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Posted at 2:33 PM ET, 03/11/2011

New reading test for D.C. ninth graders

By Bill Turque

DCPS ninth graders, who do not take the DC CAS, will now join the April testing fun. The District, through test vendor CTB/McGraw-Hill, has set up a standardized reading assessment for its high school freshmen, to be taken during the DC CAS testing period of April 4-14.

It's part of a long-term plan to expand testing beyond the DC CAS footprint (grades 3 through 8 and grade 10), with the goal of gathering more data about student progress and moving more teachers into IMPACT "Group 1." That's the segment of teachers who have half of their annual evaluation based on test score growth of individual students, the so-called "Individual Value-Added."

According to an FAQ sheet from the school system's Office of Data and Accountability, there is no math assessment accompanying the reading test because of "greater variance in the specific mathematics courses that 9th grade students are enrolled in as compared with reading." It said the District is working on a math test, but wants to prepare for the advent of the Common Core State Standards first.

Results from this year's ninth grade test will not count toward teacher evaluations. That will start next year, DCPS said.

One related note: Either I missed this or was led to believe otherwise, but Group 1 is quite small. According to written responses from DCPS to questions from D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D), there were just 476 classroom teachers in 2009-10 who had individual value-added data used on their evaluations. That's about 11 percent of the teacher corps.

Of those, just 37 earned "highly effective" IMPACT ratings. There were 305 teachers deemed "effective" and 124 judged "minimally effective." Ten were "ineffective."

By Bill Turque  | March 11, 2011; 2:33 PM ET
Categories:  Test scores  
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