ALBANY—SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher wants to pilot a new test in high schools for predicting students’ college readiness she says would offer more useful information than the standardized assessments already offered.
Zimpher was at a Clinton Global Initiative event in Denver earlier this week pitching her idea to investors. She has tentative commitments for $500,000 in in-kind donations, but needs $2 million to make the plan a reality, she said during an interview with Capital this week.
Assuming she secures the funding, SUNY would put out a request for proposals this fall to find a “diagnostic” test to pinpoint early where students are falling behind. Starting in fall 2016, the exam would be piloted in 10th and 11th grade classes in five New York school districts: Rochester and Yonkers, as well as rural districts near Binghamton, Plattsburgh and Geneva.
Partnering with local public and private colleges, high school teachers would use the test results to tailor individualized plans that aim to help struggling students improve and excelling students gain access to advanced coursework.
Zimpher sees these tests as more useful than the state tests so many parents and teachers are hostile too - and hundreds of thousands opted out of this year.
The "diagnostic" test has yet to be developed, so I fail to see how Zimpher's so sure this test will be more useful than the state tests.
Also the funding hasn't been secured for the program - is $2 million really enough to put such an expansive program in place?
We're talking the tests, the resources for the individualized plans that are supposed to help students, the "free" online "college readiness" course she plans to develop in concert with this testing program.
I know she's only looking to pilot this in five school districts, but given all that Zimpher claims this diagnostic test/college readiness program will do, I'm skeptical $2 million gets it off the ground.
I'm also skeptical that no matter how much she gets to run the program it will actually work.
Why not take the money she wants for testing, tracking, et al. and put it into smaller class sizes and other classroom resources?
Ah, but there's nothing "cutting edge" about that and so, alas, we get yet another testing/college readiness program that will cost millions and is doomed to inevitable failure.
You have to wonder, what matters more to educrats like Zimpher - the individuals she's charged with educating or the Endless Testing regime that feeds off all the testing/tracking she mandates?