previous | next
59>> perf based testing
58>> writer for wash times writes
57>> perf based assessment and title 1
56>> some problems but not worthless
55>> ealr movement will destroy middle and high schools
54>> battle achieve
53>> roots of obe
52>> tests should not drive content
51>> another desparate washington parent
50>> the only one who is sane in Washington
49>> wash stw
48>> Clifford says 20% pass is OK
47>> Lynn Stuter on private ed
46>> black asian IQ
45>> state placement test
44>> rick jennings
43>> roots of reform
42>> everything has to be creative
41>> ed reform is good, period
40>> what's the problem
39>> reform
38>> reform
37>> reform
36>> math central
35>> more problems with math
34>> Chicago math disaster
33>> grading based on WA assessment would drive them crazy
32>> UN and School To Work logo
31>> thanks, keep it up
30>> gifted
29>> forwarded
28>> chair of math committee
27>> hu has a strong point
26>> questions are way out of reach
25>> message to gordon ensign
24>> Bracey Report
23>> Gov Lock responds to test
22>> wacko test
21>> stanford guy
20>> social studies standards are off too
19>> open court and orton
18>> stuter motto
17>> math reform goals - statistics
16>> WA math mailing list
15>> whats wrong with 55th percentile
14>> Terra Nova CTBS-9 test
13>> new test
12>> great expectations
11>> like year round, but test scores aren't better
10>> Teacher reads Great Expectations because students can't
9> Christian Science Monitor
8>> in the trenches at mostly black school
7>> kozol
6>> Doug Carnine is speaking in Illinois
5>> discrete math
4>> leader to promote TVAAAS
3>> response to test criticism
2>> Bergeson - grading to essential learnings?
1>> Oregon test




1>>


Date sent:        Wed, 1 Apr 1998 22:49:24 -0800 (PST)
To:               arthurhu@halcyon.com
From:             Caleb Burns 
Subject:          Re: Attacking CIM/CAM on test construction basis


Arthur -- your stuff has never consisted of ranting. You are focused on
important problems and you do it well. Very well.


We agree with the nonsense but I don't think that education test
constructionists, psychologists, etc., have regularly looked at the basic
steps of creating a tests. 


I'm just trying to make it a tad more obvious.


Keep up the great work! (Come down to Portland and I'd be happy to buy you
dinner!)




Yours,


Caleb Burns, Portland, Oregon


calebb@teleport.com




For general ideas to improve things, please see:
http://www.teleport.com/~calebb/


2>>
Date sent:        Wed, 01 Apr 1998 21:22:20 -0500
To:               cjo@ior.com
From:             Cindy Omlin 
Subject:          Grade Inflation/Terry Bergeson


Sender: owner-wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu


Mr. Rick Jennings,


Did you happen to see the article regarding grade inflation in the

Sunday Herald Republic?  It included a quote from Terry Bergeson that I
would like to understand.  The author asked if the new standards might
change grading standards.  Ms. Bergeson replied that teachers would not
be required to grade based on the essential learnings because that would
"drive them crazy."  Yet SPI will be determining high school graduation
from scores on a test that is written to evaluate how well students have
mastered the essential learnings.  Any response to this?


James H. Klarich
Toppenish High School


The test does NOT test essential learnings,
it is absolutely not compliant with the
essential learnings benchmarks, especially
in math. The chair of the CSL that created the
test could not verify that the test matched
the benchmark, and could NOT dispute my
contention that independent probability was
obviously set at 10th grade level. As long
as the committee approved it, it didn't matter


I also just talked with Jeff Estes, who was in
on the benchmarking process, he said that the
test questions came to the committees with
the assumpt that they were ALREADY compliant
with the benchmarks when they were created by
the test company. No one checked to see if
the test company created questions that matched
the benchmarks. This is why the 4th grade
sample test asks about independent probability,
ratios, proportionality, lengthx width, etc.
that appear only at 7th and 10th grade
bench marks.


Terry Bergeson always says "of course we are
doing the sensible thing". She has never admitted
to error in ed reform, and always says that we
won't repeat the mistakes of other states.


> Date:          Wed, 01 Apr 1998 21:22:20 -0500
> To:            cjo@ior.com
> From:          Cindy Omlin 
> Subject:       Grade Inflation/Terry Bergeson


> Sender: owner-wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu
> 
> Mr. Rick Jennings,
> 
> Did you happen to see the article regarding grade inflation in the
> Sunday Herald Republic?  It included a quote from Terry Bergeson that I
> would like to understand.  The author asked if the new standards might
> change grading standards.  Ms. Bergeson replied that teachers would not
> be required to grade based on the essential learnings because that would
> "drive them crazy."  Yet SPI will be determining high school graduation
> from scores on a test that is written to evaluate how well students have
> mastered the essential learnings.  Any response to this?
> 
> James H. Klarich
> Toppenish High School
> 


3>>
\Arthur Hu responds..




Thanks for the forward, comments follow, please
forward to any listservers or loops...






> Date:          Thu, 02 Apr 1998 20:22:08 -0500
> To:            styer@aloha.net, Lkdesire@msn.com, Corativo@juno.com, gclark21@juno.com,
>                solideo@juno.com, jimr@boink.net, rodshinn@juno.com, goatsnus@aol.com,
>                sitler@plix.com, lmstuter@icehouse.net, edmoats@juno.com,
>                rlbjr@worldnet.att.net, turbyfil@e-z.net, cheral@cio.net,
>                jackp@ptta.org, kathyO@ieway.com, schinds@cet.com,
>                mkschafer@odessaoffice.com, coffee@BigFoot.com, paver@ior.com,
>                arthurhu@mail1.halcyon.com
> From:          Cindy Omlin 
> Subject:       Math/Science Dialogue on Ed Reform


> Dear "Ed Buds": If you are sick of listening in on this dialogue of
> math/science teachers on education reform, let me know and I'll stop
> sending.  --Cindy
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------------
> 
> From: Conn McQuinn 
> Subject: Re: State Assessment Analysis
> Sender: owner-wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu
> 
> I've waited for someone to respond to this.  In the absence of any other
> comments, I'll give my brief thoughts.
> 
> Mr. Hu attempts to use sheer volume to hide a severe lack of understanding
> of the topic at hand.  I don't have time to wade through and respond to
> every point, but I will pick a representative few.


Beat the heck of the deafening silence when
the press refuses to air ANY criticisms of 
this "brave new" education reform movement.




> >
> >
> >What's wrong with the new "performance based" tests?
> >
> >
> >*  Expense Alternative assessments are much more expensive
> 
> I don't find this point relevant.  If norm-referenced tests don't tell us
> what we need to know, then they are a waste of money under any circumstance.


The original reason for adding testing is that it
is a cheap way to get accountability. When it is no longer
cheap, you have to ask yourself why you're doing it in the
first place. Essay tests were common 100 years ago, but they
were too expensive to give to everybody everywhere. That's
why they were replaced by machine-scored multiple choice
tests.




> 
> >*  Unreliable They are much less reliable in terms of scoring since grading
> >is subjective on free response questions...
> 
> The scoring system for the assessments currently in place or being tested
> are far from unreliable.  The people that score the tests use very specific
> rubrics, and undergo fairly rigorous training.  During the scoring process,
> the scoring company slips control tests into the regular tests, looking to
> see if there is any variance between the scoring personnel.  If anyone is
> scoring papers any differently than the other scorers (we're talking no
> variance allowed), they are re-trained.


No amount of training, rubrics, cross-checking blah blah blah
is going to match the precision of problems that are either
right or wrong, scored by machine, where repeatability is 100%.
No manual scoring system can be even close to 100% similar, the
ONLY claims I've seen (and I haven't been able to track down
ANY hard numbers because, evidently there AREN'T ANY hard
numbers) is Tucker claiming that there is "85%" correlation.


Are you going to stack your child's diploma on scores that are
15% unreliable???


 
> >* Inappropriate for Large Scale Assessment They are not suitable for large
> >scale assessment because of cost and reliability probems.
> 


Study by Sanders and other critics of performance based
testing conclude this. Also was the conclusion of the audit
of Kentucky KIRIS. These tests are designed for and by
politicians, not professsional testing people trained to produce
statistically valid, rather than politically correct
tests.




> 
> >* Rankings are Exactly the Same As Traditional Tests They come up with
> >exactly the same rankings as norm-referenced tests.
> 
> This is one of the internal inconsistencies in Mr. Hu's arguments.  Here he
> says that the problem is the results are the same, whereas in his
> introduction he states "I am really disturbed that no one in the education
> business questioned theidea that a test that 80% of students "flunked"
> wasn't too hard..."
> 
> So, on the one hand he doesn't like because the results are different, yet
> later he doesn't like them because they aren't any different.


Answer the charge. How can the test be "different" when the
resulting rankings are exactly the same? The only difference
is the implicit interpretations of absolute scores, 50% median,
which is "acceptable" for most people is equal to "1" or
does not know anything on the 4th grade assessment. I'm upset
that people are taking the bait, hook, line and sinker when,
bottom line, it's 50th percentile national median / internationally
leading performance. It's a sham. See below on TIMSS.


> 
> >* No Standard for Proficiency Every state recruits its own committee of
> >teachers, parents, industry, blah to determine what is good enough, but
> >there is no way to standardize just how good is good enough. No way to
> >compare to other states. How can CIM be based on proficiency if nobody
> >agrees on what is proficient, or some states decide a bar that 90% or only
> >10% passes is good enough? How can you compare "50% proficient" in WA
> >writing with "30% proficient" in Colorado? Or a Ore CIM with one from WA
> >when there is no percentile ranking given?
> 
> Norm reference tests are better?  What does it mean if Washington students
> score in the 55th percentile, and Colorado students score in the 56th?  If
> the population of students as a whole is doing poorly, what importance is
> it that some are better than average?


When percentiles are based on a national norm, they can easily be 
compared. The 1-4 scales are worthless because every state has 
different standards, and standards aren't and can't even be 
consistent from year to year in the same state. Having a 1-4 scale
that ranks the 50th percentile MEDIAN as a "1" knows nothing 
and having an education industry where 95% agree that's a good
measure PROVES what a bunch of idiots are running out education
system. That's not even counting the fact that 95% approve of a
test where 40% of the test requires basic skills found only at
the 7th and 10th grade benchmarks (proportionality, rate and ratio,
independent probabilility, area = length x width etc.)


> 
> If we have a norm-referenced test for swimming, and all the students drown,
> do we care that some made it half-way?
> 


There is NO absolute measurement for grade level math ability,
that's why IQ is measured on a curve, not an absolute scale.
The only thing that determines grade level is how far actual
kids actually perform. The moment EVERYBODY can perform at that
level is when you can raise the grade level. This process 
assumes you can arbitrarily raise the level to some level that
some committee decides "every student should learn", and that
performance will magically follow.




> >* Low "proficiency" levels can hide low norm-referenced ranking" The
> >original goal of Outcome Based Education was to replace ranking with a
> >lower level of "proficiency" that all could attain. However, many of the
> >new tests are so difficult, even lower percentages of students are
> >"proficient" than are "over average", thus they fail not only traditional
> >but OBE goals as well as well.
> 
> Here's another one of those pesky internal inconsistincies.  First implies
> that the tests are bad because a) they're part of OBE, and he associates
> OBE with lowered standards, but b) the tests are too hard, which means they
> aren't even good OBE tests.
> 
> This part of his argument is based on his rather fanciful definition of
> OBE.  He later states that
> >They test for a lot of things that
> >are NOT basic skills that are supposed to be taught at the grade levels.
> >True Outcome Based Education says the important outcomes are not math or
> >verbal skills, but "being a quality producer", "responsible citizen that
> >appreciates diversity", "life-long learner" etc. Thus, new tests are
> >neccesary for the new "dumbed down" curriculum that does not require
> >memorization of facts, formulas, and methods. "
> 
> There are several cognitively challenged comments imbedded in these few
> sentences.  First, there is no "True Outcome Based Education."  This is an
> educational strategy, not a church.  Secondly, while the mush-minded
> outcomes he lists have indeed shown up in some OBE goals in some areas,
> they are not the goals here in Washington state.  They don't matter here.
> They're not our goals.  They have nothing to do with our assessment. Red
> herring.


OBE is indeed one confused beast. At least one definition of
"Performance Based Education", which is the official term for
WA reforms says it is founded on the works of Spady, which is
THE definition of OBE. The original 1993 plan was written with
the assistance of Marc Tucker, America's unelected Secretary Of
Outcome Based Education.


What reformers are doing is saying that
we have to drop norm-refernced tests because they are unfair
to low performers, and then they give a test that is even 
harder on low-performers, just as hard as IQ tests. For pete's
sake, we're talking about a 97% failure rate for minorities, and
that's GOOD???


> 
> >*  Unneccesary To Test "Higher Order Thinking" Norm referenced tests also
> >test for higher order thinking at much lower cost.
> 
> Since a norm-referenced test typically only measures the result of a
> child's thinking, I find this idea a stretch.  However, if a
> norm-referenced test can measure higher-order thinking skills, than a
> criterion-referenced test can as well.  It's a simple matter of design.
> 


Norm referenced test require as much or more high level thinking.
Anyone who believes that the SAT is a test of guessing skills is
a fool. The chances of getting a perfect score by random chance
is literally 1 in 2 raised to the 60th. Work that out, it's a
pretty small chance. On the other hand, some of the WA questions
REQUIRE guessing between equally valid answers. What the heck is
the idea behind that?




> >*  Race and Economic Gaps are Even Larger The theory is that multiple
> >choice questions are biased against minorities and the poor, and they they
> >"underestimate" their abilities and multiple intelligences. But racial and
> >income gaps are even larger for performance based tests, just as large as
> >IQ tests in the case of the WA assessment (0.6 Standard Deviation lower =
> >90 IQ, or widely quoted average for non-southern blacks). This is because
> >the level of difficulty, or g-loading not cultural bias, is the main reason
> >for different scores. Free-responses and "higher order" problem solving are
> >much more difficult than multiple choice tests, no matter who scores the
> >results.
> 
> If the race and economic gap shown in the assessment is real, then
> measuring it is not a fault, it's a benefit.  How can we fix problems if we
> haven't documented them?  How can we say that norm-referenced tests are
> better because they hide a problem?


Then why junk norm referenced tests on the basis of racial bias and
replace them with a test with an even higher impact? These 
performance based tests are obviously designed with the political
goal of junking everything we know about valid testing in favor
of something more politically correct, but even the political
outcomes are worse. That's what's so funny about the test where
everyone should succeed, but everybody actually fails.




> 
> >*  "World-Class Standards" Give False Impression of Crisis and Failure They
> >falsely give an impression of a crisis when test results actually show
> >students are already world class.
> 
> I don't know what measure he's using.  In math and science, particularly at
> the secondary level, we still test at the bottom of the heap against the
> rest of the world.  He may find that acceptable; I don't.


The biggest secret in the world is that at the 4th grade, US
students were found to be near the top of the world ranking.
Since 50th percentile performance = 1 = knows nothing is equal
to 50th percentile on the CTBS and every other norm-referenced
test which puts WA students equal or better than national 
average, that means that a score of "1" on the WA is equal to
the best in the world. Now how in the hell can Bergeson go
around telling everybody we don't meet world standards when
world standards says a "1" is just fine???


> 
> >*  Requires Overhaul to Curriculum to Teach Skills Sought by Test Most
> >curriculums teach basic skills, not problem solving, or answering problems
> >with open-ended essay responses. Standards are set without regard to what
> >most curriculums currently teach. Traditional tests measure how effective
> >schools are in teaching basic skills. The new tests attempt to redefine
> >what should be taught.
> 
> Yes, that's the whole point.  We ARE redefining what should be taught.
> That's why we have the new assessments.


Yes, Yes, Yes. The purpose of an assessment is to assess, not
drive reform. That's the whole problem when people accept without
questioning an asessment that DELIBERATELY test students what
they have not been taught. The CTBS and similar tests are designed
to teach what has been contained in every commonly used 4th grade
textbook for the past 30 years. The WA assessment contains 
questions virtually guaranteed NOT to be contained in any text
book in print or even in proposal. And if there aren't any
textbooks, how in the heck are schools supposed to align their
curriculums to it? And when it's not even aligned with benchmarks
that tag the test at the 7th and 10th grade levels??




> 
> >*  Deceptive Front for OBE and national restructuring movment These tests
> >are deceptively promoted as being locally controlled, with no mention of
> >Outcome Based Education.
> 

> He's already noted that we don't match with his definition of OBE (which is
> completely nonsensical, anyway).  If we don't match with this Dark Force,
> then how can ed reform be a front for it?


OBE in any form is OBE, and it's all just as bad an idea as every
other dream of a classless society. The test is different, yet 
exactly the same as tests in every other state where they warn
that test scores will be low, but will soon pass everybody. It's
all based on 1992 Tucker's master plan.




