Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bill Crawford: High School Market-Based Testing Makes Sense

Rep. Tom Miles of Forest is on to something. With regard to tests required for high school graduation, he wants to move from an education bureaucracy based approach to a market based approach.

A little background.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act was replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Both have required public schools to implement intensive testing from the early grades through high school to track student progress. At the high school level, ESSA requires states to administer end-of-course exams in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science.

It's up to the various states to decide if passing these tests is required to earn a high school diploma. Mississippi added a history exam and made passing the tests a requirement for graduation. After lots of complaints, in 2015, the Mississippi State Board of Education began allowing students who fail the subject matter tests to take the relevant sections of the ACT as an alternative.

Miles wants to abandon the state developed subject matter tests and go strictly with the ACT.

Such a move would begin to align high school testing with actual market opportunities for graduating students, i.e., going to college or getting a job. The ACT is the ticket to college admission as well as to financial aid.

Christine Davidson, a teacher and mother of a college bound student, explained to the Clarion-Ledger, "No college is saying here’s $1,500 for what you’ve earned (on a state test). No college is saying, ‘here’s $2,000 for your advanced score.’ But a difference of two points on the ACT can amount to $2,000 more."

Missing from Miles' approach is the equivalent ticket to getting a job, since not all high school graduates go to college.

More and more industries and college technical training programs require employees to take the national WorkKeys test which assesses a person's readiness for employment in different types of jobs. In response to this demand, more and more communities are moving to become “work ready” communities.

For example, the Daily Journal reported Axiall, Tronox, Kemira, NauticStar, True Temper, Mueller, Yokohama, and Toyota in its region use WorkKeys to find potential employees. East Mississippi Community College now requires a Silver Level WorkKeys score for admission into its manufacturing technology programs.

"Work ready" communities provide WorkKeys to high school students. Twenty Mississippi counties are now certified Work Ready communities. Another 19 are in process, with more signing up every day.

"Part of our sector strategy plan is to give WorkKeys to seniors in all 89 high schools in the 27 counties composing the Mississippi Partnership Workforce Development Area," said Bill Renick WIOA Division Director.

Regrettably, the market rejects many Mississippi high school graduates. Too many are not prepared for university, community college, or middle skill jobs. We need far more 21 and up ACT scores and Silver Level and higher WorkKeys scores if our students are to succeed and gin up our economy.

Replacing current subject matter tests with the ACT and WorkKeys tests, not adding them on, would give high schools time and resources to remediate low scoring children. Letting students, along with teachers and family members, know where they stand well before graduation is only fair and would help them with career planning.

Moving to market based testing in high schools makes too much sense for the Legislature to ignore Miles' bill.

Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.


Grab Your Pitchforks People said...

It's a good idea (and high time) the eggheads who run our education systems realize they need to respond to the needs/demands of business and industry instead of expecting the rest of society to go along with the experimental demands of eggheads.

We are (forced) customers of the education bureaucracy. Keyword - customers. We need to either demand that they respond to customer needs or we look elsewhere for customer service.

Common sense said...

You explained in the next to last paragraph why it won’t pass.

Cynical Sam said...

Here's a solution with a bonus of reducing the national debt:

Shut down the U.S. Dept. of Education!

Anonymous said...

The ACT rewards memorization while the SAT rewards comprehension.

It's bad enough that most test are objective and thus reward those who can recall and recognize words without having any notion of their relevance in a larger context.

Let's not make it worse by shortchanging our children.

Most jobs require being able to make decisions and decisions require the ability to think,reason, and prioritize information accurately.

Anonymous said...

If anyone really wanted each child to be "all that they can be" there would a cognitive (IQ) test given after the sophomore year in highschool. At that point realistic career and educational goals could be discussed for the kids individually. Failed white collar want-to-be's are a dime a dozen but good plumbers, electricians, truck drivers, mechanics etc etc etc are hard to find and making excellent money. Somehow getting into college has become the end-all, be-all, cure-all for EVERYBODY..... memo: IT'S NOT !

Anonymous said...

Trump I am, Cynical Sam
I like your views, just watch the news.

Anonymous said...

The real problem concerning testing is the dynamics of any test, or testing protocol.

These practices always end up being "dumbed down" for the students that can't achieve what the majority of other students obtain.

What you end up with is another huge expensive effort that gives the education "kingdom" another argument for more "resources".

It never ends with the desired result of a high school graduate being more prepared for life. Only more money being thrown at kids, many of whom don't want anything more than to have the government send them a check for doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

People keep coming up with new ways to somehow graduate kids that cannot or refuse to learn. School is a high priced day care center.

Rod Knox said...

And what might be the solution to that situation @11:03? We find ourselves in the current poor situation for minorities as the result of decades of exclusion, denigration, derision and economic isolation by those who feel entitled to political control of the state by virtue of their fair complexion. And your apparent membership in that group seems to make you feel entitled to blaming the failure of those who have for so long been cheated and to continue to denigrate them for their poor performance under less than adequate conditions and imply that reducing support might induce a spirit of appreciation. And you would demand that even the pittance you might offer require a groveling show of appreciation I'm sure. Mississippi's Christian generosity continues to be racially prorated.

Cynical Sam said...

@9:48 AM - Outstanding. I graduated HS in 1965 and that is the way it was done back then. We had "college-prep" and technical categories, along with excellent shop classes (carpentry and auto). IQ tests were given to classify incoming students, and it worked great.

Colleges, propped up by student loans, are big business.

@10:09 AM thank you.

Anonymous said...

11:03 - You are exactly right. Expensive daycare where teachers spend all of their time on problem kids. The teachers are attempting to do what the parents do not.

Unfortunately for the teachers they cannot discipline children because the admin will do nothing and neither will the parents. No school superintendent wants reports that shows a high rate of discipline action or issues in their school. So their solution is to allow disruptive kids to rule the school.

Anonymous said...

Could you please share with our group your thoughts about teenage pregnancies and fatherless homes and irresponsibility in the African American populace,
Including a description of those who are responsible.Thank you in advance,

Anonymous said...

The English teacher (10th grade) at Provine H.S. testified at Tom's hearing this week.

Her students are reading at a 4th grade level.

BUT they will pass nevertheless, and Tate Reeves will gladly tout Mississippi's 84% graduation rate, fastest growing increase in the U.S.A.

Anonymous said...

Rumor is the reason never will pass is bc Butler Snow has the testing company contract and the Chairman of Education in the Senates wife work works for Butler Snow that has the $110 million contract. Follow the money. Senator Angela Hill busted them out on the Paul Gallo show over a week ago.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi - corruption is as corruption does.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod, there is a sale on victim suits this weekend. Bet you vote democrat. The democrat plantation is brutal place. Do not have children out of wedlock, before age 20 and graduate high school- then poverty is virtually non existent. Dems block school vouchers to help keep the plantation gate locked. Seems like you are justifying mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

We can complain until the cows come home, but little progress will be made until we can break the stranglehold that the educators have on their own profession. Law enforcement could learn a thing or two from educators who have turned protecting their own into an art form.

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