From Chicago Sun Times 9/6/03
- Records for 67,000 Illinois teachers (about half the State's teachers) were reviewed and 8% (5,243) failed at least one State competency exam since 1988 that an 8th or 9th grader should be able to pass. The test is multiple choice, and the Sun Times gave it to 10 high school students, who needed 23 minutes or less to finish the 21 question Basic Skills test. Most noted the grammar section covered materials they had learned in the sixth to eighth grades.
- While most teachers eventually went on to pass the test, until then they continued to teach. The paper cites school districts that employed teachers who had failed almost all of the tests they had taken:
21 of 21
15 of 16
24 of 25 - this teacher taught LD students
18 of 19 - this one taught remedial reading
One teacher who had been teaching for 9 years failed the basic grammar test 13 of 13 times between 1998 and 2001 alone.
- Students in the lowest scoring schools, with the highest percentage of minority and poor students, are five times more likely to be taught by teachers who failed these tests. Students across all Chicago public schools are 3.5 times more likely than students in suburban schools to have such teachers. More than 85% (63) of the State's top flunking teachers (74) were teaching in Chicago. Chicago has the fifth highest flunking teacher rate in the state (19%, compared to the State average of 7.8%). Of Chicago public schools, 92 schools had teacher flunk rates of about one in four, and in one predominantly Hispanic school, the teacher flunk rate was 1 in 2.
- They cite a 1996 Tennessee study where students taught math by the least effective teachers were 50 percentile points behind the students taught by the most effective teachers after three years.
- From 1999 to 2001 9% of the basic grammar, 8% of the writing, 8% of math, and 3.4% of reading tests taken by State teachers were failed.
- The test was scheduled to rise from high school to sophomore year of college level last year, but I haven't seen any new analyses.