> 
> >* Forces Conformance to Risky, Unproven Standards It's one thing to enforce
> >a high level of existing, proven standards. It's quite another to propose
> >to completely change the fundamental values and framework of education, and
> >then create a completely new set of unproven standards to impose upon a
> >system that largely works for most students.
> 
> I have just one question -- what "proven standards"?


The curriculum we have has been proven to yield 50th percentile
average results. The new whole-language and new-new math 
programs are the ONLY programs that have been shown to take
85-90th percentile students and make them perform at 50-60th
percentile performance on basic skills. Even carefully
managed studies, the best they can claim is "slightly better"
results.


You might not like the way students are performing now, but
it could be a lot worse, and if the reforms go through that's
what we are going to get.




> 
> I wish that I had time to work through some of the other parts of this
> document, but perhaps someone else will add their comments to the mix.
> Even though most of what is written is clearly wrong, I think it's
> important to read and discuss because, unfortunately, there are a lot of
> people out there who believe it.
> 
> Conn


That's what's wrong with the ed system when it's full of
body snatcher clone who literally, can't think critically when
they look at bold new reforms.




> 
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> ~~         Conn McQuinn, Manager of Technology Learning         ~~
> ~~  Puget Sound ESD                             (206) 439-6903  ~~
> ~~  400 SW 152nd                            fax (206) 439-3961  ~~
> ~~  Seattle, WA 98166                cmcquinn@psesd.wednet.edu  ~~
> ~~              Technology is something people do.              ~~
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> 
>


Date sent:        Fri, 3 Apr 1998 12:15:36 -0700
To:               arthurhu@halcyon.com
From:             Conn McQuinn 
Subject:          Re: Reply to Hu criticism of assessment
Copies to:        styer@aloha.net, Lkdesire@msn.com, Corativo@juno.com, gclark21@juno.com,
        solideo@juno.com, jimr@boink.net, rodshinn@juno.com, goatsnus@aol.com,
        sitler@plix.com, lmstuter@icehouse.net, edmoats@juno.com,
        rlbjr@worldnet.att.net, turbyfil@e-z.net, cheral@cio.net,
        jackp@ptta.org, kathyO@ieway.com, schinds@cet.com,
        mkschafer@odessaoffice.com, coffee@BigFoot.com, paver@ior.com,
        arthurhu@mail1.halcyon.com, Cindy Omlin 


Dear Mr. Hu -


I've responded to some of your comments below.  I still feel you're not
seeing what educators are trying to accomplish, and I don't think I'll be
able to change your viewpoint with my comments.  I appreciate anyone who is
spending their energies for the betterment of education; I just wish we
could agree as to what that is.


Conn


>Arthur Hu responds..

>






>The original reason for adding testing is that it
>is a cheap way to get accountability. When it is no longer
>cheap, you have to ask yourself why you're doing it in the
>first place. Essay tests were common 100 years ago, but they
>were too expensive to give to everybody everywhere. That's
>why they were replaced by machine-scored multiple choice
>tests.
>
The original reason for adding testing is to see if children are learning.
If we moved to multiple choice because it's cheap, without considering
whether they're effective, then we're off on a tangent.  The first question
we need to ask is "Does the testing reveal what we want to know about
student learning?"  THEN finding the cheapest means is appropriate.
Starting from the cost and working out is not.


>
>No amount of training, rubrics, cross-checking blah blah blah
>is going to match the precision of problems that are either
>right or wrong, scored by machine, where repeatability is 100%.
>No manual scoring system can be even close to 100% similar, the
>ONLY claims I've seen (and I haven't been able to track down
>ANY hard numbers because, evidently there AREN'T ANY hard
>numbers) is Tucker claiming that there is "85%" correlation.


You may contact the NCS company regarding the reliability of the tests they
are scoring for Washington state.  Nobody else's scoring reliability is
relevant; we're talking about OUR tests, not theirs.  NCS, as stated in the
previous comments, regularly (secretly) tests the reliability of their
teams of scorers.  Anything less than 100% agreement is flagged, and any
scorer varies from the standard is first retrained; if they still fall
outside the standard, they are fired.


>Are you going to stack your child's diploma on scores that are

>15% unreliable???


See above.  I'd still rather have them dependent on a test that measures
what I think is important than an extremely accurate test that measures
data that I don't care about.  It doesn't matter to me if she does better
than 85% of the population; I only care about how well she can compute,
read, and write as measured against an objective standard.
>
>
>Study by Sanders and other critics of performance based
>testing conclude this. Also was the conclusion of the audit
>of Kentucky KIRIS. These tests are designed for and by
>politicians, not professsional testing people trained to produce
>statistically valid, rather than politically correct
>tests.


This is not Kentucky, and our tests have been designed by professional
testing people.  If you want to criticize our tests, do your homework.
>
>
>Answer the charge. How can the test be "different" when the
>resulting rankings are exactly the same? The only difference
>is the implicit interpretations of absolute scores, 50% median,
>which is "acceptable" for most people is equal to "1" or
>does not know anything on the 4th grade assessment. I'm upset
>that people are taking the bait, hook, line and sinker when,
>bottom line, it's 50th percentile national median / internationally
>leading performance. It's a sham. See below on TIMSS.


To be honest, I can't understand your point here.  The rankings are not the
same.  You seem to be of the understanding that the "1" score on the tests
is set at the 50% median.  I have not encountered this idea before; it may
be true somewhere else.  However, it is not part of the Washington state
testing program.  The tests are set against the benchmarks developed here
in our state.  They are objective goals, not tied into norm references per
se.  They are based on research as to what students are capable of doing.
Time and again it has been demonstrated that the higher the expectations
given students and teachers, the higher students can achieve.


If we simply make a goal of being above average, what do we focus on during
the day-to-day teaching in the classroom?  There is no objective goal for
teachers and students to look at to measure their progress.  They have to
wait for a once-a-year test, which doesn't even truly measure competency,
it only measure their ranking against others.


If people find 50% median acceptable, then they don't understand what
testing is all about.  For instance, we live in a society where many people
are overweight.  If I am satisfied to keep my weight at the median, then I
am lulling myself into a false sense of security.  It is much more healthy
to know the objective weight goal for my height, and ignore where I fall in
the curve.
>>
>
>When percentiles are based on a national norm, they can easily be
>compared. The 1-4 scales are worthless because every state has
>different standards, and standards aren't and can't even be
>consistent from year to year in the same state. Having a 1-4 scale
>that ranks the 50th percentile MEDIAN as a "1" knows nothing
>and having an education industry where 95% agree that's a good
>measure PROVES what a bunch of idiots are running out education
>system. That's not even counting the fact that 95% approve of a
>test where 40% of the test requires basic skills found only at
>the 7th and 10th grade benchmarks (proportionality, rate and ratio,
>independent probabilility, area = length x width etc.)
>


Again, the "national norm" is a meaningless measure.  I don't care that
much about how my students do against other states; I care if they have
reached their educational objectives.  I care if my blood cholesterol stays
below 200; I don't much care how that compares to folks in Wyoming.




>There is NO absolute measurement for grade level math ability,
>that's why IQ is measured on a curve, not an absolute scale.
>The only thing that determines grade level is how far actual
>kids actually perform. The moment EVERYBODY can perform at that
>level is when you can raise the grade level. This process
>assumes you can arbitrarily raise the level to some level that
>some committee decides "every student should learn", and that
>performance will magically follow.


Well, as stated before, it works.  Check out the work of Levy from Stanford
and his "Accelerated Schools Program", just to name one research-proven
project.


You keep getting the assessment-cart before the curriculum-horse.  The
whole point here is that criterion-based assessment supports an approach to
education that we can define what students can achieve at a grade level.
This allows us to plan and organize our curriculum to reach specific,
pre-defined performance goals for students.


As of this moment in time, there is no such consistency in our schools.
Every third grade classroom in every school is pursuing a wide variety of
goals.  Norm-referenced tests tell us how those students are doing compared
to peers across the country in certain areas.  So what?  Even if they all
rank in the 90th percentile, does that tell us, in objective terms, that
they are learning all they can or should?


Research-based criteria will tell us.  You seem concerned that so many
students did poorly the first time around on the test.  That is to be
expected; the curriculum has not been put in place yet.  That doesn't make
the assessment -- or the students -- a failure.  It means there is work to
do.  Using the blood cholesterol example again, if my doctor finds that my
count is 50 points too high, he doesn't reject the test, or tell me that

I'm as good as dead.  He gives me a goal and strategies to reach the goal.


Are the goals we set for the students arbitrary?  No, they're based on
research.  They are grounded in objective reality.
>
>
>OBE is indeed one confused beast. At least one definition of
>"Performance Based Education", which is the official term for
>WA reforms says it is founded on the works of Spady, which is
>THE definition of OBE. The original 1993 plan was written with
>the assistance of Marc Tucker, America's unelected Secretary Of
>Outcome Based Education.


Your own language concurs with my statement.  "At least one definition..."
agrees with the idea that there is no one definition.  "...is founded
on..." means influenced by.  You still imply that there is something
inherently wrong with OBE, which is apparently based on a definition of OBE
that is not accurate.  Even if there were something wrong, the only points
that are relevant are those that are in Washington's system.  The fact that
Spady was a consultant isn't relevant; only what actually entered our
system is.  And nothing you have held up as a problem with OBE is.


>
>What reformers are doing is saying that
>we have to drop norm-refernced tests because they are unfair
>to low performers, and then they give a test that is even
>harder on low-performers, just as hard as IQ tests. For pete's
>sake, we're talking about a 97% failure rate for minorities, and
>that's GOOD???
>


You're mixing arguments.  Criticisms against norm-referenced tests
regarding minorities isn't due to the norm-referencing; it's about the
structure of the tests themselves, and the allegedly skewed results due to
cultural bias.  This is an entirely different issue.


If 97% of minorities test having blood cholesterol that's too high, do we
get upset about the blood test, or do we seek to find ways to help people
improve their health?


If norm-referenced tests hide the fact that our system isn't effectively
teaching minorities, that's a benefit?




>The biggest secret in the world is that at the 4th grade, US
>students were found to be near the top of the world ranking.
>Since 50th percentile performance = 1 = knows nothing is equal
>to 50th percentile on the CTBS and every other norm-referenced
>test which puts WA students equal or better than national
>average, that means that a score of "1" on the WA is equal to
>the best in the world. Now how in the hell can Bergeson go
>around telling everybody we don't meet world standards when
>world standards says a "1" is just fine???
>


Yes, it's great that our 4th graders did so well on the international math
and science tests, and I wish more people knew about it.  However, to
reiterate, the state assessment has *not* set the "1" score to the 50th
percentile.  It is set to research-based, objective criteria.


However, at the upper grades, our achievement still ranks at the bottom.
It's not important that elementary kids do well if they have completely
lost that edge by the time they graduate.  The final result of their
education is what counts.


>
>Yes, Yes, Yes. The purpose of an assessment is to assess, not
>drive reform. That's the whole problem when people accept without
>questioning an asessment that DELIBERATELY test students what
>they have not been taught. The CTBS and similar tests are designed
>to teach what has been contained in every commonly used 4th grade
>textbook for the past 30 years. The WA assessment contains
>questions virtually guaranteed NOT to be contained in any text
>book in print or even in proposal. And if there aren't any
>textbooks, how in the heck are schools supposed to align their
>curriculums to it? And when it's not even aligned with benchmarks
>that tag the test at the 7th and 10th grade levels??
>


Again, some homework would help you here.  I've been down at the local
middle school looking at their new curriculum materials that quite
specifically address the benchmarks and assessments.  Washington state
didn't make these up out of thin air; just using math as an example, many
of the benchmarks are based on those developed by the national math
teachers's association (whose acronym slips my mind).  Virtually all math
textbooks and curriculum on the market or in development supports these
standards.  They support our benchmarks just fine.


>
>OBE in any form is OBE, and it's all just as bad an idea as every
>other dream of a classless society. The test is different, yet
>exactly the same as tests in every other state where they warn
>that test scores will be low, but will soon pass everybody. It's
>all based on 1992 Tucker's master plan.


I sense an ideological flavor to your comment here.  If you're going to
find a conspiracy under every rock, nothing I'm going to say is going to
dissuade you.


>
>The curriculum we have has been proven to yield 50th percentile
>average results. The new whole-language and new-new math
>programs are the ONLY programs that have been shown to take
>85-90th percentile students and make them perform at 50-60th
>percentile performance on basic skills. Even carefully
>managed studies, the best they can claim is "slightly better"
>results.


Mixing arguments again.  We're not talking about whole-language or "new-new
math".  Again, you are basing your measure of success on a very arbitrary
50th percentile measure.  My daughter could probably test in the 65th
percentile for speaking Japanese within her school, but she can do that by
virtue of knowing five words.  So what?


>
>You might not like the way students are performing now, but
>it could be a lot worse, and if the reforms go through that's
>what we are going to get.


So you're saying that we should not make attempts to improve a bad
situation for fear that it might not work?  Failure to plan is planning to
fail.  Making no effort to improve at all is the surest way to push our
children into the educational dustbin.




>That's what's wrong with the ed system when it's full of
>body snatcher clone who literally, can't think critically when
>they look at bold new reforms.
>


Actually, most of them are too busy doing their jobs to take the time to
respond.  If you think that everyone in the professional education field
thinks alike, then you haven't spent much time hanging around these folks.
The greatest level of agreement you're going to find right now, however, is
that our system is not performing as well as it can, and we need to decided
where it is we want to be ten years from now.  (Just like any business
would.)  That's what this is all about.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~         Conn McQuinn, Manager of Technology Learning         ~~
~~  Puget Sound ESD                             (206) 439-6903  ~~
~~  400 SW 152nd                            fax (206) 439-3961  ~~
~~  Seattle, WA 98166                cmcquinn@psesd.wednet.edu  ~~
~~              Technology is something people do.              ~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




You simply don't understand when you claim that
the "standard" was not set at the 50th percentile


Here's the results again


Washington Assessment of Student Learning
Grade 4 Spring 1997
Analysis by Arthur Hu Oct 20, 1997
Data: Office Washington State Superintendent of Instruction


Mathematics                                     
        Level                           
Group          1       2       3       4 Percentile
Total       46.3    28.9   14.95    6.85 50
            *****
Black       73.4    17.1     4.0     1.2 26


Level 1 -- Below Standard: This level denotes little or no
demonstration of the prerequisite knowledge and skills that are
fundamental for meeting the standard for grade


Note that 46.3% score at "1", which is approximately
the same as 50%, which is also the median. Median performance
for WA state measured by every other test ever given is equal
or better than national average, which is 50th percentile
on a national norm.


We have a testing system which did NOT intentionallyl
set the "standard" such that 50% know nothing, but by
chosing to state that this test proves how little our
children know, they only show how IGNORANT they are by
not noting that they have redefined "grade level" from 
the median 50th percentile to something arbitrarily set
by a bunch of misguided committees who think that 
independent probability and proportionality is just 
peachy for a 4th grade test. The very fact that the
test was "piloted" with exactly such results without
any determination of a problem proves that there is a
problem with the system.


The fact that YOU don't have
a problem with the test even though I've just told you
that independent probability IS on the test, and you've
and it's
specifically mentioned in the 10th grade benchmark is
indicative of this problem. 


You have also 
just told me that you don't care if the current standard
of performance is just as good or better than any other
nation in the world, and you don't think that a 90th
percentile score is a good indication of high performance
when every top ranked school in the state is an 85 or
above, and every school with scores that high has a
good reputation.


You sir, are proof that education is living in a fantasy
world insulated from reality where they can dismisss
the bell curve as some conservative conspiracy even
though it is as basic a principle as the law of gravity.


This is indeed the emporor has no clothes problem. Every
knows it's completely obvious that the test is way too
hard. Everyone like yourself you tells parents that you
don't think it's too hard and that with a simple
re-alignment of the curriculum (which will require teaching
4th graders everything up to the 10th benchmarks to cover
test material) is only fooling yourself when no one has
been able to demonstrate, even in controlled research
conditions, that 100% of average students have been able
to pass such a test. I can tell you that it is an absolute
mathematical near-certainty that you will never be able to
get any school anywhere 100% when Somerset, the best
elementary in the state wasn't able to get above 70%, and
with the average inner city school at a 97% failure rate,
you have a better chance of finding a snowball in hell than
ever seeing the day when every school will be able to pass
100% of students, which is what everybody is promising when
WA OBE is founded on the belief that "all students will
succeed". 


Think about it. You don't succeed unless you pass the test.
All students will succeed. Isn't that the same as a guarantee
that 100% of students will pass the test? Or maybe you can
explain what this motto means, and why it's not OBE.




