Illinois HS Test Scores Tumble: I Blame Day Two

Illinois public high school reading scores take a dive Chicago Sun-Times
Illinois high school reading scores took their biggest tumble in at least five years...Chicago public school officials said CPS scores from day one of the
test, which is solely the ACT college admission test, were up. So they
blamed the high school drop on day two, when reading and math skills
needed in the workplace are tested.

State test scores sink to a new low Chicago Tribune
Statewide passing scores on the
Illinois high school achievement exams dropped to a new low.
..By comparison, the state's elementary school pupils showed improvement
in reading and math at every grade level on this year's state tests,
the data show.

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  • Julie,

    I certainly hope you're wrong on this. Having talked to fellow administrators in Ohio, Massachusetts, Tennesee and other places where graduation is tied to state tests performance, I continue to hear the horror stories on true high-stakes testing.

    Everyone has a tale of a hard working student, who, through sheer determiniation, has been a top student only to perform poorly on that test.

    Our policies make me happy to work in Illinois, a state that, even though we have a non-functioning government right now, does not have that hurtful graduation requirement.

    With the focus on attendance and achievement in classes taking top priority, it would be wrong to go back and give too much credence to a test.

  • The Business Roundtable type groups wouldn't be pushing this kind of high stakes testing if it weren't for the fact that they have no idea what they're getting if a student has a high school diploma. They're pretty sure the person will know how to read at a 6th grade level and write about the same, but that's about it. So they put an entry level job that some high school students could very well do with a college degree requirement because they're pretty sure that all college graduates will have the necessary skills.

    Why is it students can graduate from high school without having the ability to problem solve using simple mathematical techniques? Why can they graduate without the ability to absorb what they have read and ask critical questions about the material they have read? Why can they graduate without the ability to know the difference between how one may speak at home and how one is expected to speak at the office, where I came from this was stressed as at home we would occasionally drop an ain't or a double negative or a sentence fragment, but it was understood this was home speak, not professional speak. Why can a student graduate without a nodding acquaintance with great literature, at least so that one may get the literary allusions one may run across in life, but hopefully so that the passions of the student can be stirred by the great thinkers to which he is exposed.

    By the way, I don't see how any of that stuff is accomplished by the current wave of test prep mania, but it does describe what the BR sees as the problem.

    I went to high school 25 years ago in a small rural town in central IL. At the time, it spent far less $ per student than CPS did. Yet it managed to be a school system for every student. In high school, there were shop and ag classes for students interested in them; there were honors-level classes for those on a college prep track (we couldn't afford AP classes); there were accounting, typing, and business type courses for those students interested in them; and there were child rearing, nutritional and home ec type classes for those students interested in them. In that high school, I was exposed to Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Austin, London, Wilde, Dickens and many more. I studied the Depression and learned how many threads came together to cause it. I studied World War I and its run-up and learned to appreciate the reforms made in building the League of Nations. I learned how to form a sentence, and yes, diagram it so that I can easily see which case to use. I learned to speak really awful, yet useful Spanish. I learned many of the formulae of Mathematics (Algebra, Geometry, Trig, Calculus), and, more importantly, when to apply which one.

    This education enabled me to hit the ground running at Loyola.

    So when did we decide that today's students deserve less?

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