CRCT test debacle: Blame new curriculum changes

Tue, 05/27/2008 - 4:02pm
By: Letters to the ...

In response to Ms. Cox’s recent media statements regarding CRCT results: I agree with raising the bar for our children, as long as you are committed to them and their needs.

As a Fayette County parent, I extend my sincere appreciation to the teachers and school administrators for doing their best in a difficult situation during this ‘07-‘08 academic year. Thank you for providing extra math tutoring and online resources for the kids.

To the Fayette County curriculum administrators and math teachers, thank you for meeting regularly to work towards the success of our kids.

I do not oppose change when:

1. It does not lower the bar like the rounding down of the grade scale: A = 100-89.5, B = 89.4-79.5, C = 79.4-70.5, D = 70.4-69.5, and F = 69.4.

2. Those directly responsible are held accountable for the success and implementation of their chosen program.

3. Adequate assessments are in place to prevent a need to re-teach the same material.

4. There is a willingness to recognize incremental failure and to find answers to ensure resolution. Is not the goal of public schools (in part) to bring students comprehension of the curriculum concepts taught? With this goal in mind, is not accurate assessment fundamental?

Factors that skew accurate assessment:

• Many ’07-‘08 eighth-grade students would not have passed math this year without privately funded tutoring. I am not referring to the Fayette County families who have historically enlisted extra educational support to ensure their children’s high achievement.

I know many families who have had to go to private resources (private tutors, Mathnasium, Brain Balance, Kumon, etc.) simply to help their child understand algebra.

Even the 37 percent math CRCT failure stats do not reflect accurately the public schools’ success/failure. It is my opinion that this failure is not a reflection of the kids’ or teachers’ abilities and skill – it lies somewhere in the implementation and follow-up of the new GPS program.

• Teachers opting to teach with the old methods to ensure the students success (thank you, teachers).

• Re-takes of unit tests being commonplace due to the high percentage of failing scores the first time around.

• Final passing scores on unit tests reflecting accumulated points given for multiple re-takes rather than reflecting comprehension of the concept taught.

• Extra credit given for various types of work that does not reflect comprehension of concepts taught.

Student success is everyone’s goal. Georgia educators and residents attending public schools are bound to state mandates.

Ever since the adoption of the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) model, both parents and classroom teachers have expressed legitimate concerns. Many of us, myself included, do not oppose change. I am not looking for an apology regarding raising the bar for our kids.

I do want to know what is being done to ensure the students’ success.

I do want to see investigation into the real results of this GPS program this past ‘07-‘08 year.

I do want to see accountability and action taken to ensure success with the new GPS program.

I do not want teachers to be in a position of finding creative ways to give kids a passing grade.

To our Georgia educators, I and many other parents want to support our system. Please do what is necessary to ensure true measurable success.

Georgia state residents, please take the time to make your concerns known at the state level. This transition affects our kids for years to come. Ramifications for our children goes beyond the education received and the scholarship monies lost.

If you believe education is a priority for our children’s future success, please take the time to let your concerns and situation be known. Our expressed voices can help our kids.

Michelle Nash

Fayette County, Ga.

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