Yo, Stop Jivin’: New Accountability is Retro— Still Rockin Tests

Zoinks! With gobs of kangblabla Michael Williams, current Texas Education Commissioner and former Railroad Commissioner, recently announced the 2013 Texas Accountability approach:

I have heard the criticism of the previous accountability system, with its overemphasis on a school’s lowest performing areas and its blind spot to what a district or charter might be doing well…The new system makes use of multiple indicators to provide parents and taxpayers a more detailed overview of the successes, as well as areas of necessary improvement, for each school district, charter and campus.

Is he yanking our chain?

Let’s pardy hardy and play a drinking game (and pass the j). You take a shot of tequila every time the “new” accountability system includes the use of a test. Cool?

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Whats the skinny? Here is the new system.

  • Student Achievement – Represents a snapshot of performance across all subjects, on both general [drink] and alternative assessments [drink], at an established performance standard [drink]. (All Students [drink])
  • Student Progress – Provides an opportunity for diverse campuses to show improvements [drink] made independent of overall achievement levels [drink]. Growth [drink] is evaluated by subject [drink] and student group [drink](All Students  [drink]; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity [drink]; English Language Learners [drink]; Special Education [drink])
  • Closing Performance Gaps – Emphasizes advanced academic achievement [drink] of the economically disadvantaged student group [drink] and the lowest performing race/ethnicity student groups [drink] at each campus [drink] or district [drink]. (All Students [drink]; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity [drink])
  • Postsecondary Readiness – Includes measures of high school completion [drink— 15 times because you have to pass 15 tests to graduate], and beginning in 2014, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) performance at the postsecondary readiness standard [drink]. This measure emphasizes the importance of students receiving high school diplomas that provide the foundation necessary for success in college, the workforce, job training programs or the military. (All Students [drink]; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity [drink]; English Language Learners [drink]; Special Education [drink])

Wowzers. Williams really knows how to get down with tests. fo’ sh”izz”le. Ok, nix the tequila idea— that many shots would be bogue. This is test-city. Williams, take a chill pill on the tests man.

Bummer. Instead of multiple measures and less emphasis on testing, Williams is rockin tests in even more ways than before. What a fry! He is harshing my mellow! Here are the  “Commissioner of Education’s Final Decisions. Zetus-Lapeduz! Thats jive man.

To the “reformers” that are thinking that I am an anti-reformer: There are mucho wackoid ideas out there than bogarting Pearson company STAAR tests scores 39 ways into an doggish “index” and calling it multiple indicators. No duhHow about Community-Based Accountability, a zooky-zooky multiple measures approach derived from the local level rather than the commissioner’s office or DC? Can you dig it?

Catch you on the flip~side 4-sho.  A.F.A. Peace, love and granola.

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