Friday, March 12, 2010

Confirmed: No RTQs until budget turns around

There will be no 2010 revision of the Released Test Questions for the CST in Physics or any other subject.

The 2009 revision, which includes questions from operational forms used in 2003-2008, will be the last of the RTQs until the California state budget turns around.

I sent an online web form note to "Write STAR" and was pleasantly surprised by the promptness of the reply. (Jaded soul that I am.) I confess a degree of dislike for web form email generators: the sender (me) gets no record of the communication, and has no idea who the recipient will be. In the event it goes unanswered, you have no one to hold accountable and nothing to hold them accountable for.

Anyway, my inquiry was answered in a matter of hours. But it stated that the RTQ budget was cut last year and that there would be no RTQs until the state budget turned around.

I don't pretend to understand the details of the legislation mandating statewide testing, but I was always given the sense that releasing 25% of each year's operational form was required. Not a luxury reserved for when California was awash with money. Required.

If the money is so tight that the CDE can't desktop publish a PDF of used questions, think of the savings to be had by not producing an operational form filled with new questions. One that must be printed with ink real on real paper. Numbered, bundled, and administered. Scored and psychometrically analyzed. Performance-leveled and reported. State wide.

If the STAR program can't be run in accordance with the legislation, why is it being run at all? Dare I go out on the limb that says it has much to do with money and little (if anything) to do with teaching or learning.

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