Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2007: Foose and the Test Prep Scandal. WPost says Foose on Short List for MCPS Superintendent.

Sunday, March 4, 2007
The principal of Earle B. Wood Middle School in Rockville gathered teachers and handed out a list of all the black, Hispanic, special-education and limited-English-speaking students who would take the Maryland School Assessment, the measure of success or failure under the federal No Child Left Behind mandate.

Principal Renee Foose told teachers to cross off the names of students who had virtually no chance of passing and those certain to pass. Those who remained, children on the cusp between success and failure, would receive 45 minutes of intensive test preparation four days a week, until further notice.

...That is what some teachers say has happened at Wood. Their accounts and interviews with Foose offer a glimpse at a kind of test-prep triage that analysts think is increasingly common at many schools but is rarely discussed in public...

...Test preparations began in earnest, the staffers said, on the day faculty returned from winter break. In separate meetings with the English and math teachers, Foose handed out lists of "subgroup" students and outlined her plan:
"We were told to cross off the kids who would never pass," one staffer said. "We were told to cross off the kids who, if we handed them the test tomorrow, they would pass. And then the kids who were left over, those were the kids we were supposed to focus on."

The next week, teachers regularly began pulling selected students from social studies, science, gym, art and other elective classes to work in small groups to prepare for the test. They used test-prep workbooks and sample material from the state education department's Web site.
The principal and some employees disagree on how often students were removed from classes for test-preparation. Foose said that many teachers delivered extra instruction in the classroom.
Employees say that Foose and one of her administrators added to the urgency by telling students and parents that those who failed the assessments might be held back. The principal said the comments came from an assistant principal and were more about students' long-term academic prospects...

... Others, inside and outside the school, said they thought the exercise crossed a line.
"They're not teaching the material," Cullison said. "They're teaching them how to take a test, which is a huge disservice to these kids."

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