> Date:          Fri, 3 Apr 1998 12:15:36 -0700
> To:            arthurhu@halcyon.com
> From:          Conn McQuinn 
> 




4>>
Date sent:        Mon, 06 Apr 1998 12:05:50 -0400
To:               education-consumers@tricon.net
From:             "J. E. Stone" 
Subject:          Setback for education in TN


Nelson Griswold's departure at the Family Institute is a setback for those
who seek accountable public schooling in TN.  For the last several years,
Nelson led the resistance to TN Education Commissioner Jane Walters' efforts
to water down the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System.  Nelson' s
efforts included updates to legislators and the media showing how the
proposed changes would undo the basic understanding on which the 1992
half-cent sales tax was founded.  The idea was that the public would agree
to a tax increase if the education community would accept real
accountability for learning.  


This legislative session, the Commissioner has recommended that another
chunk of the decision-making authority for value added assessment be moved
to the State Board of Education--a body that almost without exception
follows the Commissioner's recommendations.  Senator Tommy Haun (R) of
Greene County has offered legislation to repeal the half-cent sales tax if
changes are made in the TVAAS law but he has little chance of winning even
Republican support against Commissioner Walters and the Sundquist
administration.  His effort deserves the support and commendation of
education's consumers and so do Nelson Griswold's.  Without us, theirs is a
very lonely task.  


Nelson spoke the truth when he said that Tennessee's Value Added
Accountability System would undergo the same fate as Tennessee's 1984 Career
Ladder teacher evaluation plan.  The one cent sales tax increase that
accompanied that legislation, of course, remains and so will the 1992
half-cent increase long after TVAAS is gutted.  


Theoretically, the state education agencies in Tennessee and all other
states exist to protect the public's interest in education.  In truth, these
agencies look out for the interests of the public schooling community first
and those of parents and taxpayers second.  They are the political and
economic captives of the parties they are intended to regulate and their
plans are rarely questioned much less opposed by legislatures and state
boards of education.  That is why people like Nelson Griswold
 and Tommy Haun 
are so important and why Nelson's departure is so significant.


J. E. Stone, Ed.D.
Education Consumers ClearingHouse
P.O. Box 4411
Johnson City, TN 37602
phone & fax 423-282-6832
e-mail professor@tricon.net
http://www.tricon.net/Comm/educon


****************************************************************************
*********




Conservative think tank drops suit, replaces leader


Suit opposed law reducing student testing 


By Tom Humphrey, News-Sentinel Nashville bureau 


The Family Institute, a politically active conservative think tank, has
dropped a lawsuit filed against the state Department of Education and
replaced its most visible and outspoken executive, Nelson Griswold. 


Griswold had been a critic of Gov. Don Sundquist and his commissioner of
education, Jane Walters, on some issues. 


The criticism is expected to end with the shakeup -- which included a
meeting between Sundquist and Joe Rogers, former ambassador to France and
chairman of the Institute. 


A Chancery Court lawsuit filed in Nashville last year charged that a
Sundquist-supported law, approved by the 1997 Legislature, jeopardized the
state's "value-added assessment system" by re- ducing tests required of
students. 


Rogers told Sundquist of the lawsuit's dismissal and gave him a paper on
value-added testing prepared by Michael Gilstrap, who succeeds Griswold as
presi- dent, during their meeting, Gilstrap said. 


"The lawsuit had accomplished its purpose ... to get the governor and the
commissioner of education to look more closely to value-added," said
Gilstrap. "We felt it was time to drop that and move on." 


Gilstrap, who first worked with Rogers in the Rogers-headed Nashville
Coalition Against Pornography, said he has also been an executive with
Kidpower, a toy manufacturer best known for developing a foam rubber "noodle." 


Before that, Gilstrap worked with a Texas think tank called Christianity and
Civilization. 


The Family Institute now intends to focus more on research and less on
lobbying. 


Griswold said he is forming a political consulting and public relations firm. 


He was philosophical about his loss of the Institute position in an interview. 


"I was getting paid too much to do things they didn't want me to do," he said. 




EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE


5>>
Date sent:        Sun, 05 Apr 1998 15:18:26 -0700
From:             Cassidy 
Send reply to:    cassidy@pacifier.com
To:               ghoffman@bellatlantic.net
Copies to:        education-consumers@tricon.net
Subject:          Re: Discrete Math



Gloria Hoffman wrote:
> 
> Has anyone heard of  "discrete math?"  My sister-in-law teaches in New
> Jersey in a district that works very closely with Rutgers University.
> She is implementing something called discrete math in her classroom with
> help from Rutgers.  Anyone know of this program?
> 
> Gloria
> 
> EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE




Gloria:


I am not a mathematition, but I think I can answer your question, at
least in general terms.  Discrete math is taught in our high school as a
full-year course for students who have completed at least algebra II. 
It does not follow a linear sequence, so it may be taken at the same
time as other math courses or inserted whenever practical or desired. 
There are good, worthwhile discrete courses, and others that are of
little value.  Discrete math is also taught at the college level.  In
each instance, discrete math has been described to me as an applied math
course with topics relating to engineering or computers.


The University of Chicago math series by Scott Foresman (UCSMP) had a
discrete course it inserted before its calculus course and included some
pre-calculus.  I don't recall the publisher of the book our district is
currently using for discrete math, but I heard that very able math
students were bored with the subject and quickly dropped it to take
pre-calc. or calc.  Other students signed up to avoid the calculus
sections... but that is particular to a this book, not discrete math in
general.  My kids did not take this course, so I don't have a feel for
its value, but I am sure, like other math tjopics, some publishers do a
good job and others do not.  (BTY, Saxon does not have a discrete course
in its secondary series.)  The college level may be very different --

see below:


"Following is a description of a Discreet Mathematics class from the
Reed College catalog (Portland, OR):
"Math 132 Discrete Mathematics
Full course for one semester.  Permutations and combinations, finite
mathematical structures, inclusion-exclusion principle, elements of the
theory of graphs, permuation groups, and the rudiments of Polya theory
will be discussed.  Lecture-conference."


>From the Cal Poly catalog (San Luis Obispo, CA):
"Math 530, 531 Discrete Mathematics with Applications I, II
Advanced mathematical methods of discrete mathematics with aplications. 
Topics will include probability theory with generating functions,
difference equations and number theory.  Additional topics to be drawn
from the theory of algorithms, coding theory, set theory, and the
relation of discrete mathematics to complex analysis.  4 lecturesl
"Math 532 Discrete Mathematics with Applications III
Selected advanced topics in discrete mathematics.  These topics may
include foundations, numerical and computational methods of discrete
mathematics, finite geometries or current problems in discrete
mathematics.  4 lectures."


This text doesn't mean a thing to me -- but I guess that's because I
never got very far in math myself (I was a product of the original New
Math).


I am sure others are more knowledgeable about math -- I hope they
contribute their thoughts.


Dianne Cassidy
Lake Oswego, OR


EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE


7>>
From:             "Mike Hihn" 
Organization:     Liberty Issues
To:               kclp@ix.netcom.com (kclp Mailing List)
Date sent:        Sat, 4 Apr 1998 09:07:25 -0800
Subject:          kclp: Jonathan Kozol in Seattle
Send reply to:    kclp@ix.netcom.com
Priority:         normal


On  3 Apr 98 at 18:49, Dale R. Reed wrote:




> An unapologetic liberal, Kozol said that if school vouchers became law,
> "the right-wing foundations would start chains of private elementary
> schools" to indoctrinate children. 


He's probably right.
Freedom includes the right to make stupid decisions,
but so what?


That would match the indocrination now coming from the
left in public schools -- eventually both of which would become
very minor parts of the total education picture.


Once the left-wing indoctrination stops, the impetus to counter
that with right-wing indoctrination will minimize greatly.
Most of the reactive right is operating on its fear of the left, 
hyped by leaders on the right.  


>From the left, we hear hysterical cries that "The Christians are 
coming."  From the right -- similar hysteria -- "The Humanists
are coming."  


Fear makes for productive fundraising.
It's not just government that manufacturers crises.


>  Six years ago, "Savage Inequalities" told a similar story 
>contrasting
> schools in America's urban ghettos with those in mostly white suburbs
> just a few miles away. 


Which is largely baloney -- inner-city schools tend to spend a LOT 
more per-pupil than even the wealthiest of suburbs.  Actually, that's
because the cities have a much wealther tax base, despite a
poorer population.  Tax base is measured by total property valuation,
divided by the number of students -- for public education purposes..




-Mike Hihn
Executive Director, LP of WA ... http://lpws.org
Editor/Publisher, LIBERTY ISSUES ... http://libertyissues.com 
===============================================
"Libertarians must be prepared to GOVERN now, or we're waiting
for somebody else to create a free society."






8>>
From:             Redyarrow 
Date sent:        Sun, 5 Apr 1998 22:34:53 EDT
To:               education-consumers@tricon.net
Subject:          Tales from the Trenches


 Last week I spent a revealing day observing  a second grade classroom. The
visit revealed many eye-opening realities of current school issues and so I
have written a synopsis of this experience. 


The school administration hired me because of a student's behavior problems.
An academically capable second grader had been aggressive throughout the year
and the staff wanted to be sure that they had tried everything, before
recommending his placement in a school or classroom for behavior disordered
children. And so I found myself observing second grade in a school which
appeared to be more than 95% African American.  Minority flight from the city
had brought blue collar African Americans to this suburb over the past fifteen
years and with the resulting "white flight" out of this suburban area, the
demographics had quickly changed.  


Having spent much time in schools which have undergone similar changes and
observed the chaos afterwards, especially when you have a tenured staff whose
behavior clearly indicates that they no longer want to be in that environment,
I was impressed to see the school's enthusiastic diverse staff, the student
uniforms, the orderly halls. The morning announcements were the most
motivating, enthusiastic ones that I have ever heard in all my years.  Usually
the faddish prerequisite "self esteem" announcements these days seem to bore
both faculty and students, but as an observer I saw that these announcements
were an awaited part of the start to each day.  Watching these uniformed
students intently listening, I heard the speaker ask everyone to chant in
unison a cheer for the testing that would be starting tomorrow.  Everyone
loudly and enthusiastically repeated the cheer, but when they reached the
refrain "Do it" "Do it," it became clear that the second graders  were
giggling  about the "other" meaning of that phrase.  Since the phrase was
repeated after every verse, the class was filled with giggling.  When the
announcements were done, I asked the teacher who was in her early 50's what
test warranted this attention.  She paused a minute before telling me that
this was the first year for the Terra Nova.  Thinking about everything I have
been reading on the Education Loops about the lack of  validity for this test,
I sighed.


The teacher had apologized when I had arrived, because math was going to be
cut in half.  Officer X was visiting from the local police department and
would be conducting a final visit with the students in the class after several
such meetings.  Immediately after announcements, a young, good-looking Officer
X strode into the classroom, gun in holster.  He announced that all of the
police officers at the station had looked at the coloring books that the
children had been coloring in order to pick the grand winner who would visit
the city council meeting and receive a ribbon.  He told the students, "It was
hard to pick one winner, but I consider everyone a winner."  The students'
clamored to know the winner.
As Officer X started passing out the coloring books, I picked one up one for a
look.  This book was clearly part of a "pre-DARE'" program and the students
had colored pictures on pages that described such scenarios as, "Only parents
give you drugs."   Two back-to-back pages asked the students to first draw a
"well person" and then a person who is "sick on drugs."  
 I looked up to see the teacher trying to assist the harried policeman.  He
hadn't organized the materials (each student needed to receive his/her own
coloring book and a certificate) and the students' clamoring grew louder as he
tried to hurriedly put the books together. Giggles accompanied his
mispronunciations of the students' names and when he finally returned the last
book to the winner, Officer X sighed in relief that the task was done and
said, "Ain't that nice" as he handed the winner her coloring book. Escorting
him out of the hall, the teacher assured Officer X that he had done a fine job
for a young first-time officer. He began to breathe as he walked to the next
classroom.


After the officer left, I observed a  haphazard phonics lesson which
exemplified how one can teach phonics without teaching decoding skills that
will transfer. For ten minutes the students filled out two phonics' workbook
pages   which required them   to circle the picture that corresponded to a
specified sound.  Looking at the mistakes of the students next to me, I had a
sinking sense that this was a Whole Language school that has begun throwing in
phonics.  The teacher  gave few instructions, wrong student answers weren't
corrected, and most students did not even have time to complete the exercise.
Looking around the room at the walls, I confirmed my suspicion of whole
language when I spotted the spelling words for March.  Students had clearly
selected the hodgepodge of words that constituted the 20-some words for the
month.  Although most of the children were making errors on the phonics sheet
for circling basic consonant blends (cl, st, etc.), their spelling list
consisted of  words as diverse as snowy, birthday, IGAP, homework, rain, cold,
Mershana, blizzard, etc.  My hunch was confirmed when after ten minutes of
phonics, the teacher walked over to the chart and asked the children to select
a spelling word for the day.  No carefully sequenced spelling instruction for
this class.


I never did get a sense of the math program, because the students worked on a
math facts Easter Bunny worksheet while the teacher worked at her desk in the
back of the room, behind the students.  The teacher had to call out warning
reminders, because the students who couldn't see the teacher would stop
working on the subtraction facts and start to goof off.  Most of the students
didn't seem to know the facts and counted on their fingers as they wrote the
answers. I wondered if they were teaching themselves.  A look at the student
papers as I walked around the room showed many errors.  Knowing that in the
past two or three years, teachers who function as "facilitators" keep their
desks in the back of the room, I found myself surprised that the student desks
were in rows and not in pods.  Walking near the teacher's desk, I complimented
her on the spacing between student desks since it clearly helped the student I
was observing.   "Oh, no," she replied.  "I don't usually have my room this
way.  I always have pods, but since this is testing week, I had to move the
desks in rows.  The students do better on their tests then.  We'll go back to
the pods the minute the tests are finished." 


Next period the class went to music in  one of the most dynamic music classes
I've ever observed.  As we walked down the hall to the music room, I looked at
the student papers hanging on the walls outside of every classroom.
Misspelled words, lack of capitalization, incorrect and missing punctuation
all reflected the school's whole language philosophy and absence of
requirements for "final copy."  I felt saddened as music class started with
ten minutes of rap songs about tomorrow's testing. The students and teacher
were enthusiastically intoning, "Knowledge is power," another song about
"brain power," and the Schoolhouse Blues, and yet it was now almost two hours
after the start of the school day and I had seen no direct teaching.  


Returning to the classroom, I next observed reading.  The teacher had the
students  form reading groups and read aloud to her from the Harcourt Brace
Reading Book, Signatures, and I made a mental note that this is the first time
all year I have seen children reading aloud in their classroom. The reading
book was typical of what I see these days with gorgeous photographs and
drawings accompanying each page's small amount of text.   My initial delight
at seeing reading groups dulled when I  realized that the teacher whose
students sat on the rug (with all the accompanying wiggling, pushing, and
shoving) had formed heterogeneous groups for the classroom.  Each group had
students who were bored with the text, students whose reading levels matched
the text, and students who could only independently read between 20 and 60% of
the words.  Up until now the student I was  observing had been on task
slightly more than the other students, and although requiring more reminders
than most of the others students, had followed all of the classroom rules.
Coming back from music there had been a slight scuffle in the hall, but even
though I was watching I could not tell (nor could any of the teachers) if this
other boy had first pushed the student I was observing, or if the reverse had
occurred.  
Sitting on the rug during this reading group, the student I was observing grew
more and more agitated listening to other students stumble over the words. His
turn at reading showed him to be a capable reader, but once he was finished
and had to listen to a series of "nonreaders" stumble over the words, he
turned away and began playing with objects on the teacher's desk.  I
remembered that the school staff have described this student as "obsessive-
compulsive" and I think back to how he always wants everything to be neatly
lined in rows or exactly right.   Everyday he lines up the teacher's chalk and
the children's lunchboxes.  What tension he must have felt as he listened to
those words pronounced everyway but right. 


Later, as I met with the staff to discuss setting up a motivational plan so
that this student can earn computer time for days in which he has not been
aggressive to another student, I  brought up the subject of the reading groups
in my most politic manner, fully aware that I was treading on dangerous
waters.  


The teacher immediately corrected my suggestion and told me how
important it was for the slower students to know that they were asked
to be in groups with the very best readers. "It makes them feel
good."  I showed her my data which portrayed some students
independently reading as few as 20% of the words.  "I always tell
them the right word so that they'll know what it is," she responded.  


"The lower performing children need to be grouped with the higher
performing students for their self esteem."  The principal turned to
me and asked what I would suggest.  I suggested grouping the students
according to their ability level with text matching decoding skills.
Since the teacher was turning red and this was a job I'd been hired
for, I then acknowledged that I understood the teacher wouldn't want
to follow all of my suggestions, but that I had to look at all the
environmental variables that might trigger this student's disruptive
behavior.  I talked about his penchant for "exactness" and how I see
children everywhere I go squirm and become rowdy when children in
their reading group read the text so poorly.  The principal who was
young and who has been at this school for two years, sighed and
responded, "When I taught in (affluent district) district, I always
had reading groups. That's how we did it, but it's not allowed in
this district.  We have to have the children read the same material
and group them heterogeneously."  She looked at me trying to convey
that what I have recommended makes sense. She's a young African
American principal and to cross a district curriculum director at
this point in her career would put her back in the classroom.  


