Thursday, March 31, 2011

North Carolina Parents Lead Resistance Against New Tests

Parents with children in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District are fighting mad over the sudden announcement of 52 new tests to be rolled out next week. The purpose of these tests is to measure teacher effectiveness. Parents want the school district to find other ways to evaluate staff that does not require excessive testing on their children. Parents are requesting to be pulled out of the testing. The school board will not permit opting-out; however, parents are saying they keep their kids home if they have to.

While North Carolina legislators attempt to reduce the level of required testing, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District announced it will trial 52 new tests. The school district has paid $1.9 million to design new year-end tests in reading, math, science, and social studies for grades K-8 and end-of-course exams for all high school classes. Kindergarten through second grade students will be tested one-on-one in four subjects - reading, math, science, and social studies. The test lasts one hour; for a class of 22 students, that is 44 hours of time spent on testing. An adult reads the question and the student replies or circles an answer. There must be another adult present during the testing to ensure teachers do not cheat. Schools are asking parents to volunteer to cover classroom instruction while the teacher conducts the testing.

While the CMS school district faces a shortfall of $100 million, anticipates layoffs of 560 school personnel including 400 teachers, and the closing of 10 schools, it used $1.9 million from its 09-10 budget for test development and projects ongoing costs of $300,000. CMS Superintendent explained that this testing initiative prepared for the new national exams being prepared by the federal government. National exams? That piece of information is creeping out.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is a "big fan" of CMS Superintendent Gorman. Duncan said that like CMS, the vast majority of school districts across the nation are being forced to do more with less.
“These are just tough times… There are no easy answers. That’s reality, and it’s not going to change anytime soon. We can either cry about it or we can figure out how to use every single dollar wisely and how we can create innovative partnerships and bring in the philanthropic community, the business community, and how we engage parents in different ways,” he said.

If there are even more new tests coming down the pike, how is this test development and example of using money wisely under such budgetary constriction?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Education Reform: Parent Action Spreads

The highlights indicate the States where parent organizing against teaching to the test are in action. All indications suggest this is a growing grassroots movement. President Obama's recently announced proposals for changing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are likely to fuel more action. Here are some highlights from the President's education reform plan with regard to testing:

NCLB Status Quo:  Rely on unsophisticated bubble tests to grade students and schools.

The Obama Plan:   Support better tests.  The Obama Administration has invested $350 million to support states in their efforts to create more sophisticated assessment systems that measure problem solving and other 21st century skills and that will provide teachers will timely information to help them improve instruction.

NCLB Status Quo:  A narrow curriculum focused only reading and math.

The Obama Plan:  Invest in state and local efforts to develop a well-rounded curriculum and allow states to include subjects beyond reading and math in their accountability system.

SB736 mirrors the goals the Obama Administration has in mind as educational reform. So, if you are a supporter and proponent of SB736, then you will be cheering. On the other hand, if you were concerned about the lack of details, lack of cost analysis, and continuing an obsession with tests, then things are not looking so good.

Read the President's education plan here.

UPDATE: EDWEEK reports that U.S. Department of Education spokesman Justin Hamilton "clarified" Obama's statement about too much testing, by countering it:
"While we're open to how we can best assess student progress in subject areas like history and science, we believe annual measures in reading and math are needed to assess progress toward college- and career-readiness. More must be done to improve the quality of those assessments, so that they're a more meaningful measure of student learning..."
That certainly clears things up now....clear as mud. The President prefers less, the U.S Office of Education prefers the more.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Help Wanted: Florida Commissioner of Education

The week of March 21 was full of newsworthy education related events coming from Tallahassee.
On Monday, Commissioner of Education Eric Smith submitted his
resignation effective June 2011, stating:
“The time has come to allow our newly elected governor to have input through the State Board of Education on the type of leader to pursue his goals for education.”

It is not the Governor who hires or fires the Commissioner of Education. That task is a constitutional duty taken by the State Board of Education.

