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You be the judge

The Addison Central Supervisory Union mailed a booklet of 48 pages to homes in the ACSU district earlier this year detailing test results in area schools. Let me tell you why I believe the results indicate that math education is in need of serious attention in our school district. After reading this article, you decide if my concern is justified. The information I want you to examine is located onpage 13 of the above mentioned booklet.On pages 12 and 13 we see themath results listed for the two years that the math portion of NECAP assessment has been taken by the students in grades three through eight to assess their learnings concerning grades two through seven throughout ACSU district. The NECAP is the New England Common Assessment Program Theseassessment are broken down into four categories. The categories are: 1. Proficient with Distinction 2. Proficient 3. Partially Proficient 4. Substantially Below Proficient Lets look at what it says about Grade 8 in the year 2006 in the four categories. This graph is located on page 13, just above the mask drawings made by MUMS student artists. It should be noted that for some unexplained reasons categories 1. Proficient with Distinction and 2. Proficient are lumped together. I must admit I am a little curious as to why. The graph in the booklet indicates that 63% of the 156 eighth grade students were Proficient with Distinction or Proficient. This is about 98 students. Now comes the part that is not known by many but is of great importance. Did you know that Proficient with Distinction means a student can fall in this category and fail almost 25% of the test. I can not tell how many are in the Proficient with Distinction categorybecause as noted abovethis groupis combined with Proficient. Proficient does not sound as great as Proficient with Distinction and it is not. A student can be in the Proficient range level and fail any where between 26% and 55% of the test. All we know for certain is that of the 63% of students who achieved Proficient with Distinction or Proficient, none of them failed more than 55% of the test. Does failing 55% of a test mean to you that a student is proficient? To some it does but it does not to me. The graph also indicates that 15% of the 156 students or about 23 students were Partially Proficient Partially Proficient means you can fail any where from 55% to almost 70% of the test. The graph also indicates that 23% of the 156 students or about 36 students were Substantially Below Proficient. Substantially Below Proficient means you failed more than 70% of the test Articles are beginning to appear in national publications calling to the publics attention that the test results can be very misleading. Ill continue with additional information in a later article. The above data is what our students are able to do after seven years in the elementary schools and one year in the middle school. I think the school committees in all the ACSU schools should be asked if they knew this and if true why have they not indicated this to the population of there particular town. If they did not know this why is it that this information was not provided? For the moment consider the above and then decide if you think math education is progressing well in the ACSU Schools? You be the judge.

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