It's another day in  public schools.


9>>
From:             LYTK73A@prodigy.com (MRS COLEEN C ARY)
Date sent:        Mon,  6 Apr 1998 21:12:58, -0500
To:               education-consumers@tricon.net, jimmyk5@mail.swbell.net
Subject:          Heads Up CSM


Heads Up for a special education packed edition of the Christian 
Science Monitor for Tuesday, April 7.


By going to the following URL, you will quickly be able to access all 
the stories in text format from one main menu.  This URL will change 
after 6 pm eastern daylight time (Tuesday, April 7), as the CSM posts 
their paper for the following day at that time and all current 
stories go into the archives with new URLs.




THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, Tuesday April 7, 1998  


Features


Today's Stories
http://www.csmonitor.com/todays_paper/reduced/today/feat/index.html 


LEARNING (contents) 


~Makeover in Mississippi [Additional spending didn't yield results.  
Have to change attitudes to achieve]
~TV Time In Classrooms  [Channel One]
~Colleges Seek Ways to Prevent Suicides 
~In Arkansas, Teach for America Recruits Add Zip to School Day 
~Distance Learning? Video Classes? No Thanks. 
~Go on a Date? Can't We Just Sorta Have Lunch? 
~Clearing the Air About Sex on Campus 
~High-Pressure Choices - for Kindergarten? 
~Mid-Career Shifts To Teaching: Do Homework First 
[Like Ms. Huntoon, many adults consider a second career in teaching 
and find themselves digging out old transcripts and going back to 
school.]




 (c) Copyright 1997, 1998 The Christian Science Publishing Society.
 All rights reserved. 






____
Coleen Ary, Editor
PIE National Newsletter
690-A Los Angeles Avenue #232
Simi Valley, CA  93065
(805) 581-6169
(805) 581-1956 fax
LYTK73A@prodigy.com
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Carolyn Steinke, Executive Director
PARENTS INVOLVED IN EDUCATION


10>>
From:             "Donna Garner" 
To:               "education consumers" 
Subject:          Goal:  To Read Great Books for Themselves
Date sent:        Fri, 10 Apr 1998 11:01:29 -0500


I am teaching GREAT EXPECTATIONS to my English I classes right now.  I
teach regular and low-level students.  They are enthralled by this glorious
novel.  Of course, they cannot read the novel on their own because these
students are products of the failed whole language reading approach. 
However, the students love for me to read it dramatically to them; and I
never have a discipline problem on the days when I read the novel to them
all period.  


My students have four homework assignments outside of class. They have to
keep running notes by chapter; they continually update a character list;
they learn vocabulary by writing out the word, definition, sentence from
the book, and an original sentence; and then they complete textbook
worksheets which stress literary terms, etymology of words, comprehension
skills, etc.  They take daily unannounced quizzes composed of essay
questions which are graded for correct  content, spelling, grammar,
punctuation, and capitalization; and they also take section tests composed
of questions which require analytical skills.  


The students, of course, gripe about having to take tests and do homework;
but as for the novel itself, they are absolutely intrigued by it.  I have
heard the students in the halls and before class actually discussing Pip,
Estella, Mr. Jaggers, Miss Havisham, Joe, etc.  These characters have
actually come alive to my students; and even though my students would be
embarrassed to admit it, they do not even want to miss class for fear of
missing the new developments in the novel.


Every time I read GREAT EXPECTATIONS I am amazed all over again at the
little gems of wisdom which are interspersed throughout the novel.  Just

yesterday I read, "So throughout life our worst weaknesses and meannesses
are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise."  A
person could write an entire doctoral dissertation on just one of these
nuggets. 


Who could ever forget the way Pip struggles to learn the importance of
loyalty and responsibility, the way that wealth and position can corrupt,
and the fact that a person's inner qualities are what should be valued more
than a person's outward appearance.


Please do not think that I am living a fairytale existence as a teacher
with perfect, self-motivated students who just love good literature.  My
students are ethnically quite diverse.  I also have some of the
most at-risk teenagers I have ever had.  So far this year I have had a
student who was arrested for trying to murder her parents during the
Christmas holidays, a student who was into self-mutilization and drug use,
many students who have been involved in fighting at school, a student who
was caught stealing money from his teachers, numerous drug users including
hard drugs/tobacco/alcohol-related incidents, special education/Section
504/ADD/ADHD students, and an Afro-American student whose defiance of
school rules ended with my having to appear before the school board because
of his parents' accusations of racial discrimination. Thankfully, since I
was simply implementing school board policy, the board supported me; and
the student transferred to another district. 


I have said all of this to illustrate that any and all teenagers can
identify and relate to the characters in great pieces of literature. 
Classic literature lives from one generation to the next because of the
masterful skill of authors who can capture their readers through
well-developed characterization, plot, setting, word use, theme, mood,
tone, and sentence structure. 


Charles Dickens and his works will live forever so long as people can read.
 No film version can capture the depth of meaning of Dickens' novels.  We
must do everything possible to make sure that children learn to read well
so that they can experience great pieces of literature for themselves. 
Hopefully with a change in early reading instruction,  the next generation
will not have to have the teacher read GREAT EXPECTATIONS to them but will
be able to master it themselves.    


Donna Garner
dggarner@swbell.net
Lead Writer, TAD
http://www.htcomp.net/tad      








EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE

11>>
Date sent:        Fri, 10 Apr 1998 10:41:20 -0700
From:             Charles Schwarze 
Send reply to:    cschwarz@ix.netcom.com
To:               Leon Todd 
Copies to:        mcnee ,
        Stan Pruss - ILL District 53 school board member ,
        education-consumers@tricon.net, jbaar1@helios.district86.k12.IL.US
Subject:          Re: Request for research on year round school


We have 1 elementary school on a year round calendar for the past four
years. The staff and families love it because it keeps them fresh. They
believe the children retain knowledge better, however their test scores
have not improved significantly. 


The one thing I hear from parents with all of their children at the

school is that they love having vacations when others are in
school--there are no lines at Disneyland in mid October. The problems
occur when parents have pre-schoolers and middle schoolers attending
schools on a traditional calendar. Unless the program is offered K-12 it
is a nightmare when trying to make plans.


Leslie Schwarze




EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE


12>>
Date sent:        Sat, 11 Apr 1998 14:27:57 -0700
From:             Cassidy 
Send reply to:    cassidy@pacifier.com
To:               education-consumers@tricon.net
Subject:          Dickens novels


I am so glad to hear that Donna Garner is not foresaking Dickens as a
vital part of the English curriculum for her high school students!  When
my 12th grade daughter started 9th grade, we asked the English teacher
at open house when the kids were going to read Great Expectations as was
printed on the reading list.  She replied that the list had been revised
and GE had been dropped.  It was simply too difficult to get the kids to
read it -- the didn't like it, and it was too much work for what the
students got out of it.  Dickens was consigned to the Honors English
sections only.  Of course, many more students wanted into the Honors
class than were allowed, so many capable students were left out of the
cold in more ways than one.  The district had catered to the immature
desires of the students, and all were losers.  


I decided my children would not miss this great author.  During the
summer we read A Tale of Two Cities as a family; my daughter was in 9th
grade, my son in 6th.  We took turns reading chapters to each other, and
anyone could interrupt to ask for definitions of unknown words,
questions about French history or thematic references.  I cheated and
used published notes so that I could point out things that an English
teacher might discuss so that they would get a better understanding of
the book, but we didn't belabor the "educational" aspect, it was a great
story by itself.  My son especially liked the Madame Defarge character
and the underground French rebels.  His 7th grade teacher was impressed
when he used the book to describe the use of "repitition" in literary
works.  


Kids grow up, get summer jobs and friends and drivers' licenses and
innumerable activities, so we never repeated that experience.  But I
heartily recommend this activity to anyone who enjoyed reading to their
kids when they were little and thought they were too old for it after
they learned to read for themselves.  Even my husband stayed awake to
hear and read the story!


Several years ago I read a compelling article from the Atlantic Monthly
in which a college professor lamented the declining skills of incoming
college freshmen, especially in their language arts skills.  He
suggested that the lack of difficult reading was partly to blame --
schools no longer require reading of older classics, and 18th and 19th
century writing is more complex than contemporary writing and uses
longer sentences and unfamiliar words and phrases.  Also, high school
reading lists have been shortened considerably and the sheer volume of
pages required has gone down with disasterous consequences.  The author
made suggestions of reading requirements that I took to heart.  
After I learned what a dismal English experience awaited my kids in high
school, I researched Enhlish teacher journals, American Library Assn.
lists, lists in college-planning reference books and my own memory to
put together a list of classics and ohter good literature I wanted my
children to read.  The school was only requiring about 3 books per year,
so I required 1 book per month, school-required reading included.  All
other books must be chosen from the list.  By the end of the month the

kids had to finish a book or lose privileges. (Long books got extra
time.)  This plan has been in effect for 4 years now, and my daughter
has read Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Ethan Fromme, The Scarlet Letter,
Our Town, A Doll's House, Farenheit 451, and many others her teachers
would never get think the students capable of.  She earned an award last
year as one of the top English students in the 11th grade. My son has
always been an avid reader, and continues to read from the list while
adding sci-fi books in whenever he can.  


To make a long story short, after years of complaining about the English
program and being shut down by the administration, teachers and school
board, this year I am begining to see a few changes.  I was delighted
that the new Freshman English teacher my son has asked to see my book
lists.  I gave them to her in the fall and never heard anything more
about it.... until last month.  She gave the master list to all her
classes and required the kids to select a book from the list as their
next "free reading" assn.  I was floored!  Delighted!  Grateful.  Mike
just finished reading Crime and Punishment, and we have had some great
talks about morality, ethics, Hegel, Nietche, etc.  This same teacher
mentioned the need for more grammar instruction, so I gave her a disk
with Donna Garner's grammar packets on it... said she could use them to
see what other teachers were doing... I am crossing my fingers to see
what kind of influence this newcomer might have on this school. 


For education advocates out there who don't think you are getting
anywhere, don't give up.  Our group of parents who fought for a stronger
English curriculum were written up in the press several years ago as the
Gang of Four, and we thought change was hopeless.  Perhaps the
administration will never come around to our way of thinking, but I
didn't give up with my kids, and I talk to every teacher who might
listen.  I never know if what I way makes a difference to anyone, but
this year I feel partly vindicated.  


I am not an English teacher, but if anyone wants the master list of
books I developed, just let me know.  I would welcome comments and
additions by others, especially English teachers!  


Dianne Cassidy
Lake Oswego, OR


P.S.  The Atlantic Monthly article might be online at the AM website. 
The title is, "The Other Crisis in American Education," by Daniel J.
Singal, The Atlantic Monthly, Nov. 1991.


EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE
13>>
From:             Redyarrow 
Date sent:        Mon, 13 Apr 1998 15:19:16 EDT
To:               education-consumers@tricon.net
Subject:          Stanford Achievement Test Info and consumers


TOday while speaking to a technical expert person at Harcourt Brace
Educational Measurement Corporation to find out some answers I had about our
school district's Stanford Achievement Test, I had idea.  While answering
standardization issues related to our district, he mentioned that the
corporation has just begun the process of rewriting the new 10th edition of
the Stanford. Being someone who can never pass up a "teachable moment," I
recommended that the corporation use this rewriting as an opportunity to
replicate what Ford did with the Taurus (not the very latest one) when they
decided to produce a product satisfying consumer demand.


He seemed somewhat interested (if it wasn't just nice PR with a caller) when I
talked about parents and consumer educators wanting an assessment instrument
that would assure them that students were acquiring necessary fundamental
skills; an assessment instrument that would avoid the Lake Woebegone Effect
where every district is above average; an assessment where one could easily
get norms based on similar demographics so that an affluent community didn't
automatically score in the tope 90th percentile; an assessment that hadn't
been dumbed down and in which reading selections were based on recently
revamped reading levels; an assessment instrument which would provide
additional consumer information that is currently not available to parents.  I
told him that if a test like that existed today that I would write letters,
actively lobby, call, etc. to get that test adopted for my local school
district and state.


As I talked, I knew that everything I wanted was in opposition to the wants of
many school district administrators where the bottom line is to "show
progress" in order to ensure that the districts' teaching methods, curricula,
etc. are paying off.  Despite this reality, there also have to be many
diligent, conscientious school administrators out there who want more
effective, honest assessment tools.  Then I began thinking about the
possiblity  the impact that enough concern people could have on a testing
corporation.  If the current education trends continue, achievement tests will
go the way of hard bound encyclopedias (My husband was told that this newest
Britannica will be the last.)   So the achievement tests must either evolve
into the flakier performance assessments like the Terra Nova or do what
they've been doing even better and sell themselves as objective thermometers
providing the ability to gauge the acquisition of fundamental reading, writing
and grammar, and mathematics achievement.


Do you think that an effort to call, write, Fax Harcourt Brace with current
consumer concerns might lead to increased quality with this latest test they
will be developing?  If anyone wants to pursue this route, their address is
6816 South Zarzamora, San Antonio, TX  78224.  Phone Number is 10800-328-5999
and their FAX is(210) 921-8849.    


BTW, during the conversation, I found out that "suburban norms" are available
for the Stanford Achievement Test if school districts want to order them.  I'm
going to Freedom of Information Act my district and see if they have them.
Anyone who lives in a more affluent district that automatically scores in the
90th percentile no matter what changes in curriculum have occurred might be
interested in pursuing that route.          Mary
EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE


14>>


I think your son may have broken a security rule
by copying down notes, so I wouldn't tell too
many people about it.


According to the WA benchmarks, area = h x w is
7th grade, proportionality is 7th grade, and
scale drawings are 10th grade. It may not be hard,
but it covers some basic skills. It's far better than
the WA assessment which essentially gives the same
test to 4th graders, and I've still gotten zero
reaction to the notion that something is awry with
the benchmarks.


As for reading, it sounds more like a basketball
quiz than reading comprension, I wonder about effects
like gender bias or racial bias on a question like
that. It is certainly no skill that should be assessed
at the 9th grade.


Traditional tests have lots of questions that cover
a wide range of ability, you grade these on a curve
and get fair coverage since very few get every question
right, and very few get every question wrong.


In most areas, only the most elite public schools score 
above the 85th percentile. Most large urban schools fall
around the 50th percentile, although those that with
large concentrations of underperforming minorities may
fall as low as 20-30th percentile. The claim that percentile
scales are worthless is bunk. Every 20th percentile school
pretty much stinks, every 80th or percentile higher school
is pretty darned good. The ONLY case where 80th percentile
isn't very good is WA's new assessment for 4th grade math
which set the bar so high that only 20% passed overall,
only 3% of under-minorities.






> Subject:       Terra Nova Math test question


> OK folks, try your hand at this one!
> 
> My 9th grade son just arrived home after having spent the afternoon
> taking the Terra Nova (CTBS 5) achievement test.  His description of the
> test is, "incredibly easy",  "too easy",  and "pointless".  Students
> were allowed to use calculators, but he didn't need to use his at all
> (seems the ceiling is a bit too low for many kids).  
> 
> Here are a couple of his favorites:
> 
> MATH (Grade 9)
> Suzy wants to frame a picture.  (A diagram of the picture is given, and
> students are to measure it with rulers that are provided.)  The
> rectangle measures 4 cm wide and 5.5 cm high.  The scale of the diagram
> is given as 1 cm = 10 cm.  The question is, what size frame should Suzy
> buy for the picture?
> 
> A)  20 cm x 35 cm
> B)  30 cm x 45 cm
> C)  45 cm x 60 cm
> D)  55 cm x 75 cm
> 
> READING (Grade 9)
> A description of "zone defense" as used in basketball was given. 
> Students then looked at drawings of basketball players in white and
> black jerseys striking various poses (offensive and defensive, one
> player with a ball) with circles (zones) drawn around them.  The student
> had to choose a response that asked why the players in the black jerseys
> (they had the ball) were going from zone to zone.  Logic was needed to
> infer that from the definition, the defensive players couldn't move from
> one zone to another.
> 
> A)  Defensive players were trying to confuse the other team.
> B)  Offensive players were manuvering to make a pass and get open.
> C)  Offensive players were trying to take a shot.
> D)  Defensive players trying to ?(can't remember)
> 
> Sorry this question is incomplete, but hopefully you get the idea.  Mike
> had enough time to copy questions onto the scratch paper to take home
> since he thought it was so amusing.  On one section he was given 15 min.
> to do 4 very easy math problems, and all the kids in his room finished
> in just a few minutes.  
> 
> How is this test constructed?  Is this norm-referenced?  Should
> achievement tests have a ceiling higher than the best students can do,
> or should the ceiling (100% score) be only what the best students in the
> norming sample do?  Where did they get their samples?  What kind of
> tests are these?   I don't recall a reading comprehension test looking
> anything like this!  And what, exactly is the correct answer for the
> math question?  (I am an art teacher and have done plenty of framing in
> my time, and I could give you more than one correct answer!  Do the kids
> know about matting or cropping artwork?)  If I'm all wet, please let me
> know.
> 
> I think we'll skip the statewide assessments next year.  I've seen
> those.


well, looks like the answer is 40 x 55, which
isn't given. Probably one of those performance
based tests where you have to guess.