On Tuesday, Board member Roberto Martinez called for an emergency meeting of the Board to "swiftly organize a search" for a replacement by August. The same day, Willard T. Fair, chairman of the State Board of Education, sent an indignant letter of resignation effective immediately citing his displeasure with the way Smith had been "fired", the fact that the Governor had never met with the Commissioner, the manner in which the Governor had ignored the State Board. In his last act as chair, he rejected Commissioner's Smith's resignation. He refused to participate in the emergency meeting calling it a sham, that the Governor had a candidate, and the Board's role would become a rubber stamping of that selection. He asked that his letter be placed into the record at the emergency meeting.

On Wednesday, Governor Scott called Commissioner Smith for the first time since the resignation and also made calls to State Education Board members, some talked to him for the first time. Scott said he recognized the duties and responsibilities of the Board in the selection of a new Education Commission and would help the Board make that selection.
"I will be working with the Board of Education to find a new commissioner," he said. "It's going to be somebody that believes the same way I do."

Scott has yet to clearly identify what he believes the goal and mission of public education is and its effect on the final customer - students.

On Thursday, Governor Scott signed SB736 into law. The State School Board met via telecon and decided to hire a search firm to find a replacement. The search firm will be selected by their next meeting.

Governor Scott will name three to the State Board of Education, replacing those members whose terms have or will soon expire. Fair's term expired in December and agreed to stay on til a replacement could be found.

What relevant experience and expertise will fill the an incoming Education Commissioner? Here is one scenario.
Florida Education Commissioner
Salary $195,000 - $283,000
No experience in the field of education preferred.
Senior or mid-level executive.
Manufacturing, IT experience preferred.
Broad graduate preferred.

The job requires skills necessary to implement a $700 million dollar federal grant, manage multi-million dollars contracts and subcontracts, vendors and a contingent of consultants deployed to support local school districts. Initiate an organizational shift to oversee a significant increase in the size of Department of Education and its role in implementing the legislative requirements of SB736.

Maybe the Broad Foundation has a candidate to fill this tall order.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Students opt out of CPS tests

Grumpy Note;  As most of you know Sandra in Brevard has been working really hard to keep us informed about the pro and cons of Obama's RTTT Merit Pay Scheme.  As a result of her research and blogs she has contacted and been contacted by people from across the country with an interest in the subject.

One of these people was Sharon Schmidt, Sharon is the managing editor of Substance News, a Chicago publication dedicated to the teachers and the public school system.  Substance News is pro union and pro teacher, not so pro Obama or Arne Duncan.  In a comment Sharon made on Sandra's blog Parents Opt-Out of Standardized Testing, she asked people to read what she is doing to keep her own son Sam out of the tests.

The story is reprinted here with her permission and at her request. 

Students opt out of CPS tests  Sharon Schmidt - March 06, 2011

For more than a year, my husband George Schmidt and I have been opting out our son Sam from the Chicago public schools’ excessive testing program. Any student may opt out of the Scantron Performance Series tests, Learning First math and reading benchmark tests, KLT tests and other CPS tests

O.A. Thorp fourth grader Sam Schmidt began sitting out
 most of the required CPS testings in third grade,
instead reading a number of books (some shown above).
 Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt
According to a March 25, 2010, letter sent to us by Barbara Eason Watkins (then Chief Education Officer), parents have the right to opt out their children. At the close of the two-page letter — which covered testing schedules, availability of copies of tests, rubrics and scoring materials, information on the Scantron Performance Series, validity, reliability and fairness studies — Eason Watkins addressed the issue of opting out. “Parents are not required to sign releases for their children to participate in any assessment,” Eason Watkins wrote. “If parents choose to exclude their children, the school has no obligation to provide an alternate activity. Your child will be asked to engage in a silent, self-guided activity

Logistics of opting out

We kept Sam at home during administration of the Scantron Performance Series in February 2010 prior to receiving the letter. Eason Watkin’s letter confirmed to us and to the principal that it is within our rights to opt out of testing and have our child remain at school during the tests.

Sam, who is now in the fourth grade at O. A. Thorp elementary school, now sits in the school office instead of taking tests. At the time he began sitting out the tests, he was in third grade.

