A lesson from Texas?
Florida begins its headlong dive into end-of-course exams this year.
Anyone expecting great results might look to Texas before setting hopes too high.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the Lone Star State's entry into EOC's has been anything but excellent, as few students are making the mark:
"Of the nearly 102,000 students who took the Algebra I test in May, for example, just 57 percent met the passing standard on the 50-question exam. Only 12 percent achieved "commended performance" for correctly answering most of the items. Results were similar on the six other end-of-course tests administered in hundreds of school districts across the state."
We've seen similar things happen here with the roll out of other exams, most recently FCAT Science. Invariably someone explains by saying teachers and students just aren't used to the test yet, but over time things will improve. Which sounds a lot like saying, as soon as we learn how to teach these tests, we will.
The argument for end-of-course exams here and elsewhere is that kids are being tested on content they recently learned, while it's fresh, and not on some comprehensive test maybe years after (or before) they've gotten the instruction. But if they're not passing the EOC's, then what's the explanation? Unmotivated students (as in, the juniors know the FCAT Science doesn't count)? Curriculum? Teaching? Instructional time?
Is there a lesson we can learn from Texas?