Please Join Today!
view counter

Help the Notebook as we examine standardized testing in Pa.

By Paul Socolar on Nov 6, 2015 06:16 PM

The debate about standardized testing has taken center stage in recent weeks, with the Obama administration acknowledging that its policies have contributed to a climate of overtesting in schools.

The Notebook's December print edition will take a deeper look at the role and impact of standardized testing in Pennsylvania. We've kicked off our coverage with online stories on recent national developments, the latest PSSA exam results, and the trends on the national NAEP exam.

And we need your help!

This is a hot-button issue that affects everyone involved in schools. We will be exploring topics like the requirement that students pass Keystone exams to graduate from high school, the use of test scores in teacher evaluation, cheating on standardized tests, teaching to the test, the opt-out movement, and the Black-White test score gap.

If you have information you would like to share, or if you would like to be interviewed for this edition, please let us know by filling out the attached, confidential form.

Click Here
view counter

Comments (18)

Submitted by Public Schools Matter (not verified) on November 6, 2015 7:28 pm

Paul this is a great idea. Standardized testing is a captive market, fake science, money maker. Moreover, it is worsening the resegregation of students. Those who can pay a private or parochial school are EXEMPT from taking state standardized tests. This is so insulting to children who attend public schools who have no systemic exemptions available to them. In other words, the poor tests and the better off go to a ceramics class on state mandated days. Remarkably, the parochial school especially exhibit a level of hypocrisy that is shameful. This is due to the fact that they recieve PUBLIC MONIES, for textbooks, expendables, etc. and still claim their exemption from state mandated tests because they are NOT public schools. In addition, they also PAY NO TAXES as apendages of a religious organization, while still recieving monies from the rest of the P U B L I C! Private schools have a better scam yet. They can recieve monies from private corporations who can then claim a tax credit, think of the three cretins that financed the ill fated Anthony Williams for mayor campaign, while funding their buddies and starving competing public schools. I personally think that the worst of America's enemies, i.e. the British, could not come up with such a greedy, undermining scheme of American youth like standardized tests. Oh wait, Pearson, the stae mandated standardized test maker and publisher par excellence is based in London. Where are FDR or Eisenhower when you need them!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 8, 2015 11:51 am

I wish I could like this post 1,000 times.  You nailed it and are clearly one of the few intelligent people that get what is really going on.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on November 7, 2015 1:31 pm

Great! There is no issue of greater public concern today than the misuse of standardized tests.

Paul, guess what I just learned, and what you and the Notebook should be proud of --

"The U.S. Supreme Court has reiterated time and time again, 'free and unhindered debate on matters of public importance' is 'the core value of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.' " Pickering v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. at 573.


I just learned that while researching and writing a brief on the First Amendment rights of teachers. It was quoted by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the Fran Dougherty case against the school district. Cool huh?



Submitted by WHY??? (not verified) on November 7, 2015 5:50 pm

Why only the "Black-White" score gap?  The Asian  - everyone scores gap is very real in Philly.  Look at Central and Masterman.  Central is nearly 35% Asia in a District that is 8% Asian.  It is 23.4% white is a District that is 14% white.  Masterman is 28% Asian and 40% white.  Entrance in these schools is based on test scores.  The students who are least likely to be in high test score magnets are Latino.  

If you are going to look at the "score gap," do it honestly and completely.

Submitted by Paul Socolar on November 7, 2015 8:00 pm

Agreed: a fuller and more accurate description of the topic referenced would be race and class disparities in test scores. But the above was not intended to be a complete list of the topics we hope to explore.

Is there some reason one would think the Notebook would approach this topic dishonestly?

Submitted by WHY??? (not verified) on November 7, 2015 9:00 pm

Framing it "Black - white" is not honest especially in Philadelphia.  I'm glad The Notebook is going to look at race and class more broadly as it pertains to test scores.  I think it is also worth looking at gender.  There are far more males in neighborhood schools than most magnets.  

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on November 8, 2015 8:46 am

Yes. There are several topics which should be explored. The disparity in standardized test scores between different segments of our populations alone is one for rich discussion and debate. What are the barriers and causal effects?

