Curtis Whatley is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

Here’s what educators, advocates, wonks and policymakers are talking about today:

News & analysis

New York: NY Chancellor says errors in states tests disturbing
New York state schools Chancellor Merryl Tisch says the nearly 30 mistakes that have turned up on standardized tests that students took last month are “really disturbing” and “inexcusable.” But Tisch said Wednesday that the results will still be used for teacher evaluations because the errors did not contaminate the results. Tisch spoke at a Crain’s New York breakfast in Manhattan after published reports said there were 20 translation errors on the foreign-language versions of state math tests. The education company Pearson has a $32 million contract with the state to develop tests. Pearson was already under fire for errors on math tests and for a reading passage about a talking pineapple. The Daily News reports that Tisch said Pearson must improve its performance next year. (Times Union)

New York: Memo shows company aware of test errors
Almost 30 different test questions have now been declared invalid because they’re confusing or have outright errors. And now Pearson Publishing is scrambling to explain what went wrong and how it’s going to fix things. NY1 obtained a memo that an executive vice president at the company sent to the head of the state’s testing program. The executive wrote, “We are committed to eliminating any gaps identified by the New York State Education Department between expectation and our performance.” The day before the memo was sent, unhappy state officials had called Pearson. It was a Sunday, just after students finished taking the exams. They had already pulled six questions from a English exam, related to a bizarre passage about a talking pineapple. Then they’d yanked three math questions which didn’t add up and made teachers re-score a writing section where the grading guide was off. But most of the errors were discovered in translations of the math tests into five foreign languages and Braille. Twenty questions either had no correct answer or more than one. (NY1)


Joe Nathan: Allowing Minn. sophomores access to post-secondary educational options is a good move
Last week Minnesota legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton gave a great gift to Minnesota families and students.  Legislators extended Minnesota’s pioneer post secondary options law to allow 10th graders to take career and technical courses on college campuses. Because of young people’s creativity and insight, new “You Tube” videos are available to help young people and their families understand the value of dual (high school/college) credit courses. Last week, as well as throughout the 27-year history of Post Secondary Enrollment Options, young people were helping explain PSEO’s value. The new legislation allows Minnesota high school sophomores to take a free career/technical course on a college campus. If they earn at least a “C” they may take additional PSEO career technical courses during their sophomore year. State funds will pay their tuition, lab and book fees. Taking these courses also can help young people save literally thousands of dollars in college costs. The legislation came from bi-partisan efforts from the governor, legislators and advocacy groups. They included the African American Leadership Forum, Growth and Justice, Migizi Communications, Minnesota Council on Gifted/Talented, MinnCAN, Education Evolving, EdVisions, Minnesota Business Partnership and Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, along with the Center for School Change. Legislators did not go as far as we proposed. But opportunities have expanded. (Forest Lake Times)


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