We opted out Sam from the three-part May 2010, September 2010 and January 2011 Scantron tests. We opted out Sam from the school’s administration of the May 2010 Reading Benchmark Assessment and Math Benchmark Assessment. In addition, when a university research team came to Sam’s school in October 2010 to study a science curriculum, he skipped the pre, during and post study standardized tests the researchers administered. While he still took part in the ISAT last spring, he opted out of over 20 hours of additional testing this year. During that time he read silently from books of his choice. He also wrote and drew pictures in his journal.

Helping my son

Until I asked my son’s principal and Board officials for specific test information, I didn’t know how many tests Sam would be forced to take. Like most Chicago public school parents, I received no information. Once I learned the extent of the testing it was an easy decision to say no. The tests rob my son of the learning and joy I want him to experience at school.

Instead of laboring over unnecessary tests, he reads and enjoys and learns. 

See three additional stories:

It's the right thing to do": Q and A with Sam Schmidt

100+ unecessary tests (CPS testing schedule)

How to opt out

Editor's Note: The article above (and three others linked in this article) originally appeared in the February 2011 print edition of Substance]. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Parents Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

Arne Duncan heard complaints from parents in 42 states about the conversion of schools into testing mills. This month, President Obama acknowledged testing reform is needed. He announced a $300 million grant aimed at revamping standardized tests.
"There will be testing," he said. "We can have accountability without rigidity -- accountability that still encourages creativity inside the classroom, and empowers teachers and students and administrators."

CNN reports that Pennsylvania parents are registering their displeasure by opting-out of the two-week standardized testing required by NCLB. The parents are using established procedures in that state. Michele Gray is one parent who decided her two sons would not participate in the testing this year because she believes the tests are not accurate measurements of accomplishment, create undue anxiety for the students, and are used to punish schools.
"The more I look at standardized tests, the more I realize that we have, as parents, been kind of sold a bill of goods."

The report included views of testing proponents, who believe that opting-out does a disservice to school children. According to United Negro College Fund President and CEO Michael Lomax:

1) "Testing is a parent's ally" and that in order to compete with countries like China and India U.S. schools need to be held to a higher standard. And testing, he says, is the way to do it."

2)"The testing isn't the reason the schools are failing. The instruction is the reason the schools are failing," Lomax insisted.

Mr. Lomax is misinformed on both counts.

For the last 30 years, the federal government has declared an educational crisis. The current "crisis" stemming from our nation's ability to compete globally is based upon the performance of US students on the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA).

What is PISA?

A cross section of students at public and private schools, between the ages of 15 years 3 months old and 16 years 2 months, are selected from schools that voluntarily participate. A minimum of 4,500 per country are required to participate in the test. Shanghai placed #1 on test results, but Shanghai is not a country. Approximately 35% of Chinese students do not make it to high school.

Singapore: Few test high achievers are worldbeaters 20 years later

Singapore is in #2 position on PISA results. With a population of 4,424,133, the central government controls and manages the country’s school system, which includes technical and vocational training schools for high school students. The language of instruction in Singapore is English. The United States has a population of 308,400,408 and individual states control educational standards and testing initiatives. The FCAT is an example of a state-centric exam.

Journalist Fareed Zakaria interviewed Singapore's Minister of Education, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, asking for an explanation of "the fact that even though Singapore's students do so brilliantly on these tests, when you look at these same students 10 or 20 years later, few of them are worldbeaters anymore. Singapore has few truly top-ranked scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors, business executives or academics. American kids, by contrast, test much worse in the fourth and eighth grades but seem to do better later in life and in the real world. Why?"

“We both have meritocracies,” Shanmugaratnam said. “Yours is a talent meritocracy, ours is an exam meritocracy. There are some parts of the intellect that we are not able to test well ─ like creativity, curiosity, a sense of adventure, ambition. Most of all, America has a culture of learning that challenges conventional wisdom, even if it means challenging authority. These are the areas where Singapore must learn from America.”

China changes its system to develop more like Bill Gates

Tom Walkins, a former Michigan state Superintendent of Michigan Schools, is now a consultant and travels frequently to China. He says that the Chinese are changing to be more like the U.S.

