Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Improved state report card scores: What do they mean?

I like to say that my swimming times would have won Olympic Gold, if only I swam in 1952. Just as times in swimming have improved each year, scores on state-mandated tests have also been improving over time. The question one has to ask when reviewing district scores: Were the tax dollars spent by your district worth the improvement when even the average district is improving at a significant rate? Based on simple probability, half of the district certainly implemented programs of little merit. So, average improvement does not necessarily show improved programs or wisely-spent tax dollars. Average improvements may simply be a reflection of what happens naturally over time; result improve.

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