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Todd Farley

Blog Entries by Todd Farley

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics, or What's Really Up With Automated Essay Scoring

(30) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 5:08 PM

A couple years back I wrote a vitriolic exposé of the greedy and incompetent for-profit standardized testing industry, so I didn't expect to be impressed by the automated essay scoring study released in April (Contrasting State-of-the-Art Automated Scoring of Essays: Analysis, authored by Mark Shermis of the University...

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Numbers Game

(5) Comments | Posted May 17, 2012 | 10:48 AM

The scores for the writing portion of this year's FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) plummeted so precipitously that the abilities of the Sunshine State's student writers aren't being called into question, the very validity of those scoring statistics are. While I don't want to say "I told you...

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Standardized Testing: A Decade in Review

(114) Comments | Posted April 8, 2011 | 5:37 PM

There are those who think American public education is in shambles and needs to be completely remade, arguing that the standardized tests mandated by No Child Left Behind will be a vital tool in turning around U.S. schools: They say student promotion and graduation, teacher pay and employment, and school...

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Cuter Than Junior?

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2011 | 6:35 PM

In the last year I've wed a beautiful woman, sired a genius child, and at last become a writer (with my first book released and my articles published in periodicals from The New York Times to Hustler). It has been, by any measure, an extraordinary year, which is why I...

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7 Days in Detroit Public Schools

(9) Comments | Posted March 15, 2011 | 12:44 PM

I had the goat.

That's what I remember about my travels to Detroit last year, while working as a test developer for an educational publishing company. I made two separate trips to Motown, spending seven total days in the Detroit Public Schools to get teacher approval on...

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Points to Ponder About the Common Core Standards

(7) Comments | Posted January 25, 2011 | 3:01 PM

If there's one thing the uber-confident if minimally-experienced education reformers can agree on, it's that this country's students need "high standards." The thought is that the high expectations of "high standards" in our schools will allow the United States to overcome any educational deficiencies we face (even the huge hurdle...

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In Defense of the Standardized Testing Industry

(9) Comments | Posted December 31, 2010 | 11:12 AM

I am in favor of the Obama administration's continued emphasis on standardized testing, but that's not only because I've long been getting rich in standardized testing. Of course not. My fervent support of the President's proposal to test pretty much every kid at the drop of pretty much every hat...

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Teacher Merit Pay: Why Test Scores Shouldn't Dictate Salaries

(88) Comments | Posted December 23, 2010 | 10:38 AM

During the nearly 15 years I toiled in the standardized testing industry, most of my time was spent scoring student responses to the open-ended questions on state assessments, or training others to do the same. Because of that experience, I'm amazed today to hear the suggestion that the jobs and...

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Standardized Testing: The New Wild West

(432) Comments | Posted December 18, 2010 | 2:09 PM

Like the maddeningly successful author Diane Ravitch, I, too, have changed my mind about No Child Left Behind. Unlike the estimable Ravitch, however -- whose recent bestseller argues in exhausting detail against the very accountability measures that Ravitch long championed -- in the great testing debate I've gone from "con"...

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