This will be on the test, May 12 – 18

This one will be short and sweet, since I’m technically on vacation – visiting friends here in lovely Roanoke, VA.

The Palatine-Schaumburg High School District (Illinois) has suspended the rule that a failing score on the Prairie State Achievement Exam meant a delayed diploma and extra exams.  While the rule was intended to make students take the PSAE more seriously, school officials were disturbed by the fact that some students with high ACT scores had low PSAE scores.  But wouldn’t one explanation for that be that some students were still blowing off the PSAE?

A new lawsuit involving the national pharmacy board exams has emerged.  It seems that last spring, two University of Georgia professors were allegedly distributing items ahead of time.  The new lawsuit is for breach of contract from a 1995 ruling in which UGA agreed to stop asking students who’d taken the test to provide items they’d remembered.

An editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution bemoans the casual acceptance of innumeracy in American society and points out that the 2007 NAEP results show 30 percent of U.S. eighth-graders scoring below the basic level in math.  I, too, have always wondered how we got to the point where people are ashamed to admit they can’t read, but will brag in public about the fact that they can’t balance their checkbook and can’t add two-digit numbers in their head.  And this part doesn’t bode well for math education within Georgia -  “A new report by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement notes that Georgia public colleges produced 3,822 new teachers in 2007. Of that number, only 3.4 percent were trained in math and 2.5 percent were trained in science.”

More on the revamping of the SC state exams, the PACT, here, here, here, and here.  Right now the most intense discussions appear to be over deadlines – could new exams be ready by next spring, or should 2010 be the target?  My advice would be not to rush!

A new alternate high school in Iowa, designed specifically for struggling students, showed the most improvement of any district school on the most recent round of standardized tests.  Sure, they were starting from a much lower baseline.  But as the article points out, these are students who otherwise might not be in school at all.