Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

All of the Above: Maryland's New Multiple-Choice-Only State Exam a) Will Leave Key Skills Untested; B) Is a Step Backward to the 20th Century; C) Rejects Technology; or D) Is a Poor Gauge of Learning?

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

All of the Above: Maryland's New Multiple-Choice-Only State Exam a) Will Leave Key Skills Untested; B) Is a Step Backward to the 20th Century; C) Rejects Technology; or D) Is a Poor Gauge of Learning?

Article excerpt

I'M STEPPING OUT on a limb here, but either we have some very bizarre decision making going on in Maryland, or some very poor reporting from The Washington Post. In light of the Post's article on the supposed ineffectiveness of educational software (see Policy & Advocacy, June; www.thejournal.com/ articles/20775), I would've banked on poor reporting. It turns out the Post is just the messenger this time.

In a story published Sept. 13, the paper reported that "Maryland plans to eliminate written-response questions from its high school exit exams to address long-standing complaints about how slowly test results are processed." Currently, Maryland's state test includes both "brief constructed responses" and "extended constructed responses." Constructed response questions, whether brief or extended, require students to construct--write--responses rather than just choose from answers arranged for them by the test makers.

The reason cited for the change was speed. By eliminating written-response questions, the state can cut the time it takes to get results back to districts from nine weeks down to three weeks. Stephen Bedford, the chief school performance officer in Montgomery County, MD, believes the nine-week turnaround time is "too long, making it difficult to enroll students in appropriate courses or plan for interventions" for students who fail.

Ronald A. Peiffer, Maryland's deputy superintendent for academic policy, says, "The kinds of things we could only test with constructed-response items before now can be done . …

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