Are you sure your notes are correct? Usually 
one of the answers is the correct one. I'd expect
an error like this on a home-grown state test,
but not a commercial one.




> Date:          Mon, 13 Apr 1998 23:53:54 -0700
> From:          Cassidy 
> Reply-to:      cassidy@pacifier.com
> To:            arthurhu@halcyon.com
> Subject:       Re: Terra Nova Math test question


> Arthur:
> 
> So, you didn't tell me which answer you thought is the correct one in
> the problem below.  I'm not kidding -- I really don't know which one the
> test makers thought should be correct!
> 
> Dianne
> > >
> > > MATH (Grade 9)
> > > Suzy wants to frame a picture.  (A diagram of the picture is given, and
> > > students are to measure it with rulers that are provided.)  The
> > > rectangle measures 4 cm wide and 5.5 cm high.  The scale of the diagram
> > > is given as 1 cm = 10 cm.  The question is, what size frame should Suzy
> > > buy for the picture?
> > >
> > > A)  20 cm x 35 cm
> > > B)  30 cm x 45 cm
> > > C)  45 cm x 60 cm
> > > D)  55 cm x 75 cm
> > >
> 
> 
15>>
Hey, you've noticed too! The WA assesments
says that the 50th percentile 4th grade knows
next to nothing, yet every norm-refernenced test
puts our 50th percentile kids equal or better
to national average, and US 4th graders are top
in the world. Yes, something is seriously wrong.


Why can't I get anybody else to be concerned that
the benchmarks say half of the so-called 4th
grade tasks are at the 7th and 10th grade levels??


Can I send you a copy of some problems with the
benchmarks they violate?


Example - what the probablity of heads if you
get 12 tails out of 20?  Benchmarks says
conditional probability is at 10th grade


Example - construct a symmetric figure.
Benchmark says construction of a s.f. is
7th grade. 


So and and so forth. This is math, where there
IS a right and wrong answer to whether or not
it's 4th grade.


Do you know any other teachers interested in
getting to the bottom of this scam?


The reason they have to do this is because
you can't demand reforms if you're already average,
and average is all anybody can expect.


From: "James H. Klarich" 
Subject: First I have heard of it!


Mr. Rick Jennings,


You know what is scary?  This is the first time I have heard that the
Washington State Test will not mean anything, that is except a stamp on
your certificate (diploma). Everyone I know has been working from the
perspective that the test will determine graduation, your job as a
teacher or administrator, or whether the state will take over your local
school.  When insiders don't know what is going on that is really
frightening.


As a response to a previous statement, what is wrong with the state
average being at the 55th percentile on a standardized test?  That does
mean we are doing better than average.  I do understand that average is
a comparison to the current students, not some level of proficiency.
Also our state test scores on the SAT have not declined in a number of
years even with a much larger number of students taking the test.  Even
though our students are dumb as measured by the new test they have been
doing quite well as measured by the old.


I do have a math question which you could help me with.  What is at the
root of students difficulty learning algebra? calculus?


James H. Klarich
Toppenish High School


The reason they have to do this is because
you can't demand reforms if you're already average,
and average is all anybody can expect.


16>>
Date sent:        Mon, 13 Apr 1998 23:04:07 -0400
To:               cjo@ior.com
From:             Cindy Omlin 
Subject:          Ed Dialogue from Math/Science Listserve


Dear "Ed Buds":


I've been gone during spring break so here is a compilation of dialogue on
education reform from the math/science listserve.  It is wonderful to see
dialogue take place between educators.  Too many are silent and/or passive.  


FYI,
Cindy
----------------------------------------
From: Conn McQuinn 
Subject: re: State Assessment comments


I received several email notes from others in response to my comments on
Arthur Hu's position paper.  One of you prophetically noted that folks such
as Mr. Hu "want nothing more than for you to respond."  Apparently my
comments were forwarded on to Mr. Hu, and I received an email from him
contesting my points.


I responded to his response, and he emailed back; the cycle repeated once
more.  As it is obvious that neither of us will be changing our minds soon,
since we are both approaching this from a radically different set of
assumptions, I have signed off on further debate.  (This is not some high
moral decision as much as it is a time management one.  I've already
frittered away a couple of valuable hours on this, and don't care to waste
more.)


I don't suggest much further discussion on the listservs regarding it,
either, unless you too want to receive email from someone who will call you
a "body snatcher clone" and a "damned fool" for choosing to disagree with
him.


Conn


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~         Conn McQuinn, Manager of Technology Learning         ~~
~~  Puget Sound ESD                             (206) 439-6903  ~~
~~  400 SW 152nd                            fax (206) 439-3961  ~~
~~  Seattle, WA 98166                cmcquinn@psesd.wednet.edu  ~~
~~              Technology is something people do.              ~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From: Kurt Sahl 


Colleagues,
In a couple of minutes, you will receive a few posts that were held up
over the weekend while I learned a bit more about how to moderate this
list.


During the last few weeks, our lack of a moderator was apparent.  Many
people, who wanted to unsubscribe, were frustrated and couldn't get
off the list.  Those requests will no longer go unnoticed.  Also, the
list contained some bogus e-mail addresses.  As some of you probably
noticed, when you sent a message to the list, you received bounced
mail from bogus addresses.  This should no longer be a problem as I've
removed those addresses. Currently there are approximately 200
subscribers on this list.


The one thing that I want to stress, especially now, is that my role
as moderator should not be confused with that of a censor.  I have no
intent to squelch discussions on math/science issues and feel that our
current discussion about the State's reform initiative is crucial to
improving student learning.


However, it is not the only discussion we might be having.  If you
have any concerns, questions, or issues you'd like to throw out on the
cyber-table, please feel free to do so.  I'd like to remind you,
though, that we are members of a community and require respect just as
you require in your "actual" community.  Save the faceless
name-calling and threats for your appearance on the Jerry Springer
show.


KS


Kurt Sahl
Graduate student
College of Education
Univ. of Washington
Seattle
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------
From: Rick Jennings 
Subject: Re: Ed Reform Dialogue


I would love to reply to this. First of all, the two are totally unrelated.
This discussion of grade inflation has been going on for at least 15 years.
If anyone wants to apply this to the elrs and the assessment based on them,
it is totally misplaced. Secondly, we all need to understand that the 10th
grade assessment is not tied to graduation, at least in its current form. It
is my understand (and I may be wrong here) that passsin this assessment will
give one a stamp of approval on ones degree. The teachers and district is
still responsible to certify that a student has satisfied the district's
rquirements for graduation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------
From: "James H. Klarich" 
Subject: First I have heard of it!


Mr. Rick Jennings,


You know what is scary?  This is the first time I have heard that the
Washington State Test will not mean anything, that is except a stamp on
your certificate (diploma). Everyone I know has been working from the
perspective that the test will determine graduation, your job as a
teacher or administrator, or whether the state will take over your local
school.  When insiders don't know what is going on that is really
frightening.


As a response to a previous statement, what is wrong with the state
average being at the 55th percentile on a standardized test?  That does
mean we are doing better than average.  I do understand that average is
a comparison to the current students, not some level of proficiency.

Also our state test scores on the SAT have not declined in a number of
years even with a much larger number of students taking the test.  Even
though our students are dumb as measured by the new test they have been
doing quite well as measured by the old.


I do have a math question which you could help me with.  What is at the
root of students difficulty learning algebra? calculus?


James H. Klarich
Toppenish High School
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Kurt Sahl 
Subject: Re: First I have heard of it!


> You know what is scary?  This is the first time I have heard that the
> Washington State Test will not mean anything, that is except a stamp on
> your certificate (diploma). Everyone I know has been working from the
> perspective that the test will determine graduation, your job as a
> teacher or administrator, or whether the state will take over your local
> school.  When insiders don't know what is going on that is really
> frightening.


The web site has been there for "insiders" for quite awhile.  Check
out the Commission on Student Learning Web site:


 http://csl.wednet.edu


You'll find out quite a bit about the Certificate of Mastery, e.g.
what it is, what it isn't, etc.


> As a response to a previous statement, what is wrong with the state
> average being at the 55th percentile on a standardized test?  That does
> mean we are doing better than average.  I do understand that average is
> a comparison to the current students, not some level of proficiency.
> Also our state test scores on the SAT have not declined in a number of
> years even with a much larger number of students taking the test.  Even
> though our students are dumb as measured by the new test they have been
> doing quite well as measured by the old.


Our students are not "dumb" as measured by the new test, and perhaps
you meant to choose a different word. What you might be implying is
that students are being asked to perform different tasks on the tests.
The Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) and Iowa Test of Basic
Skills (IBST) are national standardized tests.  The Washington state
tests measure students only in Washington state.  I'm assuming you are
comparing the old (CTBS, IBST) and the new Washington state tests. Any
comparison between the standarized norm-referenced tests and the
Washington state criterion-referenced tests is not valid.  (By the
way, how do you compare schools that use different national
standardized tests?  Does anyone care to dissect why schools
and school districts chose one of the different tests in the first
place? Do politics drive the choice of tests or are the tests
administered for reasons that have to do with improving student
learning? If the former, what do the tests _really_ mean in a
political context? If the later, what teacher has made instructional
choices/changes based on the previous year's standardized test
scores and did student learning really improve?)


Bottom line: Look at what the students IN WASHINGTON STATE know and
are able to do and compare the students to themselves.  We set our own
high standards. Unfortunately, many teachers are being asked to
prepare their students for BOTH tests.  The kind of cognitive
processes required by students to complete the two tests are not
congruent. Consequently, teachers are being asked to get their
students ready for the bubble-sheet tests (not exactly what students
are used to doing in many grades) and at the same time prepare their
students for the Washington state tests. This must be a nightmare for
elementary teachers.  If I were teaching right now, and I was
preparing my students for the national standardized tests, my choice
of instructional strategies would look completely different than my
choice of instructional strategies for the Washington state tests.


> I do have a math question which you could help me with.  What is at the
> root of students difficulty learning algebra? calculus?
>
> James H. Klarich
> Toppenish High School




James, is this a rhetorical question?  I would venture to guess that
many students have had their love of learning driven from them before
they have an opportunity to embrace mathematics.  Some students have
difficulty with the way that math has been traditionally taught, i.e.
the teacher lacks knowledge about or ignores student learning needs.


Recently, I had an opportunity to view a TIMMS video showing an
"average" U.S. high school geometry class, a Japanese high school
geometry class and a German class.  The U.S. class was very familiar,
the students seated individually in rows, the teacher in the front
reading the problems from the book and going through rote processes
with the students, and the students completing the sentences begun by
the instructor, etc.  Just your basic math class.


The Japanese class, on the other hand, was completely different.  The
teacher used a dynamic, computer generated geometric image on two
video monitors to illustrate the day's problem (yes, singular).  The
teacher drew the outline of the problem on the board and gave it
context, i.e. a story problem. Then students frenetically worked in
groups to solve the problem. Concluding the lesson, the students came
to the front and gave their interpretation of the problem's solution.
There was quite a bit more to it, but it was a masterful lesson with
students actively engaged and interested.


I didn't see the German class, but guess that it was much like the
U.S. class.  In 1993, I was able to spend a couple of weeks in a
German academic high school (Yr. 5-13).  The kind of instruction I
saw was not unlike what takes place in many U.S. schools.  The
difference was that the Germans have a different take on what
constitutes a democratic education.


So, as to what is the "root of students' difficulty learning algebra
or calculus," I'd have to answer that it depends on what it is you
want them to know and how you expect them to learn it.  If you teach
to the standarized tests in a traditional format, you'll probably run
into more disinterested students.


Kurt
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----
From: Ray Vining 
Subject: elr discussion


I noticed Rick's comments and thought I had heard other wise.  I checked
the site mentioned by Kurt and found the information noted herein.   We
are all in this together, I thank those of you who care enough to share
your opinions.  Ray
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
From: Rick Jennings 
Subject: Re: First I have heard of it!


Jim, et all
I have about a 4-page word document that I would be happy to send to you by
attachment. This is an exposition for a project I am currently working on -
STREAM - which is designed to develop training materials for districts that
are looking at adopting one of the NSF-funded high school math curricula.
I wrote this about 3 years ago so some of it may be dated. It attempts to
make some of the arguments about changing the curriculum. If you want me to
send you an attachment just e-mail me and I would be happy to receive your
comments on it. I think it is a bit too long to put on the listserve.


rick
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----
From: Rod Roberts 
Subject: Re: First I have heard of it!


Since we are very nearly at the point of making some drastic changes in
our mathematics offerings, I would like to hear what you put together. I
have little information about what is and isn't, much less what's good
and what's not.




 Rod Roberts
Grandview
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Rick Jennings 
Subject: FYI - National Implementation Centers


I just got this information about the National Implementation Centers for
the NSF projects. If you get a chance, check them out. I think they are in
their infancy so there may not be much there yet:


Elementary Math e-mail: Sheila Sconiers - s.sconiers@comap.com
Middle School : http://showmecenter.missouri.edu
High School: http://www.ithaca.edu/compass
K-12: http://www.edc.org/mcc


Rick
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
------
From: "James H. Klarich" 
Subject: Certificate of Mastery is Required?


Mr. Ray Vining,


So it is required to pass the test.  Thanks Ray!


Can we have an informal survey here?  In your local schools what
percentage of your students will pass the tenth grade exam on the first
attempt?  Most of our teachers are afraid we will have difficulty ever
getting above 25 percent.


James H. Klarich
Toppenish High School
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: "James H. Klarich" 
Subject: What about the SAT?


Mr. Kurt Sahl,


You made one of my points exactly.  When our system spends all its time
preparing the students for the tenth grade test, we can not spend time
preparing them for the traditional tests.  Unfortunately one of those
traditional tests is the SAT exam.  If (when?) our students scores on
the SAT decrease, what do you think will happen?  Perhaps we simply tell
those few students to whom it is important that we are preparing the
other eighty percent for life, if they wish to be competitive in the
college game they need to hire their own tutors.


James Klarich
Toppenish High School
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Rick Jennings 
Subject: Re: Certificate of Mastery is Required?


I think at first that 25% will be hard to achieve...especially if we keep
battling about whether we should even be doing it and not paying attention
to how it might be possible to help the students.
Along with the fear and anger maybe we could spend some time on how this
assessment is different than what we are used to in school.


First there are some things on the benchmarks that won't even be
tested....those that are better assessed in the classroom environment. There
are a few things that are new to many, i.e., some way to decide what an
appropriate model for a set of data might be or some basic probability. I
think you will find, however, that much of what we teach now is also being
assessed on the test.


The perceived difference is that students will need to be able to argue, in
some fashion, why they did what they did. This argument can be using
algebra, geometry, logic, or some other mathematical construct. If a student
is asked to answer a question in which the resulting model is 2x + 7 = 16
and then asked to solve this model, they may be asked to give some rational
for how they arrived at this model and also asked to solve it. Is that so
much different than what we do now? Is it possible to get students to
justify what they are doing, rather than just rotely do things they have
been shown without knowing why the heck they did them? Isn't that what we
are about?


Will students be upset when they are asked to do this? Of course...at first
anyway...but they can, and should be able to, understand what they are doing
rather than just doing...And most students WILL have problems doing this if
we don't ask them to do this in their classwork.


rj
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Rick Jennings 
Subject: Re: What about the SAT?


Mr. James Klarich...


I guess I have to say this again....the 2 assessments are not mutually
exclusive. It does not follow that if they do well on one, they won't do
well on the other. In fact, I will predict (easy to before anything has
happened) that if we teach them to justify their results and to look at
problems that they haven't seen before and examine them mathematically, that
scores will go up on both -- if that is the measure that you wish to use.
Yes ... this is indeed a conditional statement .... IF ===> THEN


rj
----------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Ray Vining 
Subject: ELR's success and failure


After listening to the discussion on ELR's for sometime and weighing
ideas a course of action developed that I can live with.


1. Some will pass the ELR's at the 10 grade level.  They will have an
excellent background in using and applying many subjects including math
and science.
    a. Some of these students will enter excellent vocational programs
designed to shadow them into the world of work.
    b. Some will head off to running start programs.  They will also
receive job experiences and the background to help them integrate into
the economy.


2. Many will not pass the 10th grade exams.  There are not now, and will
not be any throw away students! God does not make junk.
    a. some will move to alternative schools, free from the requirements
of the ELR's.
    b. some will become discouraged and despite our best efforts drop
out.
    c. some will be tenacious and try remediation and may pass the ELR's
later.
    D. and my favorite. We will take all the 11 year students who want
and enter them into experiences that will prepare them for useful places
in society by continuing to educate them and provide job opportunities.
We will make this as free from the stigma of failure as possible.


