High School Assessment Perfect Scores
In the debate over the high school assessments, Howard County parent Sara Seifter asked a question that got lost in the shuffle of wider issues. She wanted to know why some highly able students she knows haven't scored in the stratosphere on these exams. She said these are kids who have aced their AP exams, get high scores on the SATs but don't score much above 490 out of 650 on these exams. Mind you, that is still about 100 points above passing. But she still wanted to know from the Maryland state school board why they weren't getting the maximum 650 or close to it. In her testimony to the state board she asked, "How is it that these students who are receiving 800s on their SATs are not receiving at or near a perfect score on the HSAs which are supposedly tests of basic skills?"
I asked Leslie Wilson, who's in charge of testing for the state board of education, to answer this question. She said there are some perfect scorers, but not many. Last year, of the roughly 55,000 students who took the test, 39 students had a perfect 650, the top score. Another 50 students scored in the 550 range or up.
Wilson says that the high school tests aren't designed like the SATs to measure high achievement or very low achievement. They are designed to concentrate on whether students pass or not...That is the English translation of the complexity of scoring.
Seifter would like the state to use a national test with a proved track record that students can look at and see where their weaknesses are.