Monday, April 17, 2006

Here comes CAS

The Post has an article about DCPS's new standardized exams that are replacing the previously used Stanford 9 tests: the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System.
Students will notice a key difference on the new test: In addition to multiple-choice questions, it includes many "constructed response" questions, requiring them to explain in three or four sentences how they arrived at their answers. The Stanford 9 test was entirely multiple choice.

The Stanford 9 analyzed the performance of D.C. students based on the achievement of their peers across the country. The new exam will bring the system into compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind law, which requires systems to replace such "norm-referenced" tests with exams that measure students against what they are taught in their classrooms.

The federal requirement went into effect last year, and the D.C. system had to pay a $123,000 fine for missing the deadline. D.C. school officials said they needed the extra year to align the new exam with reading and math standards, curricula and textbooks introduced in the fall.

D.C. CAS's short-answer questions will allow schools to gauge higher-thinking skills, said Bill Caritj, assistant superintendent for educational accountability and assessment. "You can ask the students to analyze and compare," Caritj said. "We want them to describe what clues suggest what an author's purpose is. We want to try to get them to think for themselves."



That is all fine a good, but will this prove they actually now anything more than previous.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know how well of a starndard assessment tool the test could be. Our youth are not prepared for the next day better yet the next year or standard test. We need to support or teachers all year--not just when a test is coming. Or teachers will not be fairly judged because the system has failed to provided true technical assistance and fundin for accountability messures place on their profession. More and more teachers--good, young, teachers are fleeing form the profession. Youth development workers are forced to deal with issues parents are not aware of or savvy enough to figure out. Special education is not special and regular education kids are not in regular classroom environments. When will DC see that standard test are the main loop hole the kids get through. Whta happens if a student does not score "basic" on this test. Nothing--DC schools are fill with undiagnosed MR and LD kids. Let try having a test that is given to them where they have a chance.