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First, throw out the tests? Or, before that, test the tests

In Los Angeles, the teachers union is echoing calls we’ve heard here about what to throw out given budget cuts. First, the tests! The particular focus in L.A. right now is periodic assessments, the standardized tests given three or four times a year, which, unlike state tests, have no stakes attached.

While some dismiss periodic assessments as yet another degradation of the teaching profession, others argue the assessments actually help teachers do their jobs better. This latter group now includes former New York City chancellor Ray Cortines, the new head of the Los Angeles schools. His system just released a report showing exactly how much the assessments help.

Here’s one of the charts they use to argue that the more periodic assessments a student takes, the better her test scores will be:

The Los Angeles Times reached a similar conclusion after its reporters studied the data. We’d love to analyze periodic assessments in New York City. Data please, Department of Education?

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