Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Etymology of Decimate

RIC’s Dean of Education, Roger G. Eldridge, Jr. in the ProJo:

Eldridge opposes raising the (required Praxis) scores (to 179), saying the change could have a dramatic impact on the size of teacher training programs next year, particularly at RIC, which trains about 375 new teachers a year.

“I was always in favor of raising them, but not as high as 179,” Eldridge said. “I can live with 175. That’s fine.” ...

“We are hoping the scores will go up,” he said. “So I am not as worried as I was about losing a huge number of students. We may lose 10 to 15 percent.”

Increasing scores to 179 in a single year “would have decimated us,” he said.

While "decimate" may turn up on your Praxis exam, it doesn't appear that you're expected to know the original meaning of the term. Lucky for Dr. Eldridge.

More substantively, I don't have a strong opinion about raising the Praxis cut score for new teachers, but I am concerned that our Commissioner seems more concerned with the PR value of "from worst to first" to a research-based analysis of what the optimal cut score might be.

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