On Thursday, July 10 at 11:00 am ET, the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education (BBA) will hold a press call to discuss a new BBA memorandum that assesses achievement trends of District of Columbia Public (DCPS) students. Elaine Weiss, national coordinator of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, will provide an in-depth analysis of DCPS/OSSE claims that the percentage of students who are “proficient” and “advanced” by the standards of the DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS), the district’s standardized achievement test, has steadily grown. Using both publicly available and non-available DC-CAS data, as well as data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Weiss will show that the true pattern over recent years has been one of little actual progress and substantially widening achievement gaps. Weiss will also highlight important data to look for when DCPS releases the new student scores, and provide key questions to ask. This memo builds on last year’s Market-Oriented Reforms’ Rhetoric Trumps Reality, and will be followed by a full report after 2014 DC-CAS scores are released later this month.
For the past several years, the Office of the State Superintendent for the District of Columbia (OSSE), has released new numbers on the percentage of students who are “proficient” and “advanced” by the standards of the DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS), the district’s standardized achievement test. Only selected numbers are released, and DCPS uses them to claim gains in proficiency and progress in closing large achievement gaps. However, the DC-CAS scores are manipulated in ways that make it impossible to understand how raw scores—the number of correct answers on the tests—are translated into scale and “cut” scores—levels of Basic, Proficient, and Advanced – and thus what and how much students are actually learning. Moreover, many key data points and other information are concealed to avoid any bad news.
This memo will illustrate, via an example in a high-profile district, the types of conflicts and problems that inevitably arise when undue pressure is put on student standardized tests. Our hope is that shedding light on the consequences of poorly conceived federal policies, misguided philanthropic contributions, and other pressure will spur a balanced and thoughtful discussion of more effective strategies that would boost all students and their communities, rather than sustaining and exacerbating existing disparities.
To RSVP, email Donte Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Press call on real vs. claimed achievement trends among DCPS students
Who: Elaine Weiss, national coordinator of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education
When: Thursday, July 10th at 11:00 a.m. ET
Call-in number: 1-800-311-9403