Bill Hangley Jr.on Dec 8, 2015 02:09 PM
Pennsylvania’s long-running standardized test cheating investigation is now well into its fifth year, and officials say there’s still no end in sight.
But even as investigations continue, Congress now stands on the brink of major revisions to the law that many blame for widespread adult cheating on high-stakes tests: the No Child Left Behind Act.
Dale Mezzacappaon Dec 7, 2015 12:33 PM
Around noon on Wednesdays, the beating of African drums reverberates throughout all five floors of FACTS Charter School in Chinatown.
It’s ensemble time, a staple of the curriculum at FACTS, which stands for Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures. There are six types to choose from, including martial arts, Indonesian dance, and Chinese opera.
Bill Hangley Jr.on Dec 1, 2015 01:20 PM
When it comes to standardized testing, Helen Gym and Bill Green may not exactly be on the same page, but they’ve both been reading the same book.
“It’s like any pendulum – has it swung too far in favor of standardized tests? Probably,” said Green, the reform-minded School Reform Commission member and champion of data-driven decisions.
Fabiola Cineason Nov 30, 2015 12:14 PM
In Pennsylvania, the PSSAs and Keystones are probably the most familiar standardized tests, in part because of the high stakes associated with them.
But students in the School District of Philadelphia take a number of other assessments each year whose names are less well-known. Some help identify for the teacher that a child is not making sufficient progress in learning to read, and others pinpoint why.
A former testing coordinator at Chester Community Charter School, the state’s largest bricks-and-mortar charter with more than 3,000 students, has been sanctioned by the state for “systemic violations of the security of the PSSA exams” over the five-year period between 2007 and 2011.
The school was under scrutiny for testing irregularities by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as part of a statewide cheating scandal that broke in 2011.
Bill Hangley Jr.on Nov 25, 2015 05:29 PM
Growing up in China, Janet Zheng got used to taking tests. But she also got used to getting the preparation she needed from her classes, which is why the American system makes no sense to her.
“You take this much test,” she said, holding her hands apart, “with this little knowledge,” pulling them together.
High-stakes standardized tests are falling out of favor. From President Obama and Congress to School District leaders, we are finally hearing recognition of the unintended consequences of over-testing and overemphasizing test results.
Philadelphia schools have lived through 20 years of test-based accountability. At first, it involved rewards and some punishments for schools based on standardized test scores.
Eric Joselynon Nov 25, 2015 01:01 PM