Expect more, but not too much more…

So, all the advocates of Common Core are part of the Expect More, Achieve More coalition.  I support the general principles of Common Core. The higher standards, the expectations, the value placed on critical thinking.

I’m carefully watching the implementation, however, as Tennessee’s track record of getting education right is well, missing.

That said, the State Department of Education has been talking a lot about expectations.  About being direct and honest with students and families about their achievement.  About what it takes to demonstrate content mastery.  About grade level appropriate learning progress.

All of which sounds good.  And, if done correctly, is good.

And then, I read that the Achievement School District has released a new grading scale for some of the K-8 schools in its control.

Here it is:

ASD Grades

And here’s the explanation from ASD.

Basically, they are aligning grades with TCAP cut scores.

Which means, you can receive a passing score in school and only demonstrate knowledge/mastery of 47% of content.

Also, there’s a huge range of scores for a B.

I’m not sure that if someone goes into the workforce and gets 59% of their work done well, they’ll have a job for very long.

And doesn’t this contradict the whole concept of high expectations?

And if these grades are aligned to TCAP cut scores, maybe we should strengthen the cut scores?

What about the students who “pass” their grade level with a 48? Really? Isn’t that setting them up to fail by telling them they “passed” even though they demonstrated mastery of less than half of the material?

It’s great to reward effort.  And nice to see students grow over a year.  But high expectations means high standards.

I’d expect to see stories soon about the ASD’s improved GPAs and promotion rate.

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3 thoughts on “Expect more, but not too much more…

  1. Unbelievable if it wasn’t coming from this administration!! I was just looking at a quick score report for TCAPs that are included in the majority of students final grades. (The exceptions being those charter schools who receive waivers from Commissioner Huffman.) Our public school student who receive an 84% quick score are considered ‘basic’ thus not proficient (or successful in the public’s eyes). The uniform grading scale mandated by the legislature would consider that a ‘C’ which used to represent an ‘average’ command of content. Under NCLB and FttT, these ‘average’ students are counted non-proficient. I guess when you write the rules, you can have it both ways.

    • The quick scores are scaled by the state. A raw score that may be an 85 but advanced on that test, will be scaled up to a 90+ by the state. Proficient scores are scaled up to 84+. Basic scores are scaled to 70+. It does not mean the student got 90, 85, or 70 percent of the questions right on the test.

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