Friday, January 18, 2008

Mike Leads The Way

8th Grade Holdover Policy Designed to Force Dropouts from ednotesonline
It is so simple. Want to enforce the illusion that graduation rates are rising so you can use that issue to run for the presidency? Start holding back 8th graders before they ever reach high school. Just enough might be disgusted with school to drop out right then and there and never besmirch a Bill Gates school with their presence..........Driving them out of school before they can affect the HS grad rates is one of the ideas behind the plan. Here's what Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters had to say in her listserve: Today, in his state of the City address, the Mayor announced that the DOE will now extend their policy of holding back students on the basis of low test scores to 8th graders as well. This is the way they intend to cure the problems of our middle schools! As the research overwhelmingly shows, holding back kids doesn’t work. 107 academics, researchers, and national experts on testing understand that this policy is not only unfair, given the unreliability of one day’s test results, but will also lead directly to lower achievement and higher drop out rates. They signed the below letter drafted by Class Size Matters and Advocates for Children in 2004 opposing this policy, and nothing has changed since then. In fact, if this policy worked, the DOE 7th grade retention would have caused a rise in 8th grade achievement rates, but instead as the recent NAEPs show, our 8th grade test scores have been stagnant over many years. Among those who signed our letter included Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Ernest House, who did the independent evaluation of New York City’s failed retention program in the 1980’s, four past presidents of the American Education Research Association, Robert Hauser, the chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Appropriate Use of Educational Testing, and several members of the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council. Even the two largest testing companies are on record that the decision to hold back a child should never be based upon test scores alone. Indeed, the professional consensus is so overwhelming about the policy’s destructive academic and emotional consequences that its use amounts to educational malpractice, according to Prof. Shane Jimerson, a dean at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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