Testing Mania and Testing Abuse, from Ed in the Apple
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- Subject: Testing Mania and Testing Abuse, from Ed in the Apple
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- Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2012 10:10:35 -0500
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Testing Mania and Testing Abuse: When Will We Realize That Testing
Gone Wild Does Not a Better School System Make.
Posted on January 3, 2012
| 1 Comment
In the world of sports teams win or lose and millions of dollars are on
the line. A winning team means bowl games and fan/alumni support. In the
private sector profit equals rising stock prices. In the world of
education success or failure is determined by student test scores on
For decades students in one elementary grade and one middle school grade
were tested in English and Mathematics and high school students either
by an exit exam or graduation rates.
It all changed in 2002.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a federal statute, required testing in
grades 3-8 each year. States set goals called Adequate Yearly Progress
(See US Dept of Ed guidelines here
failure to reach AYP goals results in Schools in Need of Improvement
(SINI) status and eventually direct state intervention.
The carrot (or, according to your politics, pieces of silver) dangled
billions in the Race to the Top competition and forced states to
institute teacher evaluation regulations that required the use of
student achievement data -- ignoring the growing research that student
achievement data massaged by a value-added algorithm is a flawed system
for teacher assessment.. (See Linda Darling-Hammond and others
researchers here <http://gse.berkeley.edu/admin/events/docs/epaa.pdf
After a testing schedule kerfuffle that resulted in the firing of the
NYS Director of Testing the State Education Department released new
testing dates and hours of testing. Test days were increased from five
to six and the testing time increased for each day. The additional
questions are required to validate test items for future exams, not for
Two or so years down the road the 24-state coalition, Partnership for
Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC)
assessmentswill replace current state assessments. New York State
belongs to the consortium that will administer four, that right four
tests a year in grades 3-11 in the range of content areas (see chart
detailing plans here
As test mania engulfs our education system the highest functioning
education systems in the world -- Finland and South Korea and Singapore
give scant attention to testing, except as a gateway to post secondary
education.(See descriptions of the Finnish education system here
And, BTW, Finnish teachers are wholly unionized and have a 200-page
contract -- longer than the UFT contract.
The PARCC website <http://www.parcconline.org/
> lauds the upcoming
/PARCC is a 24-state consortium working together to develop
next-generation K-12 assessments in English and math. /*/PARCC benefits:/*
*/Students /*/who will know if they are on track to graduate ready for
college and careers/
/T/*/eachers /*/with regular results available to guide learning and
*/Parents /*/with clear and timely information about the progress of
/S/*/tates /*/with valid results that are comparable across the member
*/The nation /*/as it is based on college- and career-ready,
the McGraw-Hill interim testing tool and other predictive assessments
teachers are overwhelmed with data -- data that tells them what they
already know. Some students struggle -- what Acuity or the
PARCC assessments don't divine is how you make Juan and Mary do their
homework, read at home, pay attention and make progress. PARCC
assessments won't make parents more involved in their children's education.
In June, 2006 Senator Obama said,
/"There's a saying in Illinois I learned when I was down in a lot of
rural communities. They said, 'Just weighing a pig doesn't fatten it.'
You can weigh it all the time, but it's not making the hog fatter./
/"So the point being, if all we're doing is testing and then teaching to
the test, that doesn't assure that we're actually improving educational
/"We do need to have accountability, however. We do need to measure
progress with our kids./
/"Maybe it's just one standardized test, plus portfolios of work that
kids are doing, plus observing the classroom./
Unfortunately President Obama didn't listen to Senator Obama.
Test mania is running wild.
Although the PARCC website is silent on the question of the use of new
assessments to evaluate and remunerate teachers you better bet that
testing is irrevocably tied to teacher assessment. Just because you're
paranoid doesn't mean people aren't plotting against you!!
Somewhere in some laboratory a wonky scientist is finishing up work on a
knowledge chip that can be stapled into a kid's earlobe and download
learnings day by day and some venture capitalist is figuring out how to
monetize the chip.
Or, maybe, just maybe, we'll learn from the Finns.
Monty Neill, Ed.D.; Executive Director, FairTest; P.O. Box 300204,
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-477-9792; http://www.fairtest.org
to FairTest: https://secure.entango.com/donate/MnrXjT8MQqk
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