3. Administrators, public officials and board members, and legislatutors
will buy the education system time.


Time to help kids be successful whenever and whatever the system is
evolving into.  Time for educators to adapt to different standards.
Time to continue to communicate with the world of work to see how our
product is doing and adapt to the needed changes.  Time to communicate
that children learn at different rates and in ways we may never
understand.


We need to move from linear models of progress because of the high
failure rate of students.  Instead we need to move students when they
are ready to move on, not because they are 6, 7 or 18.  Education is not
a race, it is a journey.


We need time to say teaching is a patient art where persistance is
valued.


I believe we should unite  in campaign that says we are listening and we
will continue to provide the best education possible for all students.
We need to let folks know that we are the ones who understand children,
know our material and know how to teach.  If society continues to hammer
education with destructive criticism, society  runs the risk of
destroying its very foundation.


We are the mirror society sees itself in and apparently society does not
like what it sees.  You can't repair society by yelling at the mirror or
throwing money at it.  We must stay strong in the conviction that we are
taking the young and integrating them into a complex and evolving
system.  No one knows societies destination.


We can not change the course of societys river but we can fashion good
canoes and train folks how to navigate.  And that folks is all we can
do.  And that is sufficient.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------




----------------------------------------------------------------------------
------
From: "James H. Klarich" 
Subject: Certificate of Mastery is Required?


Mr. Ray Vining,


So it is required to pass the test.  Thanks Ray!


Can we have an informal survey here?  In your local schools what
percentage of your students will pass the tenth grade exam on the first
attempt?  Most of our teachers are afraid we will have difficulty ever
getting above 25 percent.


James H. Klarich
Toppenish High School


Arthur Hu:
CIM pass rates:


These tests are intentionally designed to
flunk roughly half or more of the student
population in order to shock citizens into
"drastic" reforms.


I've seen similar tests all across the nation,
Every one promises that eventually 100% of
students will be able to "pass" these tests,
but in fact, a majority of students fail these
tests in every state.


No one has ever
demonsrated a curriculum with anything remotely
resembling a normal cross section of kids that
could get a 90% pass rate. All they say is
"time will tell, and everybody shows progress".


Even Somerset
elementary in Bellevue, which is 90% over average
on CTBS had a 30% failure rate, and that was
the top public school in the state.


Under Marc Tucker's original 1992 proposal to

Hillary Clinton, getting a CIM would entitle
you to 11th and 12th grade and 2 years of
free college. If you didn't pass, you didn't
get beyond 11th grade. Fortunately, no state
has kept that provision, but that was the
original idea. I suspect that by the time the
CIM is applied, it will have to be watered down
to a sticker the top 50% of students who pass
will get on their diplomas.


You have to ask yourself why it's a 10th
grade CIM for a 12th grade diploma. It's because
it's modeled after Germany were 75% of high
school students finish at the 10th grade. It
sound insulting, but anyone who believes that
all we have to do is set a high standard, and
then all will achieve to it, is a damned fool.


Heck, we couldn't even get 100% of kids to
meet the old standards, and they're promsing
higher standards? Snap out of it folks.


And that's just about everybody in the state
education industry who is buying into the CIM
idea, and standards that flunk 50-80% of the 
students we have now when we ARE already the
equal of students anywhere in the world.


They
don't have a single standard, they have high
schools that finish at the 9th, 10th and 13th
grades with corresponding diplomas, and they
also graduate barely literate people just like
we do. There is no magic formula to producing
a system where "all perform at the highest
levels" as promised by Marc Tucker, the unelected
Secretary of Education Reform


Please pass this back onto the mailing list,
I'm not on it.


17>>


Date sent:        Tue, 14 Apr 1998 10:51:47 -0400
To:               styer@aloha.net, jba@integrityol.com, Lkdesire@msn.com, Corativo@juno.com,
        gclark21@juno.com, solideo@juno.com, jimr@boink.net, rodshinn@juno.com,
        goatsnus@aol.com, sitler@plix.com, lmstuter@icehouse.net,
        edmoats@juno.com, rlbjr@worldnet.att.net, turbyfil@e-z.net,
        cheral@cio.net, jackp@ptta.org, kathyO@ieway.com, schinds@cet.com,
        mkschafer@odessaoffice.com, coffee@BigFoot.com, paver@ior.com,
        arthurhu@mail1.halcyon.com
From:             Cindy Omlin 
Subject:          Math/Science listserve contribution


BTW the Ed Week article is not surprising if you look at the issues each of
these groups are interested in. BTW I do know one of the authors of the
"study" by the Fordham foundation. We see each other each summer. He is a
very nice guy from New Hampshire (or at least teaching there now). He
teaches at a private school there. We argue every summer it seems :-)


Rick


The What and Why of Reform in Mathematics Education
Rick Jennings




It is a difficult assignment, at best, to attempt to improve on the NCTM
Standards as an outline for what reform is and/or should encompass. I would
like to focus instead on those aspects of reform that are, in my view,
necessary conditions for both a successful reform movement and necessary for
students and citizens of the 21st century.


I do this because I think there are a small subset of the standards that,
while they may be worthwhile for teachers in general, are not required
elements of reform. They may have been included because of bias by some of
the authors or because of recent studies on learning. This is not to say
that they are not important in general for mathematics education. It is just
that they are not unique to reform and may not need emphasis in a project
such as STREAM.


To answer the question of what reform aspects we need to focus on, I need to
review exactly what the concerns were for students when the movement was
begun and those that were being addressed by the Standards. I should mention
here that the use of Standards in the paper includes all three sets of math
Standards. (Curriculum and Evaluation, Teaching, and Assessment).


>From my perspective, there are four main ideas. First, there was concern
that a large majority of the students graduating from high school were not
literate, or even aware of the mathematics that has been invented in the
past 50 years. In particular, minority students and women were the least
likely to have this awareness. This situation, it was felt by some, occurred
because of the rush to abstraction by the existing curriculum. This was
culminated in high school by the rush to get students to take calculus.
Students were, therefore, weeded out because of their inability to abstract
at an early age.


The second area of concern was the realization that there is a huge gap in
our society’s ability to deal with probabilistic and statistical concepts.
So much of the information age consists of reducing information to action.
To do this requires knowledge of probability and statistics. In order for
citizens to understand and make informed decisions using these ideas,
requires that they know more about statistical concepts.


The third area I would highlight deals with the changing business models in
our society. The model has changed greatly since Henry Ford began a assembly
line model of workers working individually on one item and moving the
process on to the next person. The change that began in the 1980s and
continues today deals with a model of group problem solving. Each person in
the group needs to be aware of the others’ work ,what the project is
supposed to develop and at what stage the project in currently. The second
part of this business model is the projection that most of today’s students
will not only change jobs several times, but may indeed change occupations
several times. It is also true that some of these occupations may not even
be developed yet.


The fourth and final area that I would highlight would be technology. The
change of both cost and sophistication in this area has both simplified and
made more complex the job of the mathematics teacher. It has simplified the
task of instruction in that it is much easier to demonstrate and have
students view and use sophisticated mathematics. It has also complicated
things in that we now realize that students will need to know how to read,
and possibly write, technical explanations. The students today will see many
iterations of technological advancement in their lifetimes. The mathematics
that is available with the use of technology also goes beyond what many of
our teachers have had, either in coursework or inservice training. It is
doubtful there are any students that will not be affected in some real way
by technology. They will certainly need to know how to read technically
written exposition.


Given this set of concepts and concerns, what are the main areas to be
addressed in the reform curriculum. Also, what are the features in these
projects that should be highlighted by STREAM?


Broadening the base of the mathematical literate
To address this issue the materials need to slow down the rush to
abstraction and demonstrate to students that the utility of mathematics is
pervasive in their lives. At the same time students who are capable of
abstraction at a young age should have materials available to them to
address their abilities.


Pedagogical issues that seem necessary to address here are that of multiple
representation and the use of technology. In order to address the utility of
mathematics it seems desirable to show applications in a number of different
areas and make connections both inside and outside of mathematically
specific areas.


Statistics and Probability (Information Processing)
The heading makes the case for these topics to be included in both the
student curriculum and teacher training. Many of the existing teacher force
have not had sufficient background in the use of statistics and probability.
With current and future technologies accessible and affordable, many of
these topics and concepts, not available in the past, may now be addressed.
It is not enough, however, to deal with these in a strictly mathematical
sense. The key is to have the students realize how information can be
misused as well as used. To do this, students need to learn the tools of
critical thinking and concepts of mathematical modeling, or whatever tag you
wish to give to this process.


Group Dynamics/Lifetime Learning
A large part of this area deals with pedagogical issues. In their lives,
students will need to be both individually responsible and responsible to a
group. In order to learn this they need to experience it in their
schoolwork. This implies that at least some of their mathematical experience
needs to focus on group dynamics. An appropriate blend of group and
individual responsibility needs to be included in any reform curricula.
Teachers need to have options available to them in the use of groups.


The second part of this category is the idea that students, by current
projections, need to learn new areas within a field or in a completely new
field. This argues for the “life-long learner” aspect of curriculum. How
does one develop life-long learners? I would argue that the curriculum needs
to have enough latitude to allow students to realize that they can learn and
how they learn best. To do this, topics should be available that are of
interest to students and allow the students to research and report on these
topics. This also implies that more time be given to allow them to process
and assimilate knowledge prior to moving to another topic. They need to
experience taking a topic they know little or nothing about and arriving at
conclusions or answers about that topic. This is yet another argument for
emphasis on mathematical modeling.


Technology
Not only is technology a tool for the mathematics classroom, it is also a
topic. The reason for this is that the work force of the future must not
only be able to use existing technology, it also will need to learn future
technology. This technology is virtually impossible to train students for,
since it is not even developed yet. This argues for students to learn how to
effectively read technical writing and in some cases, write technically
themselves.


Other Issues
I have not discussed one other issue that will need to be addressed in any
curriculum as well as in the STREAM project. That is one of assessment.
Given the fact that all of these projects focus on changes of curriculum and
delivery, assessing the students and the curriculum using the same methods
we have used in the past doesn’t make a lot of sense. Students will need to

respond in different ways and forms than have been used prior. This
indicates that teachers will need to have information on other ways to
assess students. In fact, assessment tools may well be used to teach some of
the topics addressed in this paper.





18>>
Priority:         Normal
From:             "Lynn M Stuter" 
Date sent:        Tue, 14 Apr 98 12:29:00 PDT
Subject:          None


I've been trying to think of the perfect bumpersticker that would get
people thinking, was short and sweet yet shed light on the reality of
the educationese jargon; something that wouldn't be labeled "right
wing" or "conspiracy theory"; that wouldn't be offensive to "joe
six-pack" or the Acura crowd.


How about: 	Circus animals perform

  Children learn


If that started showing up on the back of cars, it would certainly
bring new debate to the arena.  Whatdaya think?  I won't take credit
for thinking of it; it came very innocently in an email from Barb
Tennison.


They've already hijacked "learning" as the
educationally correct name for "teaching"


See Commision on Student Learning and
Assessment of Student Learning.


19>>
Date sent:        Tue, 14 Apr 1998 12:46:44 -0700 (PDT)
From:             Bonnie Grossen 
To:               The Riggs Institute 
Copies to:        Don Crawford , education-consumers@tricon.net,
        Douglas_Carnine@ccmail.oregon.edu
Subject:          Re: Riggs critique of pending legislation


Myrna, I am sorry I am late to see this discussion which occurred some
time ago regarding the Reading Excellence Act. I was amazed to find
that you did not support it. Consider the following:
1. The Orton Society has been an eager consumer of the NICHD research and
has incorporated the findings into a revised definition of learning
disabilities that they are promoting. I find this kind of responsiveness
commendable.


2. Getting research done on DI has been anything but easy. In fact, the
NICHD researchers would like to include Reading Mastery in some of their
research studies, but have been unable to convince their selected teacher
samples to even try it for a research study. 


3. The Orton phonograms have been included in NICHD research. As far as I
know the Open Court program presents Orton's analysis. However, I believe
only the most frequent sound is emphasized in instruction.


4. Follow Through is not the only research that qualifies as a controlled
study. Many other studies exist and can be conducted. 


5. One easy way to do research is to use statewide tests. We are
doing this now in Texas to identify schools that are reducing the
reading problems. A big problem we have had to correct in reviewing the
data though, is that schools don't test ALL their kids, and when the state
reports the percentage of kids meeting standards, it is the percentage of
kids who took the test, NOT the number of kids in the school. In reviewing
the data, we eliminated any school that had not tested at least 85% of
their student body and we recalculated percent success using the total
enrollment as the denominator. Many, many schools tested less than 85% of
their kids.


In any case, statewide tests can be used to compare practices used
schoolwide in schools. They include built-in control groups.


6. The fact that Open Court teaches Orton phonograms one at a time with
on-going practice in decodable text and Riggs doesn't is an important
distinction. Oma Riggs did make a remarkable contribution to education,
just as the Wright brothers made an enormous contribution to flying. But
just as we humans improved on the Kitty Hawk, so we can improve on Riggs'
method, don't you think? Teaching as OPen Court does reduces the number of
reading disabilities. Include those features in the Riggs model and move
on would be my recommendation. You don't have to keep flying in the Kitty
Hawk.


7. As John Stone pointed out, research will always be a slippery thing to
get hold of, but the most urgent problem we face in education today is
that there are those who don't even believe in looking at the evidence who
have secured mandates for methods that clearly waste children and money.
We desparately need to set ground rules that will force the profession to
look at the evidence when they dialog about teaching method.


8. I didn't cite Follow Through in the 30 years paper at all. Have you
read it? Go to http://www.cftl.org
The NICHD has used scientific methods to identify reliable, replicable.


9. Back-to-back studies are important because research is so slippery. One
small study, such as the High/Scope study recently described in Ed
Leadership, should not be used to shape national policy. (Especially when
the organization funding and conducting the research is the same
organization selling the method.)  


10. The US is number 1 in agriculture, among other things, not because
American farmers are such hard workers but because they have
research-based knowledge and technology to support them. That's the
only reason American farmers produce more per farmer than any other
nation in the world. The research methods adopted in education come from
agriculture. If we apply them well and display a national interest in the
results, then I believe we can become number 1 in education as well. 
That's the only way we will become number 1 in education.




> Of course there is a great deal of empirical evidence to support what we
> and the other Orton programs do, and there is probably research to support
> some of the type of the things that we incorporate in our programs but none
> of that constitutes back-to-back, controlled research such as has been done
> in the Follow Through project and others cited by Grossen in her
> compilation of the "30 years of research" article which has been used to
> support this proposed legislation.  If you look at the definitions written
> out for "reliable, replicable research" I think you will readily see what I
> mean.   We have been kept out of the money, so to speak, for any research
> for 40 years.  I don't think that's an accident, do you?   
> 
> I posed a question to this list to see if any of the other Orton-based
> methods had had such research done on their particular method.  I have had

> two negative replies (which I'm going to post back to the list as soon as I
> think they are all in) and no positive replies so I don't think that this
> is a condition which applies only to the Spalding Foundation or Riggs
> Institute.  
> 
> 
>  Certainly the research base from Marilyn Adams book would support
> >the synthetic phonics of Orton-Gillingham.  It would be a massive
> >improvement over the "whole page" reading method I've been seeing in the
> >public schools.
> >
> 
> Re-read the definitions given for reliable, replicable research.  If such
> has been done, normally it is published in juried journals of some type; am
> I right?  None of us have had these opportunities.  In fact, I heard not
> long ago that even the efficacy of multi-sensory instruction for beginning
> primary levels has never been researched.  Recently, I wrote to brain and
> linguistic researchers at MIT asking them if they were interested to take a
> look at about 8 different techniques and content areas that  we use, and
> that we believe have never undergone research in a project in Orange
> County.  I consulted with Michael Brunner about the specific list.  So far,
> I have had no reply, but I would be very happy to share my letter to them
> with you if it would help you, Dr. Carnine & Bonnie Grossen to understand
> our concern about this issue. 
> 


EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE
20>>


Date sent:        Tue, 14 Apr 1998 19:13:52 -0700
From:             Pat Burleson 
Send reply to:    pburleson@lopez.wednet.edu
To:               arthurhu@halcyon.com
Subject:          Thank you


Mr. Hu,
I am on a couple of listservs that have carried your comments about the
state essential learnings and 4th grade assessment.  Thank you for
speaking.  Please continue to do so.  I may not always agree with you ,
but you make me think, and I hope others will also think.  There are
several people in our state education office who really need to think,
and not about themselves!


