Spinning the facts
Maybe no one will find this surprising, but I was struck by the fact that the Maryland State Department of Education decided to put a spin on the High School Assessment data it released on Tuesday morning.
If you read the stories on the High School Assessment, you may well have seen that 83 percent of students in the Class of 2009 have met the requirements of the High School Assessments. But that isn't the way MSDE chose to say it.
In the presentation to the state school board, the number 83 percent was never mentioned. Instead, Leslie Wilson told the board that 90 percent of students who had taken all four tests had met the requirement. So that sounds pretty good right? Until you realize that 4,000 students haven't yet taken one or more of the tests. And then you add the 4,968 students who have taken the tests but haven't passed to the 4,091 and you realize that there are more than 9,000 students who still need to meet this graduation requirement by late May.
Moreover, if you are a member of the public, you might have missed the whole issue if you hadn't read deep into some of the handouts at the school board meeting.
Maybe the state is right and many of those 4,000 students will pass the tests this spring. But shouldn't the first thing presented to the public be 83 percent, not 90 percent? I have never represented myself as a math whiz, but I can add and do percentages.
Did they think no one would notice?