There’s nothing better than a conspiracy theory to help make it through the week so you can imagine my ears pricked up when this email about the mysterious lack of information about the spring ISAT scores came in the other day from an anonymous reader:
“Only a handful of scores were handed out in the entire system. This is July [well, almost] and the scores of the students were not even given out this year. The 3,6and 8th grade scores were given out of the summer school students with the scores of the past 2 years given. Is this because the Mayor does not want to reveal the student scores and use it for a tactic with the union? I believe that the scores were much higher than usual and not given out. Please look into this matter. Never has this happened before and the test was in March. You would think something is wrong or covered up. Where are they?”
Indeed, the ISATs were taken in March (see blog post about that here). The official ISAT scores for individual schools don’t come out until the fall after the spring that they’re given — late October. Statewide averages come out of the summer. But the preliminary scores do usually get sent to the schools to be checked in the spring, and again checked over the summer before they’re finalized. ISBE tells me that preliminary data were released earlier this month for a “correction window” that is apparently still open. And CPS has in the past released districtwide numbers ahead of time. (It was almost exactly a year ago that CPS released citywide ISAT 2011 scores — June 27, 2011 — and indeed there was some downplaying of the increases that took place.)
The reasons for such an attempt would be different now than they were then, but my guess is that the scores come out sometime soon and that we’re told to ignore them in some way, which will feel let’s admit it sort of strange after all those years of being told that test scores were all that mattered. I’ve asked CPS about the status of the ISAT 2012 announcement and will let you know when I get a response.