An exercise in double-speak

Here is the text of the press release on investigating anomalies in the 2011 testing administration in DCPS. Notice what they say:

(1) It’s now 10 months after the test was given, and all they have done is finished with the “Request for Proposal” process, asking vendors to make bids to do some investigation. [I spoke just now with Marc Caposino (listed in the text below), and he said that his office would make a recommendation on Monday, but that after that it goes to Contracts & Proocurement.]

(2) Even though the publisher of the test itself, McGraw-Hill CTB, has other forensical statistical methods they are willing to provide to DCPS (for a fee), and they have had these for years, only now is DCPS beginning to wonder what other methods to use. [I asked Caposino why they didn’t use an analysis of identical wrong answers as well; he said he wasn’t in any of the focus groups or advisory panels, so he didn’t know. He did say he had read “Freakonomics”, though, and agreed that the investigation is taking way too long.]

(3) They don’t reveal who was on the panel. I’d like to talk to them. [MC said he’d send me the link that lists who was on those panels or focus groups, but it’s in one of their prior press releases.]

(4) They claim the number of classes with cheating issues is minuscule. [I have my doubts. Ex-principals I’ve talked with at some length have told me that the pressure to cheat was huge. It seemed to me that if you didn’t cheat, you were sure of losing your job.]

(5) They don’t point out that this cheating has affected both students and teachers in very negative ways, while the unscrupulous administrators or teachers who cheated have earned nice bonuses… [Again, we need to put both Wayne Ryan and Michelle Rhee in the hot seat in that interrogation room. Let them take the 5th amendment if they like. Let them! They both became wealthy and famous by cheating, or so it appears. They need to pay the price, just like any other white-collar criminal or embezzler!]


Thursday, February 9, 2012

OSSE’s RFP Process for Test Integrity Vendor Comes to an End

Selection of independent vendor for test integrity investigations is underway

Contact: Marc Caposino, (202) 727-7207

Washington, DC – The OSSE request for proposal to investigate classrooms for test integrity closed Tuesday, February 7, and resulted in multiple bids. OSSE will make a recommendation for vendor selection by Monday, February 13, 2012 to the Office of Contracts and Procurement for final determination.

“We are committed to restoring and improving confidence in our standardized tests security and recognize that teachers and students are working hard on improving test scores. We believe wholeheartedly that the overwhelming majority of school leaders, teachers, and students are playing by the rules,” stated Hosanna Mahaley, State Superintendent of Education.

During the 2011 cycle, Phase One of OSSE’s enhanced test security protocols included, among others, adding seals to the test booklets, doubling the number of schools monitored by OSSE during test administration, and shortening the test booklet pick-up period.

Phase two of the enhanced security protocols was about strengthening and building community understanding and belief in the erasure analysis process, which has been broadly discussed in the local and national media. OSSE consulted with an independent advisory committee of national experts in the area of education assessment who recommended two new methods, bringing the number of analyses to 4 key measures used to test for anomalies in classrooms:

  • Unusual student-level gains in achievement from 2010 to 2011
  • Wrong-to-right erasure analysis
  • Within classroom variances (new)
  • Wrong-to-right erasure analysis for 2010 and 2011 (new)

The third and final phase of the enhanced process, as recommended by the national experts, is securing an independent third party to conduct follow-up investigations of the classrooms that were flagged for potential impropriety.

It is important to recognize that the subjects of all investigations are entitled to a fair and impartial process. The mere fact that a classroom has been flagged is not evidence of wrongdoing. At the end of the investigative process, schools with classrooms guilty of impropriety will be disclosed and scores will be invalidated.

This year’s analysis resulted in 35 (0.82%) classrooms being identified for further investigation out of 4,279 classrooms administering the DC CAS.

“The call for total transparency and accuracy demanded that we take the time to bring in an independent agency to put to rest any amount of suspicion regarding our student’s performance,” explained Hosanna Mahaley, State Superintendent of Education.

Published in: on February 10, 2012 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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