Patt Morrison for August 24, 2011

How should schools be measured if not by their test scores?

Mercer 20516

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A stack of grading books.

A new Senate bill finally seeks to steer school and teacher evaluations away from test scores and towards a more comprehensive picture that takes into account things like students’ preparedness for college of careers, drop out and graduation rates.

Supporters of the bill believe it will do away with a blind incentive on the parts of schools to encourage their lowest-achieving students to drop out or leave so they don’t drag down the school-wide test results. The bill would also look at eliminating the so-called A-G curriculum courses required for entry to the University of California or California State University systems—an acknowledgment that college isn’t the best option for everyone.

It all sounds good, but how would it be implemented and is a statewide initiative the most effective means for local school districts that set their own policy? Quality of education is a lot about a student’s experience, but how should the system measure that?

Guests:

Erin Gable, director of the legislative affairs division for State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson, who is the sponsor of education bill SB

John Deasy, superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)


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