In a recent Washington Post story by Ruth Wattenberg, we learn that two of DC’s most recognized high schools saw their test scores decline for a variety of reasons. While DCPS administrators have laid the blame at the feet of students who essentially “blew off” the tests, others have chosen to focus on a total mismatch between students’ classes and what was on the tests. And what happens when students are forced to take tests in subjects they haven’t covered in over four years? Test scores are rendered meaningless.
The result? Because some students were exempted, some purposely tanked, some took tests in long-ago-studied subjects and some really tried on the tests, the students who took the tests in the spring were different from those who participated the year before in meaningful ways that we can’t fully understand or measure. When that’s the case, we can’t draw meaningful conclusions from comparing the test scores from one year to the next. These results should have been released only with a disclaimer that they are meaningless.
Read the full story here.