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The Most Recent News Stories Related To Educational Testing and Public Policy From Around the United States

"Schools make big gains on MCAS"
11/02/01; The Boston Globe; By Scott S. Greenberger and Bill Dedman

BROCKTON -- Nearly every Massachusetts school district had a hand in the startling statewide MCAS gains that have cut failure rates almost in half, according to detailed results released yesterday.

Scores went up failure rates went down in almost every district, and in nearly all of them more than half of the students who took the 10th-grade exam passed both the English and math sections.

But once again, wealthy suburbs such as Wellesley, Lexington, and Wayland posted the highest overall scores (three-time champion Harvard slipped to number eight), while poorer city schools landed at the bottom. That pattern, typical nationwide, has endured through four years of MCAS scores.

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10/25/01; Boston Herald; By Ed Hayward. "Minorities make MCAS gains, but 'gap remains"

10/26/01; The Springfield Union-News; By Roselyn Tantraphol. "Thousands didn't take MCAS test"

11/06/01; The Boston Globe; By Scott S. Greenberger. "Only one passes MCAS alternative"

11/14/01:; By John Mcelhenny, AP. "As 10th graders are tested, more ninth graders being held back"

"Schools making headway on SOL Va.: Passing rate nearly doubles"
10/17/01; The Washington Post; By Michael A. Fletcher

Virginia schools nearly doubled their rate of success on the Standards of Learning exams this year, with 40 percent meeting the state's benchmarks, up form 23 percent last year, according to test results released yesterday.

An additional 30 percent of schools across the state reached the targets for annual progress. That means 1,289 of the 1,839 schools in Virginia are on track to meet the benchmarks for accreditation that will take effect in 2007.

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09/20/01; The Washington Post; By Liz Seymour and Rosalind S. Helderman. "Virginia scores improve on 25 of 28 SOL tests: Black students make significant gains"

"Study finds problems in MSPAP scoring"
11/07/01; The Washington Post; By Amy Argetsinger

    Unexplained discrepancies in early score calculations for Maryland's landmark standardized tests have prompted state education officials to delay releasing the results and to call in experts who can assess the problem, official said yesterday.

    Hundreds of schools across the state showed unexpectedly high or low scores, said assistant state superintendent of schools Ron Peiffer, suggesting an error in the complex process of grading and scaling the Maryland State Performance Assessment Program.

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11/07/01; The Baltimore Sun; By Howard Libit. "State delays release of MSPAP test results"

11/09/01; The Washington Post; By Tracey A. Reeves and Annie Goweb. "Md. test scores fluctuate: Dig dips, jumps alarm schools"

"Philadelphia's schools to be privately run under Pa. plan"
11/06/01; The Washington Post; By Michael A. Fletcher

The state of Pennsylvania intends to take control of this city's troubled public schools within a month, privatize the district's top jobs and place the daily operations of the city's worst schools in the hands of church, business and other community groups.

Experts say the plan, approved under a state law, is the most radical reform effort ever tried in a large public school system. No other urban school system has seen such widespread privatization coupled with almost total state control, they said.

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11/04/01; The Inquirer; By Dale Mezzacappa. "Lessons from school takeovers: Big change at districts, less so in classrooms"

10/31/01; Education Week; By Robert C. Johnston. "Legislature signals probable takeover of Phila. schools"

11/03/01; Contra Cost Times; By Michael Rubinkam, AP. "Study says 80% fail school test in Philly"

"125,000 students can get transfers"
11/13/01; The Dallas Morning News: By Terrence Stutz

AUSTIN -- More than 125,000 Texas students enrolled in low-achieving schools will be eligible to transfer to better schools next fall under the state's education-choice law.

A list released Monday by the Texas Education Agency included the names of 121 campuses across the state -- including 40 in the Dallas school district -- where students will have the right to leave for a better education.

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11/15/01; Chicago Sun-Times. "Warning list tells 371 schools here: Shape up"

"UC admissions plan would de-emphasize grades, tests"
11/15/01; Los Angeles Times; By Rebecca Trounson

University of California regents Wednesday endorsed a major shift in the university's admissions policy to allow personal achievements, no just grades and test scores, to be considered for all freshman applicants.

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11/15/01; The Mercury news; By Becky Bartindale. "New rules expected for US admissions"

02/17/01; New York Times; By Diana Jean Schemo. "Head of U. California seeks to end SAT use in admissions"

02/17/01; Orange County Register; By Marla Jo Fisher. "US president's plan would drop SAT 1; Education: SAT 2, which focuses more on course work, would still be included"


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