Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

President Bush popularized that phrase, and it's been enshrined in Virginia's new educational standards:
Virginia's new achievement standards have raised eyebrows.

Part of the state's new standards dictate a specific percentage of racial group that should pass school exams, a move that has angered the Virginia Black Caucus. The caucus' chairwoman, Democratic state Sen. Mamie Locke, says the new standards marginalize students by creating different goals for students of various backgrounds...

The standards do not pose different pass rates for different groups: regardless of race, each student has to correctly answer the same number of test questions in order to pass. The difference lies in the expectation of passing from groups of different backgrounds. The new rules were designed as part of Virginia's waiver from No Child Left Behind, along with 31 other states and Washington, D.C.

For instance, only 45 percent of black students are required to pass the math state test while 82 percent for Asian Americans, 68 percent for whites and 52 percent for Hispanics are required to pass. In reading, 92 percent of Asian students, 90 percent of white students, 80 percent of hispanic students, 76 percent of black students, and 59 percent of students with disabilities are required to pass the state exam.
Can this possibly be correct?  I mean, who could possibly believe this is the right thing to do?


maxutils said...

Just wondering . . . from whose butt were those numbers pulled?

KauaiMark said...

Probably last year's actual passing rate

maxutils said...

Did you see the article in 'NEA Today' about the Florida writing assessment? The percentage of passing scores fell from 84% last year to 18% this year. Why? well, among other reasons, they CHANGED the passing score from a 3.5 to a 4.0. (I assume it's a 5 point rubric) Then, when they realized that they weren't going to be in compliance with NLCB, they changed the passing score to . . . 3.0! Raised the passsing rate to 81%. The union rag suggested this pointed out the danger of high stakes tests . . .my thought was that the first problem is that a bunch of professional educators can't agree what constitutes a proficient 4th grade writing sample. Three different passing scores in two test administrations? Really?