Michael Williams, Texas Education Commissioner, has proudly announced the passing math scores for Texas 5th graders. Why did the commissioner report that students only had to understand 54% of the basic 5th grade math skills to pass.
According to Commissioner Williams, “Assessments are essential in identifying whether students require early support for basic subjects in our public education system.”
Obviously Commissioner Williams is not familiar with how Pearson and TEA are able to manipulate the test scores.
Who scores the STAAR tests? Pearson
Who determines the comparison of the raw scores to the scale scores? Pearson
Who created the scale scoring system? Pearson
Who is being paid about $100 million dollars each year for the STAAR/EOC tests? Pearson
Who publishes STAAR help books for teachers and students? Pearson
Even students on the honor roll are being failed by the STAAR tests. STOP the STAAR/EOC tests.
Look at the comparison of the STAAR scores for three consecutive years. TEA and Pearson chose three scale scores that never change:
1489 = least passing scale score
1558 = least scale score for level II phase II satisfactory
1627= least scale score for Level II R
1710= least scale score for Level III advanced
By keeping these scale scores the same TEA and Pearson can state that the scale scores can be used to make comparisons of student achievement from year to year. This is just a way to mislead the public. STOP THE STAAR/EOC TESTS
While 1489 will always be the the least passing scale score ON THE 5TH MATH STAAR, the amount of questions a student has to answer correctly to pass can vary from year to year. It took only 26 correct answers to pass in 2012 and 27 correct answers in 2013 and 2014.
Note that the number of questions on the 5th grade STAAR Math test remains the same but the percent of questions needed to pass from year to year can vary. For three consecutive years, Texas 5th grade students can pass the STAAR Math tests by answering about 50% of the questions. Thus, the Commissioner of Education has little to be proud of if Texas children only have to know 50% of the 5th grade math skills to pass the STAAR test.
Commissioner Williams said, “Assessments help determine whether a student has grasped certain concepts in basic subjects over the course of the school year.”
Commissioner Williams, you are correct. An Assessment by itself might help determine a student’s achievements but you sir are using the STAAR test scores on their own to fail elementary children. Do you really think that all of the STAAR tests are valid enough to be used to make just an evaluation? Are you aware of the conditions you subject elementary children to in taking the STAAR tests? A four hour test in elementary school? A four hour test in a room with the wall covered with white sheets or paper? Elementary children walked to the bathroom as if they were criminals.
Sadly TEA and Pearson are purposely deceiving Texas parents into thinking that their children are passing math when actually they know only about 50% of the 5th grade concepts.
Is Commissioner Williams complicit with TEA and Pearson in this deception? Williams was the Texas Railroad Commissioner. Why did Governor Perry appoint the Railroad Commissioner to be Texas’ Education Commissioner? Is Commissioner Williams to be the “fall guy?” Someone has to take the blame for what TEA and Pearson have done to Texas Education. Multi-millions of dollars are being wasted by TEA each year. The millions spent on STAAR/EOC test in the name of assessing students is one of the biggest education scams. The STAAR tests have errors, The STAAR tests are not at reading grade level and now you can see that the scale scoring is designed to be confusing and to deceive you. What else is needed to stop this massive waste of money?
The idea that the STAAR scores are being used to fail students is criminal. Yes, I said criminal. TEA knows that the STAAR tests are not valid tools to assess student achievement. It is all about the money. Think about this:
When student fail the STAAR tests, they take the tests over–more money for TEA and Pearson. How many people profit when students have to retake the STAAR tests. How many people profit when children have to attend summer school because they failed the STAAR.
More than one parent has informed me that their child is on the honor roll but will go to summer school because of failing the STAAR. While the state of Texas doesn’t require 4th grade students to pass the STAAR tests, the superintendent and school board in Chilton, Texas added a rule requiring every student failing the STAAR to go to summer school. Why? Where is the money coming from that pays for summer school? Money is very tight in this small school so why would this rule be implemented? Maybe because the money is coming from an outside source–the state or the Federal Government ?
I have confirmed the following information with the principal of the Chilton Elementary school. Note that the superintendent has failed to correspond to phone or email messages.
A 4th grade student was given an award for being one of Chilton’s model outstanding students. This child faithfully completes her assignments–scores high on school tests, but failed the STAAR math test by 3 points. Note that there were errors on the 2013 4th grade STAAR Math test. The parents couldn’t understand all this. Of course they were shown the STAAR scoring sheet prepared for parents–very confusing and designed to be so. With the parents permission I call and spoke with the Chilton Elementary principal. I asked if the math teacher was at fault for not preparing students. NO! Well, then were the child’s class math grades inflated? Absolutely NOT! Then why is this child being punished by having to attend summer school if she has successfully mastered 4th grade math concepts? The answer was that Life is like that sometimes and children have to learn that things don’t always turn out the way we think they should.
Is this what the STAAR test is all about? Is the test to teach students that no matter how hard they work in school, they can fail the STAAR tests because these tests are not all valid. Are they to learn that that is just the way life is–not fair when state officials are not honest! Not fair when state officials are not and have never been teachers–real teachers. Not people given a teaching certificate –but people who really care about the students instead of power–money–etc…..
Why doesn’t the Commissioner of Education respond about the STAAR errors reported to him?
STOP the STAAR/EOC tests!