D.C. education officials accused of hyping test scores

Sep 25, 2013 by

Back in July, D.C. officials shouted out the news that public school students had earned the district’s highest-ever reading and math test scores, results that moved D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to say:

I don’t think there’s any doubt we’re on the right path. We just need to stay the course.

Maybe not. My colleague Emma Brown wrote in this story that the “historic” citywide results on the most recent annual math and reading standardized test scores, known as the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System, were nothing more than a consequence of a secret decision about how to score the exams.

Here’s what happened: Many school districts around the country are now giving students new standardized tests that are aligned with the newly implemented Common Core State Standards, said to be tougher than most earlier state standards. The new exams are being graded on a tougher, scale, too. But, it turns out, not in the District.  After the new tests were taken this past spring — and after it became clear that scores would drop like a rock under a teacher-recommended new grading plan — D.C. officials in the Office of the State Superintendent for Education, which is separate from the school system — decided to keep the old, easier scoring model grading system, Brown discovered through documents she obtained.

D.C. education officials accused of hyping test scores.

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