By Richard Mayou; Michael Sharpe; Alan Carson
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Even the courts have been involved. In January 2002, the Austin, Texas, school district became the first district in the nation to face criminal charges and to be convicted and fined for tampering with high-stakes test scores. The Travis County Attorney charged administrators and data processing staff with tampering with the high-stakes test scores from three Austin schools to raise school ratings above the low petforroinglunacceptable range. The incentive for doing so was to avoid negative publicity and other potential penalties for the district and the schools when the test results were released.
FOR DISCUSSION 1. Thinking back to your own high schonl days, what were some of the factors that turned you off about tests? Keeping this in mind, argue for and against the use of highstakes tests to measure learning. "' 2. Were these factors connected with the tests themselves, or were they the result of how the tests were used? 6. Imagine the modem American high school 20 years from now. Identify several ways in which testing and measurement will have changed since the time you were attending high school 7.
8. Review the National Education Goals. Why? 3. g, changing dem0graphics, increased popUlation, or global competition for jobs) occurring in yonr city. state, or region that willlitely make testing and measurement in our schools more complicated and important in the future. 4. earoed that your principal will receive a financial incentive if test scores at your school increase for the next three years but will be reassigned if they do not How do you, as (a) a teacher in the school, (b) a parent of a student in the school.