I am a 4th grade teacher, so the tests do concern me directly.  I am
also president of the Washington State Council for the Social Studies. 
As you may or may not know, the council has had a very long battle with
the Commission on Student Learning about the social studies essentials. 
We have made no progress.  It's a long, frustrating story, but the short
version is that the benchmarks are not age appropriate, they encourage a
nationalistic perspective, do not encourage citizenship skills necessary
for our children's future, and now they are discussing not even
including assessment for social studies at all.  Anyway, keep
questioning.  Do it loudly and frequenly.  Thank you.
Patricia Burleson


21>>
Date sent:        Tue, 14 Apr 1998 18:50:28 -0700
To:               arthurhu@halcyon.com
From:             Byron Davies 
Subject:          Re: Introduction: Arthur Hu


Glad to meet you, Arthur. I was an MIT grad student but dropped out,
eventually getting my Ph.D. in EE from Stanford.  I have two kids in a
local charter school, and I'm very interested in school reform myself.  We
switched to a charter school because our local public school dropped my
daughter's gifted math teacher, and they wouldn't let my more-than-ready
son into kindergarten because of a December birthday.  I became very
suspicious of the standards when my daughter, when she was in fourth grade,
was being scored as post-high-school on some of the standardized tests.
She's a smart kid, but not where she ought to be by the end of high school.


The charter school does a lot of great things with multiage classrooms,
integrated thematic instruction, individualized learning plans, and
positive values.  I feel pretty comfortable with the school, but both
teachers and parent volunteers are overworked trying to provide an
individualized education to every student.  Based on how much my kids learn
from computer software at home, I saw a role for a greater level of
computer technology in the schools and joined up with the Arizona Learning
Technology Partnership (http://altp.org).


I am not at all comfortable with the status of education state-wide in
Arizona or nationally.  Almost everyone realizes that there a need for
radical, fundamental change, but it seems that nothing happens anyway.  The
charter school movement, which is particularly strong in Arizona, seems to
be having some impact by providing the regular public schools with
competition.  I'm convinced that technology will have an impact, by
disintermediating education, but until the technology gets into the
schools, kids will still waste 6 or 7 hours a day.


Bravo for taking public stand.  Just think if we could unite 20,000 MIT (or
Stanford) alumni nationwide in an effort to improve education.


Byron Davies, Ph.D.


========================


Agile Business Solutions | Helping your organization crush complexity
Phoenix, Arizona, USA    |            and create value
(602) 759-7628           |                through
davies@pobox.com         |           process innovation




22>>
From:             "Gayle Cloud" 
To:               education-consumers@tricon.net
Date sent:        Tue, 14 Apr 1998 17:39:07 +0000
Subject:          test preparation
Priority:         normal


My second grade daughter's homework included the following 
preparation for the SAT 9 .  It is taken from Teacher Created 
materials, Inc. and it is from a passage that helps prepare kids for 
tests.  This is the passage:


Mary, Sally, and their mom and dad had been planning their summer 
vacation fro many months.  They were going to take a trip to Disney 
World in Florida.  Then things started to go wrong.  The car needed 
to be repaired.  Mom lost her job.  Dad fell down at work and broke 
his arm.


"I'm sorry, kids,"  Dad said.  "I guess we will have to go to Disney 
World next year."


Why did the family need to put off their trip?
--Dad changed his mind.
--It was not summer yet.
--Things started to go wrong.
--They needed a new car.


2.  How do you think Mary and Sally felt?
--happy
--sad
--excited
--mean


3.  What do you think the family will do now?
--keep planning
--give up
--go somewhere else
--become angry


4.  In this story, repaired means....
--replaced

--repainted
--serviced
--fixed




The other passages are not as negative, but definitely paint pictures 
of poor, rather dysfunctional families.  This passage is meant to 
evoke emotions, not understanding.  Questions 1 and 4, I think are 
realistic comprehension questions.  Questions 2 and 3 aren't.  Rather 
the child is profiled by his answer--angry?, mean??


If the Stanford 9 resembles this, we will have problems.  Why, oh, 
why, can't we just use common sense passages that just measure 
comprehension?!


Gayle
EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE




23>>
From:             Governor Locke 
To:               "'Arthur Hu'" 
Subject:          The tests are a shameful sham
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 08:58:48 -0700


Thank you for contacting Governor Locke's office concerning education. 
 The Governor shares your interest in the quality and effectiveness of 
our schools, and appreciates that you took the time to let him know 
your thoughts.


However, in Washington, the primary responsibility of overseeing 
public education resides with the Superintendent of Public Instruction 
(SPI), who is elected by the voters rather than appointed by the 
governor like most other agency directors.  Therefore, education 
issues like the one you raised are not under Governor Locke's 
jurisdiction.  We are forwarding your letter to Ms. Terry Bergeson, 
the current Superintendent of Public Instruction, so that her agency 
can respond directly to your concerns.  You may contact her at P.O. 
Box 47200, Olympia, 98504-7200, or call 360-753-6738.


Superintendent Bergeson, the state Legislature and Governor Locke are 
working together to make a difference in our schools -- but they also 
know that parents, teachers and other citizens in our local 
communities are equal partners in this effort.  Therefore, we thank 
you for taking an interest.


Sincerely,
Constituent Services
Office of theGovernor








cc:  Superintendent of Public Instruction






__________
From:  Arthur Hu
Subject:  The tests are a shameful sham
Date:  3/25/1998 12:00 am


3/25/98


Governor.Locke@Governor.wa.gov
**Website Deleted**


To Governor Locke:


I highly decry your support for Bergeson's new tests, and
de-emphasizing phonics, and the recent editorial in the Seattle Times


I have testified in committed against the new assessments.
Please check out my position page on the new assessment -


**Website Deleted**


Bergeson says the test was carefully matched against the benchmarks,
but these questions clearly come out of benchmarks at the 7th and 
10th
grade:


- ratio
- rate
- proportion
- least common multiple
- probability expressed a proportion
- multipying by fractions
- requiring conversion from feet to inches without giving conversion
factor - length = width x height - constructing a symmetric figure


Something like 40% of the questions on the sample test have similar
problems. The first page of a sample SAT test has 80%, or a higher
percentage of valid 4th grade level questions, and each question is
simpler than the version that appears in the WA test.


Her statement that tests were matched belie the fact that the 
presence
of such questions on the test prove that no such check was ever done.


If you ask her, she will have to answer that
she has not personally looked into this question,
nor has answered my concerns. She cannot say she
can deny my charges above are incorrect because
if she did, she would have to agree with me.
arthurhu@halcyon.com  **Website Deleted**


24>>
Bracey Report on Education


Phi Delta Kappan has an excellent report from
America's greatest "the sky is NOT fallling"
debunker of bandwangons, Gerald Bracey. I am
generally in agreement that some tests like
the literacy and NAEP test are just too hard
to be the standard for everybody, and are used
to instill crisis when things are ok.


Check it out at:


http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/kbra9710.htm


25>>
From:             Lenna Mulka 
To:               "'arthurhu@halcyon.com'" 
Subject:          RE: Are these 4th, 7th or 10th grade assessment problems?
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 11:18:48 -0700


Mr Hu:


I forwarded you message to Gordon Ensign.  He will be back in the office
on Monday the 13th and will respond to your message as soon as he can.


Thank You,


Elizabeth Higley for Lenna Mulka
Commission on Student Learning
PO Box 47220
Olympia, WA  98504-7200
360/664-3155
360/664-0494 FAX
email: lmulka@ospi.wednet.edu


> ----------
> From: 	Arthur Hu
> Reply To: 	arthurhu@halcyon.com
> Sent: 	Tuesday, April 14, 1998 9:54 AM
> To: 	wa-esslrngs@whitecap.psesd.wednet.edu;
> wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu
> Subject: 	Are these 4th, 7th or 10th grade assessment problems?
> 
> OK, for starters. The 4th grade test is stated
> to assess skills at the 4th grade level. But
> if you check some of these sample problems against
> the 1997 benchmark document, they appear to be
> at higher levels. It would seem to be a pretty
> clear-cut right-answer wrong-answer problem.
> 
> Jeff Estes says he was on the
> committee that set the cut-scores, but the committee
> always assumed that the problems that were given to
> them were already set to the correct grade level.
> 
> It appears that no one checked the people who came
> up with the original problems.
> 
> The real 4th grade assessment is identical in difficulty
> and content to the sample assessments. Does anybody
> see a problem with including skills like application of
> proportionality or other skills mentioned specifically
> by the EALR benchmarks at higher grades? Isn't there
> an inconsistency here? If ratio, proportionality, and

> constructing symmetric figures is to be at the 4th grade
> level, why does the benchmark list it at the 7th grade
> level?
> 
> Can anybody help me here? Has anyone else checked the
> sample problems against the original benchmarks? 
> Is everyone completely satifified with the difficulty
> level of the assessment?
> 
> The math benchmarks are at
> http://cisl.ospi.wednet.edu/ComSL/MATHBMK.html
> 
> 
> Example: 1. 
> http://csl.wednet.edu/Web%20page/3%20Assessment%
> 20System/subdocuments/Pilot4/Samples/Math_1.html
> 
> Problem asks how to measure height of flagpole given a fire hydrant,
> shadows, and ruler. The answer is that the height of the flagpole is
> proportional to its shadow in the same ratio as the fire hydrant. The
> 7th grade test has a proportionality problem which asks whether the
> angles or the lengths of a slide change if the height is changed by a
> factor of two, so it is actually a SIMPLER problem since you don't
> have
> to guess that it is a proportionality problem at all.
> 
> 
> Benchmark says no proportionality at G4, 
> understand proportionality at G7, APPLY
> proportionality (and this problems doesn't even
> mention proportionality) is G10.
> 
>                G4                   G7                  G10
>                                     understand the      understand and
>                                     concepts of ratio   ***apply***
> the concepts
>             (blank)                 and direct          of ratio and
> both
>                                     proportion          direct and
>                                              indirect
> 
> ***proportion***
> 
> This is a 10th grade problem on this scale
> 
> 
> Example 2. This is from the sample problem book.

> 
> Construct a symmetric figure on a geoboard
> 
>                 G4                  G7                  G10
>                 understand          ***construct***     understand and
> use
>                 concepts of         symmetric,          properties of
>                 symmetry,           congruent, and      symmetry,
>                 congruence, and     similar figures     similarity,
> and
>                 similarity                              congruence
> 
> This is a G7 problem on this scale
> 
> I counted at least 40% of sample problems uses skills
> mentioned at 7th or 10th grade benchmarks. The 1st page of
> a sample college level SAT has about 80% problems compliant with
> the original benchmarks, and every problem is simpler than
> the corresponding problem in the assessment.
> 
> Shouldn't we be concentrating on having 100%
> of 4th graders mastering 100% of 4th grade
> material before we start assessing them on 7th and
> 10th grade material?
> 
> It is the official position of Gordon Ensign,
> Commision on Student Learning and Terry Bergeson
> that the tests only assess 4th grade material, and
> that the design process makes it impossible for
> over-grade content to appear on the test.
> 
> So how do we explain this?
> arthurhu@halcyon.com http://www.halcyon.com/arthurhu
> 


From:             John_Baughman@everett.wednet.edu (John Baughman)
To:               arthurhu@halcyon.com
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 08:35:04 -0800
Subject:          Standards/Performance-Based Movement
Organization:     Everett School District - For District Business Only


Hi, Arthur:


I appreciated your comments and share many of your concerns.  I am a
practicing elementary
teacher of some years who is very troubled by what may be unspoken
political/social agenda
underlying the movement and, if true, the effect this will have on the
education of our children.
(I have two school-age girls, myself.)


john-in-everett-wa-usa


26>>
To:               Dennis_Reese@msvl.wednet.edu (Dennis Reese)
Copies to:        Chriss_Burgess@msvl.wednet.edu (Chriss Burgess),
        Cathie_Hoiby@msvl.wednet.edu (Cathie Hoiby),
        Kathy_Pemberton@msvl.wednet.edu (Kathy Pemberton),
        Holly_McCaffree@msvl.wednet.edu (Holly McCaffree),
        arthurhu@halcyon.com
From:             Rick_Scriven@msvl.wednet.edu (Rick Scriven)
Send reply to:    Rick_Scriven@msvl.wednet.edu (Rick Scriven)
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 09:07:39 -0700
Subject:          Re: Fwd: Are these 4th, 7th or 10th grade assessment problems?
Organization:     Marysville School Dist.


>
>
>It is the official position of Gordon Ensign,
>Commision on Student Learning and Terry Bergeson
>that the tests only assess 4th grade material, and
>that the design process makes it impossible for
>over-grade content to appear on the test.
>
>So how do we explain this?
>arthurhu@halcyon.com http://www.halcyon.com/arthurhu


Although I am not as familiar with the benchmarks, I can recall that certain
problems on the test (and I assume you mean the Riverside) seemed way out of
reach for the average fourth grader. If there is a discrepancy, it should be
repaired immediately. Whose job is it to evaluate the test's relative grade
level, and then rewrite it? 
Marysville School District
Marysville, WA. USA




ordon ensign is in charge, and he and Terry
staunchly refuse to consider the possiblity
that they are so stupid that they never checked
the problems against the benchmarks. As Gordon
stated to me, if the commitee OK it, they must
be valid. But the commitee never had the chance
since they were told they were all compliant
to start with.


How can anybody look at what I posted and say
"well it's really at the 4th grade level"


27>>
Date sent:        Tue, 14 Apr 1998 23:41:34 -0400
To:               arthurhu@mail1.halcyon.com
From:             Cindy Omlin 
Subject:          Re: Intro to Arthur Hu and analysis of 4th Grade Assessment


>From: JB 
>To: Cindy Omlin 
>Subject: Re: Intro to Arthur Hu and analysis of 4th Grade Assessment
>
>I am really enjoying this EALR math and science discussion.Hu has a strong
>point! We (OSD) is a pilot test site for the state assessment tests! Wonder
>how we'll do. ?
>
>
>


Well, what would be a polite way of saying how
Mr Ensign and Ms Bergeson have done their job when
they have refused to even consider the possibility
that proportionality and independent probability are
NOT 4th grade skills according to their benchmarks, but
are being assessed on the test?


These are the people in charge, yet they are incapable
of a simple 4th grade level reading task. (which is
similar to a task they have in the reading section -
here's text over here, match it with the benchmark over
there)


What it is politely is professional incompetence, lots
of it, and its worse when 99.9% of the education
profession isn't any better than Bergeson or Ensign.
in their ability to take a critical look at these
tests.


Why is it that out of a state of 5 million people, I'm the
only guy that can figure this stuff out. Now THAT is a
measure of the true mathematical illiteracy when Bergeson
and Ensign can pull a fast one, and completely get 
away with it when only 1 in 5 million persons complains,
and they figure they can just ignore that 1 person.


> To:            arthurhu@halcyon.com
> From:          Chriss_Burgess@msvl.wednet.edu (Chriss Burgess)
> Reply-to:      Chriss_Burgess@msvl.wednet.edu (Chriss Burgess)
> Date:          Wed, 15 Apr 1998 14:08:46 -0700
> Subject:       Re: Fwd: Are these 4th, 7th or 10th grade assessment problems?
> Organization:  Marysville School Dist.


> Arthur; I am having a hard time with seeing who is stating what.  I am assuming
> that the last froward was written by you.   Please state your concern but leave
> the "namecalling" out of it...I resent these people being called "stupid". We
> all must work with committee's and I am sure that these committees have been
> assigned a task that speaks to your issues..If you want your ideas to be
> considered, then work, and speak professionally.  Believe me, you will get
> nowhere with this kind of jargon, and some of your ideas will not considered as
> a result of it.  Chriss Burgess 
> Marysville School District
> Marysville, WA. USA
> 
>


28>>
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 12:34:57 +0000
From:             Rena Mincks 
Send reply to:    rmincks@psd267.wednet.edu
Organization:     Pullman School District
To:               arthurhu@halcyon.com
Subject:          Ed Reform


Hello Arthur,


I was given your Introduction mailing this morning.  I read it and 
understand your concerns.  I hope that you are also in comunication 
with Barbara Chamberlain at the Commission on Student Learning.  She 
is the Chair of the Math Committee that helped set the standards, 
write the test problems, and draft the technical manuel for the 
Essential Academic Learning Requirements.  As both a classroom teacher 
and a parent and a student of assessment, I am very interested in all 
that you have to say.  I feel it is important as we look at 
performance based education and the tests that we continually keep in 
mind how important it is to not "water down" the curriculum.  We must 
be sure we are doing everything we possibly can for ALL students.  
They can no longer have successful lives by merely getting by.  They 
must thrive in all areas.  The committee that set the standards met 
after the operational test was given last yeara.  The committee was 
compiled of 4th grade teachers, 3rd grade teachers, community members, 
parents, and university professors.  They looked at what we were 
asking students to know and be able to do and said that the tests were 
appropriate and if students were going to be critical thinkers, 
problem solvers, and learn to communicate this test was appropriate.  
I would also like to add that this committee was not entirely the same 
as the committee that wrote the test items.  That committee was also 
classroom teachers, parents, community members and university 
professors also agreeing that indeed students need to know and do 
these types of things.  I thank you for your time and concern for 

children in the public schools.  You show a genuine concern and I 
encourage you to ask questions of the Commission on Student Learning, 
the Partnership for Learning, the Commission for Student Improvement 
and of course the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 
even Terry Bergeson herself.  We need to be checking on these things 
and our reform effort is a work in progress as we learn from the 
students and from each other.
29>>


From:             Lenna Mulka 
To:               "'arthurhu@halcyon.com'" 
Subject:          RE: Introduction: Arthur Hu
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 13:25:53 -0700


Mr Hu:


Your message has been forwarded to Kathy Kimball, Assistant Director of
the Commission on Student Learning.  


