SAT, FCAT, PISA, OOPS
Last year, it was the SAT. In the spring, it was the FCAT. Now it’s the PISA. Another standardized test, another flub.
As both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported today (see stories here and here), reading scores on the Program for International Student Assessment test (which is important because it allows researchers to compare the academic skills of students around the planet) had to be thrown out because of a printing error that wasn’t caught by the contractor, RTI International, or by the U.S. Department of Education.
Even people who think standardized testing is a good thing (or at least a necessary evil) aren't surprised that another big-time test has been botched. For some perspective, read this 2006 report from Thomas Toch at Education Sector. If the testing infrastructure behind No Child Left Behind isn’t improved, Toch writes, “teachers and principals will lose valuable tools to improve instruction, and both NCLB’s work on behalf of public education’s neediest students and standards-based reform itself will be increasingly at risk. Statewide testing, envisioned under NCLB as a key part of the solution to what ails public schools, is fast becoming part of the problem in public education.”
- Ron Matus, state education reporter