Archive for September, 2010

Daily News Op-Ed: Down the Road for the New School Year

September 14, 2010
Here's What to Expect Down the Road for New School Year

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TESTING-GATE

September 4, 2010

Testimony of David C. Bloomfield

Before the Panel for Educational Policy, NYC Dept. of Education

August 30, 2010

TESTING-GATE

Thank you for this opportunity.  My name is David Bloomfield, Professor and Chair of the Education Department at the College of Staten Island, CUNY and a former President of the Citywide Council on High Schools, an elected parent body.  These remarks are my own and not necessarily the policy of either of these institutions.

I testify today under the title, “Testing-Gate,” because the recent confirmation by Prof. Koretz that New York State test scores have long been inflated comes as no surprise to those who have followed the issue.  Though the State and City have now publicly recognized, at least in part, the past and present problem, they are not absolved from the real harm caused by this practice nor of the need to implement institutional reforms to avoid similar disasters.

Harm:

Testing-Gate has caused real harm to students, parents, and taxpayers.  Thousands of students were denied access to remedial instruction because of the false positive of inflated test scores, incorrectly putting them over the threshold of proficiency.  It is not enough to say they still made progress, since they, their parents, and the public were lulled into a false sense of complacency and even success.   And since the test score inflation was not uniform, some schools unjustly suffered and others were unjustly rewarded through the DOE’s system of test-based carrots and sticks.  Finally, public policy was perverted as charter school students and Black and Latino students were disproportionally mis-categorized as proficient.  Reparations should not be out of the question to help correct the damage already done.

Reform:

Two sensible solutions are apparent to avoid future Testing-Gates.  The first is to end the current over-reliance and reductionist dependence on State tests to determine student placements, progress report grades, school closures, merit-based compensation schemes, and other high stakes outcomes of the standardized testing culture.   State and city officials must show restraint and humility in using these instruments and diversify the current testing monoculture.

Second, independent testing review boards made up of acknowledged experts, not political pawns, need to be created at the State and City levels.  Standardized testing is appropriate and of long-standing utility.  But in today’s climate of high stakes utilization of test data, we need un-muzzled watchdogs to make sure that the tests, their scoring, and their applications are fair and appropriate.

Thank you.

Contact:

Prof. David C. Bloomfield

718-877-6353 (cell)

davidcbloomfield@gmail.com