Hire vendors to grade state tests

Although state tests are federally mandated, that doesn’t mean local districts have to pull certified teachers out of class to grade reading and writing exams (“New York City Teachers Pulled From Class to Grade State Tests,” The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 5). In fact, I submit that given proper training outside vendors can do just as good a job, without sacrificing valuable instructional time.

The problem is finding enough qualified people in light of the meager pay to do such tedious work.  I say that because I remember how much I disliked reading and scoring essays during the 28 years I taught high school English in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  I don’t know of any English teacher who looked forward to the task.  But at least credentialed teachers were decently paid.  The pittance offered outside vendors will fail to attract enough takers.

I hope New York City will prove me wrong.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

 

4 Replies to “Hire vendors to grade state tests”

  1. As with everything else, you get what you pay for.

    A obvious approach would be to hire retired teachers to do the test grading. Perhaps this is what school systems are already doing. Not sure about hiring just anyone with a college degree — like what the test-prep companies do.

    Also — assume that a school system does not use its own teachers to grade its own exams. That would create obvious incentives for the graders to award too-high grades.

    Wonder how NY State got those millions or Regents exams marked over the decades?

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  2. Labor Lawyer: I graduated from high school on Long Island, N.Y. and took various Regents exams. At the time, they were graded by the same teachers who taught the classes. I never learned my exact score and assumed the Regents primarily served at that time as feedback to teachers.

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    1. I also graduated for high school on LI (in 1966). My recollection — a bit fuzzy — is that students did get their Regents exam grade back + that it sometimes appeared on the end-of-year report card. I have definite memories of teachers discussing how the teacher would or would not give weight to the Regents grade in computing a student’s final year grade — that is, some teachers averaged the Regents grade in as the equivalent of a marking period, some ignored it entirely, some used it as a kind of extra credit (count if it would raise your final year grade, ignore if it would lower your final year grade).

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  3. Labor Lawyer: Regents exams were a way of keeping teachers throughout New York State on their toes since they were administered in certain academic subjects and resulted in a Regents diploma for students who passed them. How they were used in calculating a student’s final grade apparently varied from school district to school district.

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