Re: ARN opposes standards?
- Subject: Re: ARN opposes standards?
- From: Gabie Gedlaman - AZ Standards <gabieg@AZSTANDARDS.ORG>
- Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 07:45:13 -0700
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
I rarely get defensive but this comment below which I'm replying to reminded
me of an article I sent to a local paper and would like to share in regard
Confusing Opposition to AIMS with Opposition to High Expectations
There seems to be gross confusion among AIMS supporters that opposing AIMS
(Arizona's high school exit exam) means opposing high standards. That
confusion is related to two others concerning what is meant by "standards"
and what counts as "accountability." Standardization--externally imposed,
uniform requirements that demand conformity--is not the only way to think
about standards. A much better way, one that accounts for students'
individuality as well as for common values that say "doing the right thing"
is its own reward, is to think of standards as high expectations. When you
hold high expectations, those are self-imposed and they entail a concern
with quality. Requiring a certain score on a test is not the only way to
establish accountability. In fact, Arizonans are opposed to the AIMS test
not because they are against accountability but because they are shocked by
how accountability is being defined, who is doing the defining, and by state
officials' refusal to let parents, educators, and community members have a
voice in that definition.
In the past year, as Arizona's coordinator for the AZ Standards network, I
have spoken with many parents, professors, teachers, students,
administrators, and lawmakers. While all were opposed to AIMS, no one ever
suggested it would be a good idea to have low standards or to do away with
accountability. Instead, they suggested alternatives, some of which
* Require students to put together a scholastic resume for graduation that
includes a variety of scores and other academic indices.
* Use a portfolio of student work at the primary and intermediate grades as
well as at 12th grade to account for the breadth, depth, and quality of
students' engagement in particular academic experiences.
* Implement a student-initiated project leading to an exhibition that would
be required for graduation. Judges from the district and the community
would have to approve the exhibit.
* Require students to apply for graduation with a written statement of
purpose, an academic/extra-curricular resume, a school transcript, samples
of their work with justification for selecting those particular samples,
letters of recommendation, and an interview with a panel of faculty.
Supporting such performance assessments does not mean that one opposes
standards and accountability. It means that there is a focus on raising
teachers' and students' sights on the quality of expected work. It means
that what is valued is how and why students performed the way they did on
long-term, hands-on, meaningful, interactive projects because project
learning is what sticks long after graduation. It means that the learning
that matters is the learning that sticks, not the learning-for-the-test that
is forgotten as soon as the test is over. When people forget what they
learned they never really learned it to begin with.
There is one of two assumptions that can be made for those most supportive
1) There are good intentions for improved education wrapped around ignorance
of better ways to improve it
2) There is simply no concern that learners are only learning isolated facts
that research shows does not transfer to other realms of life, let alone
other test performance. Supporting AIMS means there is no desire for
accountability for HOW teachers teach or why students choose particular
answers. It shows there is lack of interest in whether students receive
feedback so they can learn from their mistakes (currently, students are not
permitted to revisit AIMS to analyze their performance).
Let us end this mad obsession for the instant and temporary gratification of
a test score that merely masquerades as accountability. Instead, let us
look to different assessment alternatives that will offer real
accountability by telling us what's actually going on in schools, how it's
happening, and what needs to be done to improve learning in Arizona's
WHAT'S WRONG WITH 'HIGH STAKES TESTS' AND THE 'AIMS' TEST IN PARTICULAR?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Deanna M. De'Liberto" <Ddeliberto@AOL.COM>
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2001 8:49 PM
Subject: Re: SAT: unintended consequences
> Uhhoh I forgot this is the group that OPPOSES standards....
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