Sunday, February 04, 2007

The symphony of CST criticism: An overview

Now that the latest set of released CST questions has been published, it's open season on California's standards and assessments. And let me be clear: I'm all for it. An annual physics exam imposed by the state on all high school underclassmen enrolled in physics is a topic worthy of discussion and criticism. Anyone concerned with high school physics instruction in California should pour over the RTQs. And anyone who does so is likely to find shortcomings.

Some might become disillusioned from this exercise. Surely the only questions that would ever be put on such an important exam would be constructed by content experts who were also assessment professionals. And those questions would be vetted by a deliberative panel of experts. I'm all for such a process. But that's not the process we have. The process we have is pretty good, but it's not perfect. So the exam questions are not always perfect.

All the easier to criticize, I say. Some criticism has already been offered in the comments to the previous post. My experience with CST criticism is that it follows about four different paths. I will discuss those paths and the relative merit of each in the next few posts.

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