A reader submits:A hot topic in Texas at this time is the Texas Projection Measure, TPM. TPM is an attempt to measure growth. The idea is that schools that show statistical improvement get credit for meeting with accountability standards even if the raw scores are not up to standard. Some issues:TPM statistics assumes that a child doing well or improving in math and reading will eventually pass all sections of State testing (science and social studies). This is probably an accurate assumption, however the implementation is 180 degrees contrary to my thinking. Here is why, a student who is passing or substantially improving in math and reading yet fails science and social studies is an indicator that the school let the child down in science and social studies. The school should not receive credit for the science and social studies but rather should be given notice for the poor performance since the child has the learned the basics of reading and math.A child failing a portion of the state exam is a “go, no-go” issue. That is, promotion and graduation depend on pass or fail, not improvement. Yet under TPM the school gets credit for a pass, even though the student does not, as long as the child’s performance has statistically improved. This is also 180 degrees opposed to my philosophy. The student-school relationship concerning testing should be if one benefits, both benefit. With TPM this is not the case as the child can fail and face dire consequences, yet the school not only escapes dire consequences, but inexplicably is rewarded. If a child is failing but also statistically (and in reality) improving, what is this a measure of? I don’t know for sure, but TPM assumes it is because the school is improving. I ask, “Improving from what?” A child is improving, so the child was apparently always capable, so it is entirely likely the curriculum and instructional practices of the school were to blame for the child failing in the first place. It is possible (likely?) the school was providing a disservice to the child resulting in the child failing to meet accountability standards. I applaud schools with the courage and conviction to fix failing practices, but to reward the school with a favorable, unearned accountability rating while students continue to suffer from the consequences of failure is WRONG. And while I applaud schools that have the courage and conviction to fix failing practices, the reality is that failing schools chose to provide a disservice to students. The courage and conviction to improve is a choice, as it is a choice to provide a disservice to children. Choose wisely as your student’s future certainly depend upon your choice, even if your school’s future does not.SC ResponseYou make a very logical and compelling case. I particularly like the following point that you make, “The student / school relationship, concerning testing, should be if one benefits, both benefit.”When this is not the case, it provides a concrete example of adult comfort being placed ahead of student need. A child failing to meet minimum standards is a serious issue with many real world and life long consequences. The system needs to be warned, mobilized and accountable for rectifying that issue. But by camouflaging that information (TPM), the system, and the adults in the system, can continue moving in the same direction, at the same pace, under the illusion that they are solving problems, which in actuality they are not.Next, though it stings, you are right in pointing out that school failure is often a choice. There are fundamental practices required to operate effective schools and these practices are not a secret. However, many in education believe that those fundamental practices do not apply to themselves, their campus, or their district. Sadly, it is their students that pay the price for that hubris.Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…

Menu