He says Chinese educators, historically trained to deliver a top-down education that relied heavily on standardized testing and rote memorization, now focus almost obsessively on two things: creativity and innovation.
In China, "the biggest question is, 'How do we create Bill Gates?' " he says. "Everywhere I go, from meeting with a minister of education to being out in the countryside, that's what they're striving for." Oddly enough, he says, China's transformation has taken place over the past nine years — exactly as long as U.S. schools have been grappling with NCLB. "While we're moving closer to their historical model, they're looking at ways to pull away," he says.

Lomax repeats the narrative from testing proponents that instruction is the problem. This particular argument is not supported with evidence, but used frequently in the last few years.


There is no question that accountability is necessary. Testing has always been a part of the educational experience. The information that is obtained from the international tests has value and the recent results confirm what we have already known for sometime without this test data. There is a widening student achievement gap based on socio-economic factors. This gap is a serious problem and needs a targeted solution; but a meaningful solution does not equal to a testing obsession. Turning our educational system into an "exam meritocracy" is no goal at all and harmful to what has made this nation a global leader.

Parents are not the only ones realizing they've been sold a bag of goods. Taxpayers are asking questions. There are rarely answers and less honesty. Pennsylvania parents who choose to opt-out are doing the right thing.

© SandraInBrevard

Education Reform: Boondoggling along

As SB736/HB7019 heads to Governor Scott's desk for signature, questions continue on costs. The Senate Pre-K12 Appropriations subcommittee peppered Commissioner Smith on costs, even though these committee members are the most knowledgeable on the question of costs. An article in the Tampa Gradebook asked if the questions indicate the bill went through too fast. Race to the Top funds will pay for most of the development of new tests, but no word on funding after federal funds run out. The merit pay portion of the bill receives no new money. Governor Scott indicates that he will sign the bill without answers to basic costs question indicating he is apparently satisfied that there will be no impact on taxpayers.

President Obama has presented his educational reform "Blueprint" modifying portions of No Child Left Behind, a welcome aspect; however, the plan includes additional testing to measure growth before the high-stakes test and pinpoint areas that require more attention. The rationale is that the correct things are not being tested. Congress is in a budget cutting mood and education will not get special attention on the chopping block.

Nationwide, parent unhappiness over the obsession with testing is getting some notice.

Duncan last September said he has visited 42 states and that nearly everywhere he went, teachers, parents, principals and lawmakers complained that what's taught in school is narrowing as more teachers focus on improving scores in standardized tests, especially in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students.

Pennsylvania allows parents to "opt out" of standardized testing and there is a movement to do just that in order to cause a shift away from schools as testing factories.
Under Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4 (d)(5), parents have the right to opt out of testing for their children. The exemption is “religious,” but the Pennsylvania Department of Education confirmed this includes any moral, psychological, philosophical or even medical objection. The reason cannot be challenged.
A large national "opt-out" movement, will impact the quantity and frequency of tests and the way the results are used. Such a movement would impact the vast amount of dollars spent on test development, scoring, and implementation costs. Apparently, the only "opt-out" provision available in Florida is to homeschool or find a private school, where other accountability rules apply.

Against this backdrop, there are clear supporters of maintaining the status quo on the testing routine.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

SB736/HB7019: Legislative Irresponsibility, Incompetence, or Deceit?

This week, the Florida Senate passed SB736 fully informed that no one knows how much the bill will cost the State and localities or where funding would come from. In spite of the deep budget cutting, Senator Evelyn Lynn believes the money is available.

“I want money to be put into this bill,” said Sen. Evelyn Lynn, an Ormond Beach Republican who ultimately voted for the proposal. But she remained optimistic on future funding: “It will come, but we’ve got to get the structure in place to do exactly what needs to be done.”

On the other hand, North Carolina Republicans led the effort to end its expansive testing regime as a cost saving measure and to respond to over testing concerns. The Texas legislature is also considering a measure to reduce the quantity of tests its school children take, citing the frequency of testing provides little useful information.

Why is Florida in such a hurry?

One reason is found in the requirements to secure Race to the Top funding. Legislation must link student performance to evaluations or lose the funding. The details were left to the State legislatures. Failure to pass legislation could end up in loss of funds. Florida won $700 million and is late on that requirement. Oddly, this is one fact that is not mentioned in the legislative discussions or media reporting. School districts were invited to participate in Race to the Top, some did not and will be required to implement under this unfunded mandate. Others districts that did sign were aware implementation of Race to the Top would impact their budgets, they did not anticipate deeper budget cutting.

