A Reader Asks… Does the Passing Standard Matter

A LYS Central Office Administrator asks the following:

SC,

Quick question. When the state doesn’t require 70% of the EOC (End of Course Exam) questions to be answered correctly to meet the state’s standard – why are requiring 70% proficiency on our checkpoints?

We realize we need to get to this 70% level for the state some day, but that is still a couple of years in the future.

What if we lower our common assessment standard to something closer to the current state requirement? Wouldn’t this be more realistic and even motivating for our staff? 

Your thoughts?

SC Response Not exactly a quick question.  But that’s OK. I have a not exactly quick answer.   1. It doesn’t matter that the passing standard on the state assessment is currently lower than your in district standard.  In fact, it is good thing.   A. The state standard is a minimum standard.  I have to assume the minimum is not acceptable for the students attending your schools.  B. You want to “practice” harder than the “game.” It’s the best insurance/assurance of success when it actually matters.

2. Hard truth time. In all likelihood your district developed common assessment questions are easier than the STAAR questions, so it is best to err on the side of caution.

3. The common assessment is over what was supposed to be taught and mastered in a specific window of time. If it was a teacher made test covering a specific window of time, the teacher would not accept a grade lower than a 70 as acceptable. We should not expect less from the common assessment.

4. Winners don’t lower their standards because the task is hard. Winners work hard to elevate their game to eventually accomplish the task.  Which means that winners don’t always win in the short run, but they always work towards eventual victory.

5. The decision to lower district standards boils down to this: Is the district working towards being “not bad” or is the district working to be exceptional.  Whichever one you choose, your students and staff will work to meet that expectation.  Hence the value and importance of leadership. 

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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