TAKS limbo: How low can we go?

Chubby Checker's Limbo PartyThe Houston Chronicle has a very interesting story (“Qualms arise over TAKS standards“) on how the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam is being evaluated. As it turns out, the Texas Education Agency has decided that the questions were hard and the best way to rate passing is to lower the standard. Eighth-graders had to answer correctly 21 of 48 questions (just under 44%).

Remember: Many of these exams are multiple choice and a score of zero is only possible if a student leaves the question blank and doesn’t even guess. A student should be able to get 25% correct by guessing.

The problem is that TAKS was created to give parents a standard to use to judge local schools. The problem is that TEA doesn’t have objective standards that make the test consistent and gives results validity. Maybe the shifting standards for passing TAKS tells us something about how much we should trust the results.


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