The Costs of Federal Funding

The connection between Race to the Top and SB736/HB7019 is clear. Without the federal funding and under current budget constraints, end-of-course exams would likely not be a subject of discussion. The implications of Race to the Top and previous federal mandates on local budgets and decision-making are clear.

Pete Hoekstra, former Chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee's oversight an investigations subcommittee, described the committee's 1998 study of effective and ineffective use of federal education dollars. The report concluded that "locally directed efforts - by the folks who know the names of the children they're responsible for educating works best." The subcommittee also found that successful schools were "characterized by parental involvement, local control, and emphasis on basic academics and dollars actually spent in the classroom."

"More than 760 education programs, overseen by at least 39 federal agencies, cost taxpayers $100 billion a year even as schools continued to decline. Teachers and parents in neighborhood schools saw federal mandates, paperwork and red tape — not the necessary tools to help educate their children. As little as 65 to 70 cents of every dollar made it into the classroom."

“It is time for the burden of proof to shift to the federal government,” the subcommittee report concluded. “If it cannot be demonstrated that a particular federal program is more effectively spending funds than state and local communities would otherwise spend them, Congress should return the money to the states and the people, without any burdensome strings attached.”
That was in 1998. Yet today, when children who were kindergarteners then should be ready to graduate from high school, the story remains the same. In 2001, Congress passed No Child Left Behind, a law filled with more mandates and red tape that significantly expanded the federal government’s role in K-12 education. The federal “educrats” tell local schools who the good teachers are and what schools are making adequate yearly progress."

Florida House to vote

Reports suggest the Florida House will vote on HB7019 as early as Tuesday of next week. The bill is quite similar to SB736. Are members of the Florida House equally uninformed regarding the costs of the bill and where the money will come from to support it? To persist in full ignorance and lack of accountability is a sign of both legislative irresponsibility and incompetence. Could it be that they do know the costs and prefer to go silent? That would be deceit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Referring to the complexities of SB736 and appearing in small type off the left of a Miami Herald article, the question is asked "How much will all this cost?"

"No one knows. Department of Education officials say they will use a big chunk of the state’s $700 million federal Race to the Top grant to develop new tests and help train districts to use the new evaluation systems. But a legislative analysis said districts will likely need to spend their own money to finish the job. The state also will face 'significant' costs to evaluate charter schools’ compliance with the new rules."

Is it possible that the legislators, policy makers, and staff have no idea of costs? I believe they know and have known for two years that this piece of legislation has a hefty price tag leaving local school districts no alternative than to seek property tax increases to meet all the requirements of this unfunded mandate. The hint of that knowledge came last year with the inclusion of a forced millage increase in the first version of SB6. It was dropped, but it is clear, fiscal impact has long been on legislators' minds.

Senator Nan Rich reminded Senator Stephen Wise that the results of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded grant to Hillsborough County Schools would inform meaningful legislation.
"Why don't we wait?" she asked Wise. "We have an incredible pilot going on in Hillsborough. Why would we not wait for the results to know we have something that is working?"

Wise responded by saying that if the Legislature stalls, nothing will get done. The time is now to lay the framework for improved teaching, he said, leaving plenty of time to get it done.
"If we continue to stall and delay there are kids who will be irreparably damaged," Wise said.
Bill proponents persist in a philosophy that there is plenty of time and money to get this wrong and no time to get it right. They persist in pass it now, fix it later legislating. Citing kids "who will be irreparably damaged" if the bill does not pass is disingenuous rhetoric that cannot be defended and ignores all evidence that the contrary is true. Such rhetoric sounds like desperation.

In simple English, this is an unfunded mandate and experimentation, which ultimately local communities will pay for through increased taxes. If it were otherwise, we would have heard that. Instead, when it comes to costs, there is absolute silence. And that is unacceptable.

