Are standardized tests the new swine flu?
I am really blessed with a job that I am passionate about in a district that is high achieving, but not just in the ways that high achievement matters today. When I first started working here in the mid-1990's, I was amazed at what I saw. Things were so different from when I was a kid. Parents were very involved with the schools. They came to parent conference nights, they advocated for their children, and they demanded creative, out-of-the-textbook style teaching that made their kids think critically. There was a huge appreciation for the arts, music & foreign language, there were unique after school activities, such as engineering clubs and fencing. You didn't get that when I was a kid!
Fortunately, the parents here still demand these things. And for that I am most grateful.
As it turns out, that child woke me up in the middle of the night and I rushed her to the emergency room. Before I knew it, a masked nurse came in, told me she had the swine flu while closing me in the now quarantine room with my baby girl....and not giving me a mask.
"...it is important to remember that the common core assessments are meant to test ELA (English Language Arts), not history or civics or science. Moreover, I’ve found that kids who have read Fitzgerald, Twain or Doctorow, are the ones who are most likely to read, and understand, non-fiction texts like The New York Times. Yet, the emphasis on non-fiction in both the standards—and the assessments—already has put pressure on ELA teachers to deemphasize literature; in other words, less Fitzgerald, Twain and Doctorow…"
I wonder how it feels to be in 5th grade and sit down with a test that is more like an 8th grade reading level. When I pour over educational research, sometimes (even though I am reading by my own choice), I just can't process the dense, academic writing. My eyes get heavy, my brain wants to fall asleep, and I put the book down until I want to try again.
"Each of the tests for grades 6, 7 and 8 are completed in 90-minute segments over the course of three days. The seventh grade test, for example, is about 72 pages long (there are a few blank pages added for essay questions.) It includes 14 passages, the vast majority of which are one-to-two pages in length. There were also eight short-answer questions that require writing about one long paragraph each, as well as two essay questions. Then there were the endless multiple choice questions—over 100 of them, far more than the number on earlier test, according to education experts."
think they aren't as smart...
when sometimes the early finishers simply guess then retreat from the stress into a nap.
"As a journalist who has spent my professional life writing non-fiction, I confess that I am puzzled by the non-fiction mania reflected in the common core and in New York State’s test. I believe fervently that every high-school student should be able to read, and understand, The New York Times...Yet, this (over)emphasis on non-fiction strikes me as excessively utilitarian and, in the end, counterproductive."
"The problem is this: Developing better tests that assess “authentic” work, creativity and critical thinking will be complicated and expensive. Multiple choice questions, like the ones in such abundance on the latest Pearson test, provide a minimalist view of what children understand and do little to foster critical thinking skills; but they are cheap. As Polakow-Suransky once told me, when it comes to tests “you get what you pay for.”