it's probably worthless.

I'll believe the tests are worthless when I see some real, multivariate analysis run and the results are indistinguishable from random noise. Between now and then, this looks to me like abject surrender.

K T Cat said...

As a matter of fact, their rationalizations give the game away. They mention the nonsense word, "equity," precisely because they are seeing statistically significant differences in the results. Since it's a scantron test, they can't blame systemic racism. Instead, they're mumbling something about an unfair test while they hunt for the delete button on their keyboards.

Degeneracy, corruption or both? You decide.

Ohioan@Heart said...

They aren’t alone... California has some schools that are eliminating F’s and restricting the use of D’s. This of course will mean that all the kids get C’s, B’s, or A’s, so everyone will be ‘above average’ (just like in Lake Wobegon). Reference:

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