Thank You,


Elizabeth Higley for Lenna Mulka
Commission on Student Learning
PO Box 47220
Olympia, WA  98504-7200
360/664-3155
360/664-0494 FAX
email: lmulka@ospi.wednet.edu


> ----------
> From: 	Arthur Hu
> Reply To: 	arthurhu@halcyon.com
> Sent: 	Tuesday, April 14, 1998 9:54 AM
> To: 	wa-esslrngs@whitecap.psesd.wednet.edu;
> wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu
> Subject: 	Introduction: Arthur Hu
> 
> Hi, my name is Arthur Hu, I'm a MIT
> graduate and a software engineer by day, I've
> got 3 kids, 2 are starting in Lake Washington
> schools in pre and K levels.
 
30>>
From:             icemom@flash.net
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 15:43:06 -0700
Send reply to:    icemom@flash.net
Organization:     FlashNet Communications
To:               Jeanne Donovan 
Copies to:        Education Consumers Clearinghouse 
Subject:          Re: Too many gifted children?


Jeanne,


GT programs in Texas have been increasing their numbers for the past 15
years.  In the early 80's only 3% of students in most districts were
considered "gifted" based upon formulas provided by TEA.  Then the
number went to 5%, then 7% and then it was Katy bar the door.
The sharp increase, in my opinion, was based on the PC idea of not
wanting to exclude anyone--especially the ones who were claiming
exclusion based on PC reasons.  Then when the STW idea was taking hold
with the likes of Jack Christie, our esteemed State Board of Education
Chairman, this bunch saw this separating practice as a means of
accomplishing that 15/85 split between those shunted into academics and
those who get to go the vocational route.


If you check your current copy of *Snapshot,* you can easily see the
high numbers of GT students as that is a statistic that is included.


Probably the situation is out of hand, and school districts are just
trying to cut back to the 15-20% number.


Obviously, the 3% figure is an accurate designation for those students
who are truly GT.  If one does not score above the 96th percentile on a
legitimate standardized test, one really is not gifted. To have more
than that number in the programs that are provided means that the truly
GT students are not properly being served with an "appropriate"
education. But then, when did that situation bother anyone in education?


As for demographics playing a role in students' abilities, when I was a
teacher, my Hispanic and Asian students (I did not teach any African
American students) in El Paso were just as prevalent proportionally in
those lists of high IQ's as my Anglo students, and all of the students I
taught  were very middle class economically.  One is either hereditarily
very bright or one is not. Having had a mother that read to you helps a
lot, but it won't make anyone a genius!


Thanks for sharing the article--it should stimulate some good
discussion. And yes, I realize my opinion is not PC!


Mary McGarr
Katy, TX


EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE


31>>
All this talk about "critical thinking" is nuts
when it's clear that no one is capable of
truly critical thinking vs. jumping on the
latest bandwagon. Take the math MS attempt to
say that "of course they're 4th grade problems.


> Date:          Thu, 16 Apr 1998 06:45:02 +0000
> From:          Rena Mincks 
> Reply-to:      rmincks@psd267.wednet.edu
> Organization:  Pullman School District
> To:            arthurhu@halcyon.com
> Subject:       Re: Ed Reform


> WOW!  Good for your Arthur!  You have really done your homework.  I am 
> sorry that you are not getting any satisfactory answers.  You appear 
> to have a deep understanding of mathematics and have spent a great 
> deal of your own time examining these problems.  Please don't give up.  
> Educators realize that we must say things 7 to 9 times before students 
> "hear" us.  Please keep sending your message until there is clarity.  
> The reform and testing are all fairly new.  I know most educators want 
> what is best for children.  We can only accomplish this through team 
> work.  Let's work together to bring about success for all students on 
> those educational elements that are both essential and enduring.  
> Thanks again for your time, knowledge, effort and persistance.
>


 
32>> UN and School To Work logo
Date sent:        Thu, 16 Apr 1998 00:58:41 -0400
From:             JOE BOGGS 
Subject:          Our "growing global commuinity"


All,
I am NOT a conspiracy theorist . . . but (you knew there was a "but" coming
didn't you) I have become more and more deeply alarmed at the "global"
goals of all these educational "reforms", especially considering the U.N.
based origination of so many of them.  But when I try to share these facts
with "skeptical" civilians, they get that look in their eyes.  You know the
look, the one that says "Buddy, you just crossed over the line of
credibility.  I'm going to stand here and stare at you politely, ignore
everything you have to say from here on, and wait for a convenient chance
to courteously cut this off as soon as possible."  


Well, check out this site - http://www.stwnews.org/.  Obviously compiled by
some very-PRO STW types who apparently have been into it for a long time
based on the amount of information they have available.  Look closely at
the graphic.  It is two stars over a background of the U.N. Logo!  Not an
American flag, or an eagle, or a capitol building, or Mt. Rushmore,  or
even Bill Clinton!  It is very plainly the U.N. logo.  Shows their true
leanings doesn't it.  Just call me a conspiracy nut if you like.  


I just cringe every time I hear the kids in the Christian school my
daughter attends recite their school mission statement (did you recite your
school's mission statement?) and they get to the words about "becoming a
citizen in our growing global community."  I am very deeply troubled by the
fact that our kids are NOT being taught patriotism at all.  In fact, in
most circles, you mention that word today and someone will snicker.


Enough rambling.  Later,
Joe
EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE


33>>
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 20:40:55 -0800
From:             "James H. Klarich" 
To:               wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu
Subject:          Quote
Send reply to:    wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu


Mr. Rick Jennings,


A portion of a previous posting went unanswered.  I would like to hear
your opinion on this quote taken from the article on grade inflation in
the Sunday March 29 edition of the Yakima Herald Republic.  What I am
looking for is an explanation of what Terry Bergeson meant when she said
that teachers will not be required to assign grades based on how well
students meet the standards because, "that would drive them crazy."


So, teachers grade independant of the standards, but the state writes a
test based on the standards?  How will this work?


James H. Klarich
Toppenish High School


Arthur Hu


Look everybody, how useful is a test that would
force the state to give half of their students
an "E" based on their test results??. 50% of
students got a "1" on math, which means demonstrates
little or no skills expected at the 4th grade
level. That's not "A", "B", "C" or even a "D".
D means substandard, but the kid learned SOMETHING.
Learning next to nothing is a failing grade.


If we truly believe that this test is an accurate
measurement, then why are we giving half of our
kids a grade C or better? Which standard is valid,
the bottom 50% is most C or D with 5% failing, or
50% demonstrates little or no expected knowledge??


Isn't this proof that scoring 50% of kids with a "1"
means the test scoring is invalid? I know 99% of you 
out there back the test, but do you realize this is
what you are supporting?? Anyone who fails fewer than 
5% of normal kids, but suppports a "1" for half his
or her kids is lying about the validity of either the
grades or test scores.






Isn't it silly or just plain stupid to talk about
"what all students are expected to know" if we 
don't start expecting them to know it until 10 years
from now?? What kind of a math standard are we
setting if a kid that can completely master any
standard 4th grade textbook backwards and forwards
at 100% accuracy is still guaranteed to flunk
this test, and Bergeson even admits this??


It's a worthless standard, isn't it? What the heck
is wrong with setting expectations at the 50th

percentile, and then challenging students to 
score higher than that if they want to be at the
top?? Why is it so important to have a test that
fails 80% of white kids and 95% of black kids, and
then ignore it because it has absolutely no 
consequences except that they're going to spend
20% of the school year teaching kids how to solve
problems they deliberately won't be taught how
to sove, and how to write math answers in 
complete sentences to problems that don't have
one correct answer, or require guessing because
there isn't even one correct answer.








> Date:          Wed, 15 Apr 1998 20:40:55 -0800
> From:          "James H. Klarich" 
> To:            wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu
> Subject:       Quote
> 



34>>
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 20:14:01 -0800
From:             "James H. Klarich" 
To:               Rick Jennings 
Copies to:        wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu
Subject:          Re: First I have heard of it!
Send reply to:    wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu


Mr. Rick Jennings wrote...


Jim, et all I have about a 4-page word document that I would be happy
to send to you by attachment. This is an exposition for a project I
am currently working on - STREAM - which is designed to develop
training materials for districts that are looking at adopting one of
the NSF-funded high school math curricula.  I wrote this about 3
years ago so some of it may be dated. It attempts to make some of the
arguments about changing the curriculum. If you want me to send you
an attachment just e-mail me and I would be happy to receive your
comments on it. I think it is a bit too long to put on the listserve.


rick


I read your paper.  Where is the proof that this will work for all the
students?  As a television charactar I remember once said "Just the
facts".  Where is the data to support your position?  What I have to
relate to is my own experience.  In 1991 our district had adopted the
University of Chicago math series.  I watched our college bound students
go from being prepared to take calculus when they reached college to
being placed in pre-college math at the University of Washington.  This
was all done in the name of keeping more students in math for a longer
period of time.  The students stayed in math longer but at the cost of
performance.  I am not convinced by your paper.  Please show me where
this new approach is working.



James H. Klarich
Toppenish High School


35>>
Date sent:        Wed, 15 Apr 1998 20:06:46 -0800
From:             "James H. Klarich" 
To:               wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu
Subject:          Finally respond
Send reply to:    wa-math-sci@mickey.esd113.wednet.edu


Rick Jennings wrote...I think at first that 25% will be hard to
achieve...especially if we keep battling about whether we should even be
doing it and not paying attention
to how it might be possible to help the students.
Along with the fear and anger maybe we could spend some time on how this
assessment is different than what we are used to in school.


I have trouble with these statements.  First of all, 25% will be hard to
achieve?  That means that most of your students will not graduate.
Second of all, do not question the experts, we have already decided what
is best so don't question what has already been decided.


Rick Jennings wrote...First there are some things on the benchmarks that
won't even be
tested....those that are better assessed in the classroom environment.
There
are a few things that are new to many, i.e., some way to decide what an
appropriate model for a set of data might be or some basic probability.
I
think you will find, however, that much of what we teach now is also
being
assessed on the test.


Unfortunately most of the items which they are attempting to test are
the things which are better tested in the classroom environment.  The
crtitical thinking questions using a variety of resources involving such
a wide variety of possible responses are better tested in the
classroom.  The more traditional type of questions are much more easily,
cheaply, and reliably tested on a statewide exam.


Rick Jennings wrote...The perceived difference is that students will
need to be able to argue, in some fashion, why they did what they did.
This argument can be using
algebra, geometry, logic, or some other mathematical construct. If a
student
is asked to answer a question in which the resulting model is 2x + 7 =
16
and then asked to solve this model, they may be asked to give some
rational
for how they arrived at this model and also asked to solve it. Is that
so
much different than what we do now? Is it possible to get students to
justify what they are doing, rather than just rotely do things they have
been shown without knowing why the heck they did them? Isn't that what
we
are about?


I do agree that reasoning and explanations should be tested.  I simply
do not believe that this should be the major focus of the entire state
exam.  Perhaps if it were a couple of questions I would feel better and
believe in the test more.


Rick Jennings wrote...Will students be upset when they are asked to do
this? Of course...at first anyway...but they can, and should be able to,
understand what they are doing
rather than just doing...And most students WILL have problems doing this
if
we don't ask them to do this in their classwork.
There really are not THAT many new mathematical concepts on the tests...


No there are not THAT many.  Would you agree that there has been a
couple of layers added to the classroom curriculum?  So now we still
need to do everything we did before as well as these new approaches.
All so that 25% of our students can graduate.


James H. Klarich
Toppenish High School


Arthur:


This is great, keep it up.


Maybe you take a look at my ed deform and
assessment web page at


http://www.leconsulting.com/arthurhu/index/washtest.htm


where I've clearly listed all of the out-of-grade
problems being put on the exam. They are clearly
relying on the fact that nobody has checked these
for compliance, and nobody cares even when somebody like
me does and complains.


The problems is making sure everybody meets the
old standards, it's nuts to raise the standards
5 grade levels as is exepected on the new tests.


The kids who are 2 graded levels behind are
really going to left up a creek without a paddle
with problems that flunk anybody who's not in
the top 20%.


Doesn't anybody realize there is a problem with
promising that everybody will be able to pass if
we teach to the test when no one, not even
a controlled experiment with brilliant kids has
EVER been able to demonstrate this? Are you all
willing to wait until "time will tell"?? How
is this different from closing your eyes,
clicking your heels twice and reciting "all 
children will succeed"???

36>> math central
From:             CMMEHuss 
Date sent:        Thu, 16 Apr 1998 17:28:30 EDT
To:               ghoffman@bellatlantic.net, education-consumers@tricon.net
Subject:          Re: Math Central


Gloria,


     I sat through a presentation on Math Central last Nov. None of the
teachers that went to it with me liked it at all.  Our general impression was
that it had too many pictures and too little work.  One teacher found several
obvious math mistakes. (6x1=7, for example)  Some of the older teachers noted
that it covered much less in the 4th and 5th grade level than what they felt
it should.  It was a universal "thumbs down" from us.


Mary Ellen Huss
EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE


Date sent:        Thu, 16 Apr 1998 11:02:28 -0400
From:             Gloria Hoffman 
Send reply to:    ghoffman@bellatlantic.net
To:               Mike McKeown ,
        Education Consumers Association 
Subject:          Re: Math Central






Our math consultant is presenting "Math Central" to our PTO next week.
She presented the program to the PTO at a friend's school this week.  My
friend told me the PTO parents were not happy with the program.  The
program seems to be about a year behind the program we are using now.
My friend said the first chapter in the second grade book was the
numbers 1-10.  She also said there were not enough practice problems on
the pages either.  I noticed the books seemed to have a lot of pictures
on the pages.  The parents thought the enrichment program should be used
as the regular program rather than as enrichment.  Our district is
"developmentally appropriate" so it fits the design of the DAP program I
am afraid.  ( Dumbing It Down)  Our math consultant told parents that
research has shown that  the children learn more from doing basic facts
on a calculator than through drill and practice.  I hope the district
does not renew this woman's contract next year.  She teaches at  Penn
State University so I can only imagine what she tells the students  who
come to her for direction on teaching math to children.  This woman
wrote the math standards for our district also.  In her first draft of
standards she thought first graders should only be required to master
the recognition of a penny.


I think I am going to call Houghton Mifflin and ask for information on
the program.  The math consultant told the parents Math Central was the
most rigorous of all the programs offered.  We are using an old edition
of Addison-Wesley (1989) and I think maybe we should just hold onto that
program.


Does anyone know what math program is considered the best on the
market?   My daughter is using Saxon Math at her  parochial school.  (I
have one child in public and one in parochial now.)  The district did
look at Saxon, but were afraid that parents could not accept a program
without a textbook.    Not very good salespeople are they?  I think if
you really believe in a program you should be able to sell it to
parents.  My daughter has a love of math now because of the Saxon
program.  Of course this district is not ever going to approve a program
that suggests rote and drill are essential to learning math.


Has anyone  found any info on the Math Central program?  I do not think
it is fuzzy, but maybe just not rigorous enough.


Gloria Hoffman


EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE


37>>
This not a grass roots reform. Every
grass roots web page is AGAINST reform!
Is it a coincidence that every page pushing
reform and the new assesments is funded by
the education industry? How can parents like
me fight a megabuck public relations blitz
when papers give front page coverage, 
but won't quote a single critic of reform?


It's a top down reform engineered by our
unelected secretary of Education Reform, Marc
Tucker of the NCEE,and we're still following the pattern
laid down by him when he first visited Seattle
in 1991 to propose this test.


It is a major scam that this is made to look like
a bottom up thing that parents demanded. The 
parents demand BASIC SKILLS, not this stuff being
pedalled by Marc Tucker, and Bergeson, our local
sales rep for this stuff.


Has everybody on this list hear of Marc Tucker? I'll
bet 99% of the public and 90% of teachers have never
heard of the guy.


If not, he's the architect of this whole movement,
and you really need to look at the chronology
of ed reform in this state. We has since
terminated our contract with him, but are
still following his plans.


BTW, Tucker is pedaling the New Standards tests,
which are even HARDER than our tests (thank god,
at least our committees had SOME effect).10th
graders are asked to estimate the volume of a soda
bottle, the solution has a 2-view dimensioned
drawing and formulas for the volume of a sphere,
cylindeer, and truncated frustrum of a cone.
Yeah, right. All high school students should
know this stuff??????


this is posted at:
http://www.leconsulting.com/arthurhu/index/edreform.htm#washington




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