Call your Florida Senator and Representative and ask for a NO vote on SB736 on the grounds of fiscal irresponsibility. Then, make one more call to Governor Scott's office and ask him to reject this poorly written bill that arrive at his desk. Governor Scott has no recourse but to reject
this bill for the very reasons he rejected Speed Rail.

The bill may be voted on as early as tomorrow in the Senate. All signs it will be in the House very soon after and off to the Governor.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Education Reform: North Carolina Changes Course

In the 2004-2005 school year, North Carolina began implementing end-of-course exams. Last year, some were eliminated and more will be eliminated this year. With bi-partisan support, Bill 48 passed the N.C. General Assembly and SB114 passed the Senate. The legislation is now headed to the Governor's desk for signature. This legislation removes all state tests except those required by the federal government and is expected to save nearly $3 million dollars.

According to the Civitis Institute, North Carolina's Conservative Voice, Republicans led the charge to end the tests, due to the complaints by parents and teachers that education had become teaching to the test. Democrats, on the other hand, opposed the measure saying "testing is necessary to identify which schools are failing so resources can be distributed accordingly."

Other reasons drove the decision for change. The validity of end-of-course tests themselves had been called into question and they are standardized rather than norm-referenced. The legislature wants some testing, but believe the "current one is not the right one."

There are concerns that the legislation may conflict with the terms of Race to the Top requirements. N.C. expects to receive $350 million over the next four years. Additional concerns were raised by a Superior Court Judge saying ending these tests would "violate student's rights under the state Constitution." The judge's statement while a bill moved through the legislative process was met with some consternation and questions as to where testing measures are mentioned in the state Constitution.

In the meantime, Florida lunges into the creation and implementation of standardized end-of-course testing, silent on the costs, and ignoring decades of parent and teacher complaints in bi-partisan fashion.

Missed blogs on educational reform? They are all here.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

SB736/HB7019: The trouble with value-added measurement

SB736/HB7019 intends to apply value-added measurement (VAM) to connect student achievement on a test as a performance indicator of the teacher, or a poor student score = poor teaching. VAM uses statistical tools to calculate the contributions a teacher makes to student achievement gains. The formula for the calculation includes factors the developer chooses to include. What do experts have to say about the value of value-added measurement?

1) Jim Angermeyr, Director of Research, Evaluation & Testing for Bloomington Public Schools and "one of the designers of a widely respected value-added test lots of Minnesota schoolchildren take two or three times a year" was interviewed by Beth Hawkins. In the article, "Do 'value-added' teacher data really add value?", Angermeyr is described as "something of a standardized testing skeptic. He believes that economists tend to believe in using value-added data in evaluation. Educators and psychometricians, not so much."

“It’s not necessarily that the methodologies are wrong,” he said. “It’s that the inferences we’re drawing can be wrong.”

"The kids are the greatest of the variables, of course. The tests may tell you a student is reading better or sliding in math, but they don’t tell you whether she spent the summer with a tutor or he is so young the test isn’t as accurate as it would be in an older child.

Nor is the same test used from year to year. A particular student or teacher may fare better on a test closely normed with curriculum vs. one aligned with a set of knowledge-based standards."

“You leave out a lot of the potential variables,” Angermeyr said.
“They’re just not at the point where we should use them to make decisions about jobs.”

2) The National Research Council and the National Academy of Education gathered experts in the this field and held a workshop titled "Getting Value Out of Value Added." There was general agreement by participants that there is no single statistical model and still a work in progress for applicability when measuring teacher quality.

Discussion resulted in these additional conclusions:
  • Results generated by existing models have a high degree of instability.
  • Good results require good tests and good test results.
  • Experts find it useful for low stakes use to identify areas that need improvement.
  • Experts recommend against using it for high stakes such as, teacher pay.

