Nancy Mitchell in the Rocky Mountain News reports today about the Colorado Student Assessment Program:
Colorado’s $22 million testing program appears headed for replacement after more than a dozen years and scant evidence of improvement in recent results.
In other words: Not enough kids are learning fundamental reading skills at the critical junction of 3rd grade. Therefore, some people say it’s time to modernize and improve the CSAP, and others want to scrap testing and accountability altogether.
The first group has the right idea, provided updating the state’s assessment system is done correctly. The second group makes an absurd flight from logic. Imagine if the news story were about a state-funded auto emissions testing program in which the same percentage of cars were failing after 12 years. Who would use the flat results to argue that the solution is to scrap the testing program?
Maybe some change in the testing procedure would be helpful, but if the goal were to reduce emissions then other policies or incentives would be promoted. Not getting rid of the test. How then would we know the results?
The problem here is that some people want to get rid of the CSAP because having kids learn to read is not exactly their primary goal for schooling. Others don’t like the fact that it highlights the failures of some schools in the public education system. While updating the CSAP may yield some measure of success, don’t think that getting rid of the test will make Colorado’s education problems go away.
Meanwhile, Michael at Best Destiny has his typically keen insights about the announcement of preliminary CSAP results.