We have never in our history of standardized testing overcome the socioeconomic correlation of test scores.

Two of the issues which are important to understand as I see it from my eyes as an experienced reading specialist and reading diagnostician, are,

(1) The fact that the present tests are never used to measure and track the individual growth of student reading ability. They are only used to label schools. Why is that?

(2) The lack of validity and reliability of the tests used. They do not measure at all whether a student reads on grade level; they use arbitrary and meaningless cut score classifications which are not valid classifications. What are the norms for each grade tested? How do the tests define "proficiency" and do the scores accurately correlate to whether students actually are proficient? No one has ever done such "behavioral" and "correlational" studies.

As I said time and time again -- norm referenced scores are far more useful in discussion of any of the topics which we will discuss in this much needed public discussion. Yet we have no such norm referenced reports.



Submitted by phaghag on November 8, 2015 7:47 am

What about allowing Spanish-speaking students to take the PSSA Math portion in Spanish? How is that not unethical and inequitable when there are no tests in other languages like Russian, Chinese, Arabic, etc.? Give EVERYONE the test in ENGLISH. Besides, who's to say these students who have a PSSA Math test in Spanish will be able to read it? Last year translators were assigned to schools with ELL students who have been in the USA three years or less. They were allowed to read the Math portion to the students. Who's to say they didn't give answers? Also, parents are allowed to preview the test but the translators were not. So if there is an English word that is not translatable, what happens? Testing 1st year ELL students for "participation purposes" is a crock. It's mental abuse. Also, testing SPED students on their grade level and NOT on their government-mandated IEP level is criminal and a form of mental torture.

Submitted by garfield (not verified) on November 30, 2015 10:51 pm
If some one needs to be updated with hottest technologies then he must be pay a quick visit this web page and be up to date everyday. Cricket Betting Tips Golf Swing Tips
Submitted by العاب باربي (not verified) on July 29, 2016 11:12 am

good share! thanks!

العاب تلبيس

Submitted by Pervez74 (not verified) on November 5, 2016 1:53 pm

Fantastic material by people, male. I’ve understand ones factors previous to therefore you are simply just far too brilliant. I adore what exactly exhibiting here. At this point follow-up payday loans  People allow it to become amusing therefore you however seem to hold the item clever.

Submitted by waw (not verified) on December 3, 2016 4:11 am

اهلا بكم في افضل موقع العاب تلبيس ومكياج جديدة هيا الان استمتعو في موقعنا الدي يضم اجمل و اروع العاب تلبيس بنات

ايضا يمكنكم الاستمتاع باروع العاب طبخ بنات ,,,,,

Play Now friv Games 2017 ,, !!!

Submitted by dipika mishra (not verified) on May 31, 2017 2:01 am

Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more—over the Internet (“the cloud”). Companies offering these computing services are called cloud providers and typically charge for cloud computing services based on usage, similar to howCloud Computing Basics working of cloud computing drawbacks of cloud computing top cloud computing service providers amazon aws pricing how does the cloud work cloud computing tutorial for learning companies for cloud computing types of cloud computing public private hybrid advantages and disadvantages of cloud computimg top 10 applications of cloud computing cloud computing providers examples of cloud storage you are billed for water or electricity at home.

Submitted by Wendy Long (not verified) on July 28, 2017 3:12 am

This project will create fairness in testing for students. Thanks for sharing the article, I can get much news from here.
rolling sky

Submitted by pro kabaddi league season 5 (not verified) on August 10, 2017 12:49 am

pro kabaddi league 2017 season 5

Submitted by larry (not verified) on December 9, 2017 4:51 am

here is best collection of happy new year 2018 gif wish you a happy new year new year messages 2018 happy new year wishes for lover new year status for whatsapp

Submitted by Triveni Chugh (not verified) on February 11, 2018 11:54 am

Keep on sharing more information April 2018 Calendar Template May 2018 Calendar Template June 2018 Calendar Template

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Follow Us On

Read the latest print issue

Philly Ed Feed

Recent Comments


Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy