Friday, February 03, 2006

Is our children be learning good?

As I pay taxes to fund $12,000 worth of public education per student annually here, I note that the passing grade of my youth, 70, becomes 55, which becomes 27.


When does 23 equal 55? When it comes to grading the Math A Regents exam.

Never before has the state required students to answer so few questions correctly on the mandatory test to eke out a passing grade of 55 and take one step closer to high school graduation than it has this year.

Students who sat for the exam on Thursday needed just 23 out of 84 points or about 27 percent to earn a 55. Only last year, a score of 26 or 31 percent was required to reach the benchmark.

A score of 55 on five Regents exams is required for students to graduate with a local diploma. Earning the more prestigious Regents diploma requires a score of 65 on five exams. Getting a 65 on the Math A test required just 33 out of 84 points or 39 percent.

... the raw score for passing has dropped 20 points since June 2003, when the state was forced to rescore the exam after two-thirds of students failed,... "It's getting more and more sickening," said one Queens math teacher...

The exam comprises of 30 multiple-choice questions, each worth 2 points, and nine computation questions, each worth up to 4 points.

Probability suggests that a student who guesses on the multiple-choice section would get eight correct leaving him or her just 7 points shy of passing...
[NY Post]

So it's flip a coin for a while, then score 1 3/4 out of the nine on the computations, and go out into the world certified as a prepared citizen.

~Sigh~ ... Well maybe that's only here, things are better elsewhere...

Dorian Cain told me he wants to learn to read. He's 18 years old and in 12th grade, but when I asked him to read from a first-grade level book, he struggled with it.

"Did they try to teach you to read?" I asked him.

"From time to time."

His mom, Gena Cain, has been trying to get him help for years...

Gena's begging eventually got results -- just not results that helped her son. What the school bureaucrats did was hold meetings to talk about Dorian. (Bureaucrats are good at holding meetings.) At the meeting we watched, lots of important people attended: a director of programs for exceptional children, a resource teacher, a district special education coordinator, a counselor and even a gym teacher. The meeting went on for 45 minutes.

"I'm seeing great progress in him," said the principal. "So I don't have any concerns."...

Well, Gena still had a concern: Her son could barely read.

Was Dorian just incapable of learning? No.

ABC News did see great progress in him -- when we sent him to a private, for-profit tutoring center. In just 72 hours of tutoring, Sylvan Learning Center brought Dorian's reading up more than two grade levels.

In 72 hours, a private company did what South Carolina's government schools could not do in over 12 years...
[John Stossel]

Or maybe not.