School Superintendent: “Aspire Is An Autopsy”

Photo credit: Bartmoni (CC-By-SA 3.0)
Photo credit: Bartmoni (CC-By-SA 3.0)

ACT’s Common Core assessment, Aspire, did not receive a glowing endorsement from at least one school superintendent in Alabama.


Madison City Schools showed more than 20 percent higher proficiency than the statewide average for the 2015 ACT Aspire assessments, but Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler didn’t appear enthused when sharing the scores this week.

The reason was partly because he’s only interested in comparing Madison schools to a handful of districts in the state — Homewood City Schools’ scores were nearly identical to Madison in 2014 — and partly because he doesn’t hold Aspire assessments in high regard.

“Aspire is an autopsy,” he said. “We get them in the summer when you can’t do anything about it.”

Madison school officials said they prefer the STAR assessments, which they voluntarily give students each year. Setting higher standards than the rest of the state on taking the STAR assessments is a key reason Madison scored near the top in the nation on Aspire, they said…

…STAR is 95 percent accurate on predicting how a student will perform on Aspire, the superintendent added. He also didn’t think Aspire can fairly gauge Madison City Schools on longevity success because the district is growing by an average of 250 students per year; in other words, it doesn’t truly compare the same students annually, Fowler said.

Stacy Blair, elementary instruction specialist for the district, said Madison believes so strongly in the STAR assessments, that it had raised the proficiency standards from the state-recommended 40 percent to its own standard of 60 percent in recent years and expects to increase to 65 percent this coming year.

“STAR is big,” she said. “It’s the leader in RTI (Response to Intervention).”

Fowler said he’s not annoyed by having to give Aspire tests because it’s only a couple hours each year, but prefers STAR for its real time feedback.

Blair and Fowler also said they prefer STAR to Aspire, because the tests, given five times a year, only take 20 minutes each time. Aspire tests can take about an hour for a single subject area.

Read the rest.  Hmm… the state mandated assessment isn’t very helpful.  Anyone surprised?