CSAPs are meaningless
This is in response to the column that appeared in The Aspen Times on April 27 and was written by Dwight D. Jones (“Colorado fortunate to have CSAP data”).
Mr. Jones states, “Colorado is fortunate to have an assessment that has provided educators, policy makers, and taxpayers with accurate information about student achievement for 11 years.” The problem I have with his statement is the word accurate. How can he/we continue to call the CSAP test accurate? The American Heritage Dictionary defines accurate as: conforming exactly to fact; errorless. I am here to tell you the CSAP system (test) is flawed and inaccurate. The test, itself, might be errorless, but the system in place is flawed and inaccurate.
Fact or fiction: Are the students truly giving it their best effort? Can you accurately prove that? Well, hmmmm … does the test affect their grade? Will the test determine if they graduate? Do colleges and universities look at the test scores to determine admittance into their school? No, no and no! The students know this and feel the CSAP is a waste of their time. Why? Simply put, the CSAP test does not have any impact on their grade, their graduating or the college they plan to attend. Knowing this, can Mr. Jones really claim CSAP is accurate?
I am confident in knowing that the system is flawed because I observed it, I heard it, and I lived it, as I administered the CSAP test to students in the eighth and 10th grade when I used to teach at Glenwood Springs Middle School and Roaring Fork High School. So, can a test really be accurate that has no immediate significance or has no future impact to the student? Hmmmm … I ask you, the general public, if your boss in your particular profession said, “Please take this test/assessment so I can see how you are doing, but don’t worry you will not lose your job and you will not get a raise either. I just want to see what how you are doing.” Give me a break!
As I said, the test may very well be fine, (maybe at the elementary level ” young kids typically always try hard), but the system is flawed, especially among middle and high school students. It is a system that is judging teachers and schools inaccurately and unfairly. Sadly, teachers will follow their leader (administrators), because they are usually too afraid of the ramifications of not being supportive of the system that is being passed down from the top. As a former teacher, like many others afraid of losing their job for speaking up, I find it sad that we ” Colorado ” have spent $18 million of taxpayer money for a system that is flawed and definitely inaccurate. This could be money used to give teachers a raise and keep them around longer versus blame teachers and see them leave the profession early.
Mr. Jones, if you truly want to create a system that is accurate, please create one that we know students will give their all because it matters. Let’s raise the bar in our public school system and challenge the students by making the test meaningful, not meaningless. Oh, if we could be so “fortunate” as you say to have a CSAP test that does provide accurate data. Hint: ACT and SAT.
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