January 21, 1989 |
We have not learned easily to live with the power of numbers since Isaac Newton put science and mathematics into our soul 400 years ago. School reformers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania share Newton's belief in numbers without his insight. The governors and the legislatures in these states, blinded by the aura of science, falsely reason this way: Science uses numbers. Numbers make things scientific. Education is an unscientific mess. If we put numbers on this mess we can be objective (scientific)
February 16, 1997 |
Administrators studying testing in the Council Rock School District have discovered a phenomenon. They call it the "Lake Wobegon effect," after humorist Garrison Keillor's fictional hometown, where "all the children are above average. " The effect shows up frequently in results of district achievement testing. Large numbers of Council Rock students regularly record top scores. But that has a downside - one that administrators hope to correct. With scores largely in the top percentile, the 11,600-student district has trouble distinguishing students who are doing well from those who need help, said Robert James, the district's acting director of secondary education.
May 9, 1991 |
With a tray of vegetables to the right of her work station, Beatrice Simmons of Glassboro slices mushrooms with the quick precision of a chef. In an elaborately equipped kitchen at Gloucester County Vocational and Technical School, Simmons and a handful of other students in white smocks were in the midst of the hands-on portion of an achievement test that could make or break their plans for a career in the culinary world. But she and her group had more reason to feel jittery.
January 17, 1997 |
School Superintendent David Hornbeck distributed his first set of grades on Philadelphia schools yesterday. There weren't many passing grades. Hornbeck released scores on the city's 257 public schools under his newly designed "professional responsibility index. " It gives each school a single grade based on achievement tests, promotion and graduation rates, and student and staff attendance. The index put numbers on what local educators have known for years: Students in poorer, crime-ridden neighborhoods generally attend school less, have lower grades and drop out of high school in higher numbers.
October 11, 1994 |
It is evident, except apparently to most U.S. parents, that in science and math, American students perform well below their peers in most developed countries. For instance, the average 10- to 11-year-old is about two years behind his peer in Taiwan or Japan in mathematics. The government's watered- down Goals 2000 legislation, intended to jack up our performance, will not do enough to change this dismal picture. Among professionals at the elementary and secondary school level, there is growing recognition and concern about our failings.
March 5, 1997 |
City Council members covered a lot of territory at yesterday's hearing on the School District's budget. They spent more time talking about educational issues than dollars. Councilwoman Anna Verna spoke about the rape of a student at Barratt Middle School last week, and parents who said they feared for their children's safety there because of previous incidents. "I just think it's absolutely deplorable that parents are afraid to send their children to this school," Verna said.
August 6, 1987 |
During the next four years, the Ridley School District will expand school cultural programs, consider revising achievement tests and try to distribute students more equally among its nine school buildings, administrators have pledged in a new long-range plan. The plan, unanimously accepted by the school board Monday night, comes after a year of meetings by district administrators, teachers and parents. To encourage planning in Pennsylvania school districts, the state Department of Education requires that such plans be adopted every five years.
September 29, 1997 |
Philadelphia's 257 public schools are slated to get their annual report cards today. In each, Superintendent David Hornbeck will grade students and educators, based on achievement test scores, student and staff attendance, promotion rates and high school graduation rates. The biggest part of the grade is based on achievement tests given to fourth- , eighth- and 11th-graders in the last two school years. Three weeks ago, Hornbeck announced that the number of students getting passing marks in mathematics, science and reading achievement tests had increased by at least five percentage points between 1996 and 1997.
March 7, 2012 |
With one in five city schools now under investigation for possible cheating on state achievement tests, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission on Tuesday announced the appointment of a "testing integrity adviser" to help address past allegations and guide future exam procedures. David Adamany, a former president of Temple University, will serve in the unpaid post starting immediately. The next round of the achievement tests, known as PSSAs, begins Monday. Adamany, who said he had been "personally very distressed to see the condition of the Philadelphia public schools over the years," said the district must restore credibility concerning the exams.
May 1, 2011
David L. Kirp is a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeleym and the author of Kids First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming Children's Lives and America's Future At this time of year, students across the nation are diligently prepped for the dread exams mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. The fate of thousands of public schools turns on how well their charges do. Now there's a study that appears to show that a...