Is there an inconsistency between MSPAP's criterion-referenced testing in grades three, five and eight and the knowledge-based High School Assessments scheduled to become mandatory for graduation in a few years? (In other words, if the MSPAP-driven elementary classroom forbids the teaching of such "archaic" skills as "carrying the one" and "borrowing from the tens place," how feasible is it to expect kids to pass a mandatory assessment in algebra in a few years?) High school teachers are almost apoplectic about this.
Just how are these tests scored, anyway? Graders must sign a secrecy oath. No one in authority will go on the record. Why the hush-hush? Does knowledge mastery count, or, as the Abell Foundation charges, are we rewarding those who can write to a formula that's been drummed into their heads? What is the margin of error built into the evaluation process. It is rumored to run as high as 30 percent. Could the standards be that fuzzy? Are we "reconstituting" some schools and passing out big reward money to others on the basis of an objective scale, or is the whole thing a wildly impressionistic crapshoot?