Steven Adamowski, Governor Malloy and Perfecting the Art of Inflating Test Scores

The “moment” of Education Reform is upon us.

The biggest “Education Reform” groups in the nation are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertising and lobbying into Connecticut in support of Governor Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill.  Maybe you’ve seen their ads or received a phone call from one of their paid phone banks asking you to contact your legislators.

Even Michelle Rhee, the controversial anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-parent spokesperson for those who want to turn America’s schools over to corporations, showed up in Hartford last week. The claim is that business minded people, using standard business practices, will do better job for our children than educators will because they know how to “run things.” Rhee’s performance at a rally supporting Malloy’s legislation was to inform us that “the whole nation is watching what Connecticut does.”

Hartford was their backdrop, not only because it’s the home of the State Capitol, but it is also where Hartford’s former superintendent of schools, Steven Adamowski, instituted some of the “reforms” that Malloy and Rhee claim successfully elevated Hartford’s standardized test scores.

ConnCAN, the “Education Reform” lobby group likes to claim that Hartford has had the “greatest gains on state assessments of any Connecticut City.”

So let’s take a real look at what happened to test scores in Hartford and how Steven Adamowski’s fame was achieved.

First let’s start with an analogy.  Imagine opening up a new deck of 52 cards.

  1. Count the face cards (Jacks, Queens, Kings)
  2. Face cards = 12.  Divide the # of face cards by the # of cards.
  3. 12/52 = 23 percent… So face cards make up 23 percent of the deck of cards
  4. Now, with Aces low, take out the cards with the two lowest numbers (Aces and Twos)
  5. How many cards are left  52-8 = 44
  6. Now what is the percent of face cards in your deck?
  7. Divide # face cards by the # of cards
  8. 12/44 cards = 27 percent… take out 8 cards and face cards now make up 27 percent of the deck.

Lesson:  As you take non-face cards out of a deck of cards, the percentage of face cards left in the remaining deck goes up.

Now let’s head to Hartford and see what Steven Adamowski and the education reformers have done there with the Connecticut Masterly Test (CMT).

Adamowski was named Hartford’s Superintendent in November 2006, so the baseline for assessing his success is the 2006-2007 school year. We’ll use the 8th grade CMT Mathematics test to see what happened.

School Year % of students taking standard CMT % Moved to the Modified Assessment Test % at or above proficient % at or above goal
2006-2007 91.7   0 47.8 22.7
2010-2011 84.6 9.8 60.1          +12.3 31.8          +9.1

Adamowski’s and his supporters claim that during his years in Hartford, the percent of students testing at or above the proficient level went up 12.3 (Column 4: 60.1 – 47.8 percent) and that there was a 9.1 percent increase in number who scored at or above goal (Column 5: 31.8-22.7 percent).

But hold on just a minute. Continue reading “Steven Adamowski, Governor Malloy and Perfecting the Art of Inflating Test Scores”