CSCOPE curriculum fails students
By Diana Mosley | Published Saturday, December 24, 2011
Regarding Brian Knox’s summary of the December Decatur ISD school board meeting, I read with interest Superintendent Rod Townsend’s quotes.
There is a growing network of parents and teachers concerned about the use of CSCOPE and the frantic Chicken Little approach the district takes to prepare students for state mandated tests. I go to school board and district committee meetings and hear such things as “parents and students have no idea what is coming; they aren’t going to know what hit them, etc.” I hear so much fear and mongering about what a poor job our legislators have done to set our students up for failure and the looming financial crisis that has our district involved in a school finance lawsuit against the state of Texas.
However, they have not legislated that Decatur use CSCOPE, the curriculum in a can. While I agree with Mr. Townsend that CSCOPE is a management tool, this one-size-fits-all curriculum in a can has managed, since its placement in Decatur ISD, to take our district scores down when in the last year of the testing cycle of the TAKS era, the scores should be at an all-time high.
At the school board meeting, Mr. Townsend compared the recent TAKS scores to those of 2003, the first year that Decatur ISD students took the TAKS test. I think the more relevant comparison when questioning the efficacy of CSCOPE is more telling if one looks at the district scores from the last two years. Those of us that have been in education know how those cycles go; the TEAMS, TAAS, TAKS and now the STAAR keep everyone’s eye on the prize and the curriculum companies’ pockets full. When elementary children are “benchmarked” over a period of six days after Halloween using an old TAKS test that is designed to be given at the end of the school year, it’s a no brainer that the results are going to be less than viable. What a waste of valuable instruction time!
When CSCOPE (not created by local teachers) tests are full of grammar, spelling and content mistakes, is it any wonder why students have a hard time passing them? The excuse of increased rigor is not only incorrect; at this point, it’s trite. CSCOPE is flawed from its erratic scope and sequence, lack of direction and depth on the uninspired worksheets, to the mistake-laden unit tests.
I’m looking forward to the curriculum night. I think it’s a great opportunity for parents to learn more about not just what our children are learning, but also how they are learning. We can blame our legislators for the STAAR and poor education finance plans, but they don’t mandate poor management tools like CSCOPE.