We’ve already written extensively about the failure of the new Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) test – which isn’t all that surprising considering it’s produced by the same morons who brought us the failed Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT).
PACT, PASS … the letters may change, but when it’s all said and done it’s still an epic FAIL for South Carolina school children, who fell even further behind the rest of the nation in 2009 – despite record funding increases for public education.
Not surprisingly, this is all political.
On the one hand, South Carolina’s ridiculously expensive (and totally ineffective) academic assessment program continues to line the pockets of a company with ties to the state’s top RINO kingpin, J. Warren Tompkins. And in order to avoid upsetting this lucrative apple cart, Tompkins’ stooges in state government are trying to manipulate these exams to make parents think that their students are doing better than they actually are – which serves the dual purpose of absolving Tompkins’ many legislative clients of accountability at the polls.
Anyway, you can read more about the scam in this exclusive report.
You can also read about how these expensive, ineffective assessments are in fact being used to dumb down South Carolina’s academic standards, which is the last thing we need to be doing in a state with so much ground to pick up.
In addition to all of these issues, though, there’s a more fundamental problem with PASS.
Like PACT before it, teachers still aren’t getting the diagnostic tools they need to properly instruct our children. In fact, there’s a great post up today over on The Voice that highlights teacher dissatisfaction with PASS.
Again, in a state with so much ground to make up, it is absolutely inexcusable to spend gobs of money on an assessment tool that fails to provide teachers with diagnostic data, in real time. In fact, numerous districts have been forced to purchase tests that actually provide this data in order to get the diagnostic information they need.
South Carolina could dramatically reduce its testing budget while at the same time providing teachers with the tools they need to do their jobs better.
In fact, South Carolina should have long ago followed the lead of other states by taking an off-the-shelf commercial exam (i.e. Stanford, Iowa Basic Skills Test) and tweaking it to our state standards. In addition to being cheaper and more effective, this would have also provided South Carolina parents and taxpayers with an opportunity to compare our schools – apples to apples – with schools in other states across the nation.
It’s never too late to make the change, though … and reforming our state’s “Dumb and Dumber” approach to testing could be accomplished this legislative session.
All lawmakers have to do is kick Mr. Tompkins’ client – and its expensive, inefficient tests – to the curb.