DR. SUE SAYS, STOP MANIPULATION (DUMBING) OF IOWA'S NEW STUDENT ASSESSMENT
Greetings, Iowa Legislature Education Committees and all—
Iowa’s Department of Education recently selected the American Institutes for Research student assessment as discussed in detail on website http://www.iowalive.net/studentassessmentiowa.htm . Unfortunately, unless stopped up front, educators will now ‘develop’, which means to manipulate (dumb) the new assessment tests to be compatible with Iowa’s lowest in the Midwest student proficiency standard, http://iowalive.ipower.com/howandwhyiowagotalowproficiencystandard.htm --rather than raising it from the 40th to the 65th National Percentile Rank (NPR) where it should be. This low standard lets school officials inflate (lie about) the number of students claimed proficient as shown on website http://www.iowalive.net/readingallstested15-16.htm . And just as bad, schools didn’t meet the low standard and got waivers. And there are more shortcomings.
Iowa’s shortcomings in its teacher training programs and low standards are further reflected in its ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) plan. Due to the use of ineffective methods in teacher training programs, coupled with low standards, Iowa is failing to make sufficient progress not only in student proficiencies but also in closing the achievement gaps. ESSA requires educators to be held accountable for results, but Iowa educators are accustomed to sidestepping accountability by falsely accusing students and their parents as being to blame for low proficiencies, rather than defective methods. The extent to which this bias remains as part of education in Iowa, the standards cannot be raised and the achievement gaps will not close as they are in other states that out-perform Iowa. Website http://www.iowalive.net/atkinsonresearchednaep.htm shows Iowa’s NAEP proficiency levels to be significantly low for 8th-grade reading and math.
As legislators you must, and can, put a stop to educator’s dumbing and lying. You must insist on honesty in school and student performance and proficiency reporting. You must reject any assessments that show a higher percentage of Iowa students proficient than are reported proficient by NAEP or are based on the 65th National Percentile Rank (NPR). Even though NAEP has been dumbed, it is the best Gold Standard available. However, you as legislators can require Iowa educators to raise the NPR proficiency level to the 65th level and/or the NAEP reference standard to at least 15% better than NAEP proficiencies. For example, NAEP 2015 reports 33% of Iowa 8th grade students proficient in reading. The 15% better Iowa proficiency assessment standard would report 15% fewer proficient which would be 28% proficient. This would show the governor, other legislators, parents and taxpayers what is really going on in Iowa K-12 education.
Let the uproar begin!!
And ask yourselves these questions and consider why they are so relevant.
· Have you seen the Register reporting on the low proficiency standard Iowa uses? All they report is the percent proficient, with no reference whatsoever to the low standards used to inflate the results.
· Have you seen the Register reporting on the December 2016 assessment from the National Council on Teacher Quality on Iowa’s elementary teacher training programs, pointing out that all but one of Iowa’s teacher training programs uses the wrong materials for reading; only the programs associated with engineering programs use the right materials for math; most of the training programs use the wrong materials for classroom content; and still only four of the programs use all five of the reading concepts?
· Have you seen the Register reporting on the May 2017 assessment from the National Council on Teacher Quality on Iowa’s high school teacher training programs, pointing out that proficiency results are being held back by the poor quality of the elementary programs; and not all of the programs are using the right materials?
· Have you seen the Register reporting on the billions of dollars wasted because Iowa educators have used the wrong materials for decades, have lowered standards, and have falsely blamed the students who could not succeed in this dysfunction?
Sue Atkinson, PhD
P. O. Box 301
Baxter IA 50028
Iowalive A growing network of volunteer citizens and professionals for improving Iowa