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Standardized Tests

September 11, 2012 | By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
For the first time, Los Angeles public school principals will be evaluated under a new system that includes student achievement as one measure of administrators' effectiveness. Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy announced the one-year agreement with the administrators' union Tuesday, calling it a "remarkable breakthrough. " The pact, which covers Los Angeles Unified's 1,500 principals and assistant principals, is aimed at meeting a Dec. 4 court-ordered deadline to begin using student achievement data to assess administrators and teachers.
August 29, 2012
Re "A disheartening lesson," Column, Aug. 25 A cheating scandal involving standardized tests should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following what has been happening to our public schools. The fear that exists in our schools hangs over students, teachers and administrators like a death shroud. When I came into education 26 years ago the question we were asking was how do I turn my students on to learning. Today the question is how do I get students to pass the test.
August 17, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The meeting at Crescendo Preparatory South was progressing as usual when the acting principal dropped a bombshell: She had been given copies of the upcoming standardized tests. The teachers were to study them, take notes - and make sure the kids got it. Some of the eight instructors were troubled by what seemed to be an order to cheat. One burst into tears. So began one of the most brazen cheating scandals in the nation. Ultimately, all of Crescendo's schools in South Los Angeles, Gardena and Hawthorne were shut down, its teachers let go and 1,400 students forced to find new schools.
August 11, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
A Los Angeles charter school administrator fired for allegedly ordering his staff to cheat on state tests received $245,000 after he sued for wrongful dismissal, the Times has learned. The settlement, which included a confidentiality clause, was approved in April between the board of Crescendo charter schools and its founder and former chief executive John Allen. The cheating scandal ultimately led to the shutdown of the six Crescendo campuses at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
August 3, 2012 | By Arthur Levine
Despite the barrage of criticism that schools are spending increasing amounts of time testing our children and teachers are being forced to teach to the test, the reality is that testing is no fad. Initiatives like California's STAR test, the high school exit exam and Academic Performance Index, or API, scores are here to stay, and are likely to become even more pervasive in schools nationwide. But in the years ahead the way testing happens must change in a manner that will benefit our children and that parents are likely to embrace.
July 22, 2012
Re "Thinkers or test takers?," Editorial, July 17 I am a recently retired high school social studies teacher. My students were required to do one research paper and one multimedia presentation each semester. I found that students learned more about areas of interest than they would have normally. After No Child Left Behind was enacted in 2002, I lost three to four weeks each year to drilling students on test questions. My evaluations centered on test scores, not actual student learning.
July 18, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Student photos of state standardized tests posted on social networks have caused a two-week delay in the release of scores and could result in more serious ramifications for nearly 150 California schools. In a letter sent to all state school districts this week, the Department of Education announced the postponement of the 2012 test results until Aug. 31. "It is imperative that when districts, teachers, parents and students receive their test results, we all can be assured that the integrity of the system remains intact," Deb Sigman, deputy superintendent of public instruction, said in the letter.
May 11, 2012 | By Mark D. Shermis
Editorial writers are entitled to their opinions. But Karin Klein's May 6 piece on automated essay scoring simply misses the point. She questions the value of automated essay scoring software (AES) as a teaching supplement in the area of writing, based in part on her own daughter's experience. It is unfortunate that her singular personal experience was frustrating for mother and daughter, but it should not be used to censure an evolving technology that can, indeed, produce better writers.
May 11, 2012
The Los Angeles Unified school board did an injustice to hundreds of students and to the school reform movement when it overrode the recommendation of its staff and decided not to close a low-performing charter school. Academia Semillas del Pueblo in El Sereno is run by dedicated educators who are striving to provide their kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students with a safe environment, a lively and enriched curriculum, as well as skills in three languages. The school has been controversial because one of those languages is an indigenous language of Mexico, and part of the school's mission is to instill in children an understanding and appreciation of their cultural heritage.
April 28, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Hundreds of photos of standardized tests have begun to appear on social-networking sites in California, raising concerns about test security and cheating by students. In the worst-case scenario, the photos could lead to invalidating test scores for entire schools or prevent the state from using certain tests. For now, officials have warned school districts to heighten test security and investigate breaches. Students are not allowed to have access to cellphones or other devices that can take pictures when the tests are administered.
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