Memo to Acting Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks from Assistant Commissioner Willa Spicer (see”AHSA Result for State Board Final”) regarding the results of the Alternative High School Assessment given to students unable to pass the standard high school proficiency exam. After the scores were tallied (which “produced accurate [though not pleasant] assessment information”) teachers were asked to produce a portfolio for each failing student to determine to determine if there was “evidence of skills from the students’ high school record and/or work products”:
The findings that result from the extensive data we collected and the portfolio information we reviewed is disturbing. While there were many struggling students whose teachers and counselors provided good evidence of work accomplished and a record of appropriate courses and local interventions, there were other students, unable ultimately to evidence even simple math skills, who were unimaginably recorded by their schools as succeeding in Algebra II or even Calculus. Equally dispiriting, there were students whose records showed failure after failure in Algebra I, or English I, who were never provided appropriate courses or interventions over the years. Finally, some students with the requisite skills had to call themselves because their school would not prepare an appeal, and we had parents in tears because they could not get anyone to review matters at the school. Clearly, for the sake of these children and their families, changes need to be made.