According to Henry Braun, the group determined the following:
"To nobody’s surprise, there is not one dominant VAM. Each major class of models has shortcomings, there is no consensus on the best approaches, and little work has been done on synthesizing the best aspects of each approach. There are questions about the accuracy and stability of value-added estimates of schools, teachers, or program effects. More needs to be learned about how these properties differ, using different value-added techniques and under different conditions. Most of the workshop participants argued that steps need to be taken to improve accuracy if the estimates are to be used as a primary indicator for high-stakes decisions; rather, value-added estimates should best be used in combination with other indicators. But most thought that the degree of precision and stability does seem sufficient to justify low-stakes uses of value-added results for research, evaluation, or improvement when there are no serious consequences for individual teachers, administrators, or students." (p.54)
While Florida plunges into creating dozens of new tests, North Carolina's legislature in bipartisan agreement is sending a bill to the Governor to end some end-of-course tests, maintaining those to meet federal requirements and to measure student achievement. Two years ago, they voted to end a few others. This legislature wishes to stop paying for so many tests that are both expensive and failing to yield the returns once thought beneficial.

Concerns over the costs for implementing SB736/HB7019 by Florida Senators and by school boards are being reported. In the end, this is an unfunded mandate using an experimental statistical model, and an expensive test development and implementation scheme that extends far beyond the reach of RT3 dollars. Legislators remain silent on the issue of costs and cost benefits. The public has a right to know.

To read the "Getting Value Out Of Value Added" report for free, go to the widget on the right side of this page, select the icon that looks like an open book with the word Read underneath, and then Open Book in the small screen area. The document will open so you can read it easily.

The experts in the National Research Council and the National Academy of Education in this conference included:

Rita Ahrens, Education Policy Studies
Joan Auchter, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Terri Baker, Center for Education, The National Academies
Dale Ballou, Vanderbilt University
Henry Braun, Boston College
Derek Briggs, University of Colorado at Boulder
Tom Broitman, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Alice Cain, House Committee on Education and Labor
Duncan Chaplin, Mathematica Policy Research
Naomi Chudowsky, Center for Education, The National Academies
Pat DeVito, AE Concepts
Beverly Donohue, New Visions for Public Schools
Karen Douglas, International Reading Association
Kelly Duncan, Center for Education, The National Academies
John Q. Easton, Consortium on Chicago School Research
Stuart W. Elliott, Center for Education, The National Academies
Maria Ferrão, Universidade da Beira Interior, Portugal
Rebecca Fitch, Office of Civil Rights
Shannon Fox, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Jianbin Fu, Educational Testing Service
Adam Gamoran, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Karen Golembeski, National Association for Learning Disabilities
Robert Gordon, Center for American Progress
Jeffrey Grigg, University of Wisconsin
Victoria Hammer, Department of Education
Jane Hannaway, Education Policy Center
Patricia Harvey, Center for Education, The National Academies
Lloyd Horwich, House Committee on Education and Labor
Lindsey Hunsicker, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Ben Jensen, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Ashish Jha, Harvard School of Public Health
Moshe Justman, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Laura Kaloi, National Association for Learning Disabilities
Michael Kane, National Conference of Bar Examiners
Judith Koenig, Center for Education, The National Academies
Michael J. Kolen, University of Iowa
Adam Korobow, LMI Research Institute
Helen F. Ladd, Duke University
Kevin Lang, Boston University
Sharon Lewis, House Committee on Education and Labor
Valerie Link, Educational Testing Service
Dane Linn, National Governors Association
Robert L. Linn, University of Colorado at Boulder
J.R. Lockwood, RAND Corporation
Angela Mannici, American Federation of Teachers
Scott Marion, National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment
Daniel F. McCaffrey, RAND Corporation
Alexis Miller, LMI Research Institute
Raegen Miller, Center for American Progress
John Papay, Harvard University
Liz Potamites, Mathematica Policy Research
Ali Protik, Mathematica Policy Research
Sean Reardon, Stanford University
Mark D. Reckase, Michigan State University
Andre Rupp, University of Maryland
Sheila Schultz, HumRRO
Lorrie Shepard, University of Colorado at Boulder
Judith Singer, Harvard University
Andrea Solarz, Director of Research Initiatives, National Academy of Education
Gerald Sroufe, American Educational Research Association
Brian Stecher, RAND Corporation
Justin Stone, American Federation of Teachers
David Wakelyn, National Governors Association
Greg White, Executive Director, National Academy of Education
J. Douglas Willms, University of New Brunswick
Mark Wilson, University of California, Berkeley
Laurie Wise, HumRRO