Last Thursday, the state’s largest teacher’s union, Connecticut Education Association, published yet another blog post promoting polling data that purportedly illustrations how just about everyone is against state accountability exams.
According to the CEA, a recent Gallup poll commissioned by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) shows that teachers, parents, superintendents and principals overwhelmingly feel that state assessments aren’t useful.
Not a surprising conclusion from an organization that spent over $150,000 this past legislative session on a TV campaign ads attacking the state’s accountability system, but what was striking is the survey linked by the CEA seemed like promotional material rather than research.
It turns out that’s because it probably is.
NWEA is not exactly disinterested when it comes to testing, considering it’s the not-for-profit company that created and promotes the Measure of Academic Progress, or MAP exam, a widely used computer-adaptive formative assessment.
Is it really all the surprising that a company that produces and markets formative assessments would be discouraging the use of state accountability testing? Not really — nor is it surprising that a NWEA commissioned poll found 92 percent of principals believe formative assessments are the most useful.
This isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with formative assessments or even the MAP exam, but it’s pretty egregious for the CEA to publish survey data commissioned by a company that produces tests and not mention that fact at all. Then again, the union also didn’t mention that the survey found attitudes on state accountability testing differ depending on socio-economic class and race. Infact, the study notes this as “an important finding”:
“An important finding of this study comes from parents, teachers, principals and superintendents in low-income and urban districts. We learned that their views on assessments differ from those in middle- and high-income districts — more specifically, that assessments are seen as powerful tools to fight inequality…”
In other words, this is just another example of the CEA cherry-picking data that suits their agenda and presenting it as “fact.” Worst of all, the union is doing this while discounting the views and perceptions of stakeholders from low-income and urban districts.
Essentially, the CEA erased the voice of the parents, students, teachers and principals that stand to lose the most if the state’s accountability system is dismantled.
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