ISSUES IN THE NEWS:

Why Schools’ Test Scores May Be Improving

Phi Delta Kappan magazine recently reported what it calls the “dark underside of high-stakes testing” in an essay by Susan Ohanian, author of Caught in the Middle: Nonstandard Kids and a Killing Curriculum (Heinemann, 2001).

To make the 10th-grade passing rate look more impressive, she found, an increasing number of school districts are holding students back in ninth grade so their scores won’t be counted in the tenth grade testing. As a result, she reports, dropout rates are increasing at the middle school level.

Confirming this trend, analyst Anne Wheelock examined data from the Massachusetts Department of Education, which has reported a 300% increase in dropouts from middle school between 1995 and 2000.


SOURCE: CAPITALISM, CALCULUS, AND CONSCIENCE Ms. Ohanian accuses the "Standardistos" of child abuse and urges readers to call them on it.


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This story was published on August 15, 2003.