Thursday, April 18, 2013

LEAP sample questions blind side teachers, raise questions

Teachers are starting to get a glimpse of what awaits when the state transitions to common core standardized tests, and they don't like what they see.

 Educators felt blind sided when LEAP tests administered last week included essay questions being piloted for new exams, according to this story by WBRZ-TV reporter Chris Nakamoto.

As LFT President Steve Monaghan told the reporter (see video below) something is horribly wrong with a system that imposes these high-stakes tests on public school students, but pays for vouchers in schools that don't evaluate teachers based on test scores or grade the schools according to the test results.

Bigger shocks are in store. Most students will be required to take PARCC exams on computers. That will raise several problems.

Part of the state has no access to broad-band Internet, thanks to Gov. Jindal's refusal to accept federal funding to expand braodband service in Northeast Louisiana.That will make it difficult for students to log on to the test.

What's more, most schools rely on laptops for students, but those do not hold a charge long enough for the estimated three hours it will take to complete the test. Will extension cords and power strips be adequate?

Then there is the issue of preparing students to take a complete test - including all of their computations, because scratch paper won't be allowed - on the computer. Will the newness of the process alone result in a decline in scores?

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