28 October 2014

Colorado Renames State Standardized Tests Again

In yet another puzzling and useless development pretending to be education reform, Colorado has renamed its state standardized tests again for the third time since my kids entered the public education system in the state. First, we had the CSAPs. Then, they were called the TCAPs. Now, they are called the CMAS.
The assessments are called the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS for short. These statewide tests replace the former statewide exams known as the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) and the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP).
The CMAS will serve the same purpose as the TCAPs and CSAPs, but will have a different set of four levels of grades with different cutoffs to achieve each of the four ratings, to keep us on our toes and to prevent us from making apples to apples comparisons for long time periods.

In principle, the CMAS will not be graded on a curve to the same extent as the prior renditions. But, since the tests are used to evaluate schools rather than having any role in educating kids, it really doesn't matter how they are graded.

Here's a prediction for you: the relative performance of kids, income groups, ethnic groups, schools and school within school programs on these tests will be almost exactly the same as they were when the tests were called the TCAPs and the CSAPs.  In physics, we call this a gauge symmetry.  In education, we call this shifting deck chairs on the Titanic.

1 comment:

Dave Barnes said...

Cover MY Ass