Floden speaks to Detroit News about testing, school start dates

September 12, 2011

Tuesday, state education officials are presenting a proposal to the State Board of Education to drastically toughen proficiency standards on standardized tests. If the proposal passes, several schools and districts with students who were once considered proficient in math, reading, science and social studies will no longer hold this status.

Robert Floden, interim dean of the College of Education and co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, said that meeting these requirements will require substantial work to improve instruction.

“The change in cut scores for MME are an important shift, which will give students a more accurate picture of their readiness to succeed in college,” he said.

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Floden also commented on the controversy surrounding school start dates in Michigan. School leaders say they would like schools to open before Labor Day to better prepare students for the Michigan Education Assessment Program — the test that determines if schools are considered passing or failing under federal and state laws.

Floden, however, looked at the situation from a different approach.

“The number of days of instruction makes a difference for performance. The number of days isn’t determined by the start date. Starting later means finishing later,” he said.

What’s important, he added, is how the time is used.

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