NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED463322
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Mar-20
Pages: 46
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
School Awards Programs and Accountability in Massachusetts: Misusing MCAS Scores To Assess School Quality.
Wheelock, Anne
This paper makes the case that the high-stakes testing and accountability program currently in place in Massachusetts misuses scores from the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) to select particular schools as exemplary. School awards and recognition programs in Massachusetts imply that score gains are equivalent to school progress, but, in fact, score increases do not necessarily signify either improved student learning or school quality. Rising MCAS scores are poor signposts to best practices for replication by other schools, and scores may even benefit from policies and practices that harm or neglect the most vulnerable students. In many Massachusetts schools listed as exemplary, the statistical patterns associated with small numbers of students tested, changes in the composition of a schools students taking the MCAS from one year to the next, and teaching to the test may artificially improve test scores without improving school quality. By using MCAS score gains to identify particular schools as models of school improvement, public policymakers and pro-MCAS corporate leaders promote an inadequate definition school quality, misrepresent schools cited for test scores as more exemplary than others, and do a disservice to parents, teachers, and students who seek authentic school improvement and who care more about public education than public relations. (Contains 118 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System