National News Roundup
Chiefs Criticize Ranking of States By Test Scores
The Council of Chief State School Officers has criticized as "inappropriate" Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell's use of scores on college-admissions tests to compare the educational performance of the states. (See Databank on page 12 and Education Week, Jan. 11, 1983.)
"The Council believes that the chart presented by the Education Department does not take into account an adequate number of factors on which to base conclusions, but the format and presentation of the data clearly invite those who examine the chart to draw conclusions about the relative performance of states in education," said Frank Brouillet, superintendent of public instruction in Washington State and president of the organization.
"The Council respects the intent of the Secretary to bring together information about scholastic achievements and possibly related demographic factors in one place," Mr. Brouillet said.
But he added that "the demographic factors cited by the department may or may not be related to educational achievements, and college-entrance-test scores by themselves are not a fair measure of the educational level of the general population of high-school graduates."
Earlier this month, Secretary Bell, in what he said was an effort to promote school improvement in the nation through "healthy competition," released a report ranking the 50 states and the District of Columbia on the basis of the resources they allocate to education and the performance of their students.
Testing experts and officials of the College Board and the American College Testing program, the sponsors of the two leading college-admissions tests, were also critical of Secretary Bell's use of the scores on such tests to compare the general educational performance of the states.
Series of Films To Be Sponsored By A.A.A.S.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science last week announced it is producing a $6.7 million mathematics-education film series that will be available to the nation's schools free of charge.
The seven-part film project, entitled "The Challenge of the Unknown," is being funded by a grant from the Phillips Petroleum Company. It is expected to be available to a number of "demonstration schools" by next fall and eventually to reach 20 to 25 million students nationwide each year, officials said.
F. James Rutherford, chief education officer of the AAAS, said the project aims to demonstrate to students "the relevance of mathematics in the real world" and to "build a taste in students for calculation and problem-solving ... to show people that calculation is not all that fearsome."
The film series is designed to be integrated into existing mathematics curricula in classes from the 5th-grade through the remedial college level. A teaching guide accompanies the series.
Vol. 03, Issue 17, Page 2