CSCOPE tests are hurting students in Victoria

Oct. 16, 2013 at 5:16 a.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

Have you ever studied hard for a test and were confident that you knew the material, but when you read the test questions, they had little to do with what you studied? This is the feeling many students in Victoria I.S.D. are experiencing.

Teachers are trying their best to teach the students what is expected. Teachers use the textbook, outside materials, etc. But when test time comes, they have to use CSCOPE tests which are not coordinated with textbooks and other materials that have been taught. Vocabulary used on CSCOPE tests is much higher than the grade level in which it is given. Parents can find out their children's test score, but they cannot look at the test. Why have a test that doesn't coordinate with what is taught? Besides, the school district is paying big bucks for the CSCOPE tests.

Students used to take either the Iowa Test of Basic Skills or the California Achievement Test. During the year, teachers used textbooks and supplemental materials. They used tests created by the textbook or the teacher. At the end of the year, students took the ITBS or CAT.

Most states used these tests, so it was easy to rate the states according to achievement. Some states didn't want their rating to be known, so each state began to make their own tests. It wasn't long before "testing companies" began to create and sell tests to school districts, and they found out it was quite lucrative.

A "testing company" can't suit their tests to what a teacher has taught in the classroom. It's like a doctor examining Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith but giving Mr. Jones' medicine to Mr. Smith and vice versa.

I know we have competent intelligent teachers in VISD. Aren't we able to teach and test without all this "outside help?"

I saw a refreshing sight on the marquee at Our Lady of Victory Catholic School. It read, "ITBS tests Sept. 18-20." They're still using the tried and true after all these years. Jumping on band wagons has never been a good idea.

Virginia Turner, Victoria



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