Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Stumbled across this story about Texas public schools appealing their ratings from the latest student standardized test scores. The state ratings system is based largely on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test scores of specific subgroups such as black, Hispanic, white and low-income students. A school must produce a given passing rate in each group to earn a certain rating. Among the excuses given by the schools for student failures...

One teenage girl was set to take the state test for special-education students but went into labor before she could. The school argued that it should be able to count her as a passing student.

A fire alarm went off during the social studies TAKS exam... officials argued that the alarm had distracted the school's black students, whose scores had fallen short of the acceptable bar.

A fourth-grader who consistently got good grades had answered "A" to every multiple-choice question on a practice TAKS test. According to school officials, the student's parents had encouraged the child to sabotage the TAKS.