Departments

Federal File

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

Fuzzy Argument

Throughout the fall, opponents of President Clinton's national testing plan such as Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., repeatedly said the proposed 8th grade mathematics exam would be based on "fuzzy math."

In a recent conference call with reporters, Marshall S. Smith, the acting deputy secretary of education, countered that that was "nonsense ... kind of fuzzy nonsense."

The national tests would be similar to exams given in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which are widely acclaimed as challenging, Mr. Smith said.

"I don't think any reasonable person would call [NAEP problems] fuzzy math," Mr. Smith said. "There are many problems that are based on straightforward computation."

Sen. John Ashcroft

But Mr. Ashcroft isn't backing down. When asked to respond, his spokesman cited a test question proposed by a panel of experts convened by the Department of Education.

Students are asked: "What of the following is true about 87 percent of 10?" They aren't required to compute the answer. Instead, they are given choices such as "It is less than 9," or "It is between 9 and 10."

The Education Department never formally adopted those specifications. Under a compromise reached in Congress, the National Assessment Governing Board will decide whether to accept the recommendations or scrap them.

Whether next year's debate on testing will be fuzzy or focused is still an open question.

Dropout Delay

A senator who led the charge in the Senate to preserve the president's national testing proposal is questioning the administration's dropout strategy.

Sen. Jeff. Bingaman, D-N.M., wrote President Clinton recently requesting that the Education Department release a report it commissioned two years ago on Hispanic students who leave school before graduation. The report is already one year late, he wrote in a Nov. 17 letter co-signed by Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas.

Earlier this year, Mr. Bingaman introduced a bill to appoint a "dropout czar" to oversee a new federal program and existing federal efforts to persuade students to stay in school.

--DAVID J. HOFF [email protected]

Web Only

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented

Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >