Skip to main content

View Diary: Looking for campaign help again from this teacher? Don't bother... (84 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  If we do not... (0+ / 0-)

    ...use standardized tests, how do we know if kids are learning anything?

    What method would you suggest?

    •  There are all kinds of ways to assess students... (0+ / 0-)

      Authentic assessments, portfolio based assessments, rubrics, teacher observations and customized assessments developed by teachers tailored to best meet the individual needs of students...

      Standardized tests deal with one kind of assessment format: Selected response....imagine being a student being force fed a steady daily diet of fill in the blanks, multiple choice, true/false bubble worksheets......

      Teaching and learning and assessment is so much bigger than a fill in the bubble worksheet.....
      We cannot afford future failures of imagination...

      Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

      by semioticjim on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 09:25:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But these don't work! (0+ / 0-)
        "Authentic assessments, portfolio based assessments, rubrics, teacher observations and customized assessments developed by teachers tailored to best meet the individual needs of students..."
        Most of these depend on the teachers and administrators at the school to make subjective value judgements. We cannot always trust these guys to tell us the truth -- they have a powerful incentive to tell taxpayers that "all is well". Foxes cannot guard chicken coops!

        Also, these fuzzy measures don't let us compare one school to another. This means that parents have no way to decide which school is best for their child. Districts have no way to know which schools need more resources.

        Lastly, we can't tell if our educational system is improving over time. How can I compare a set of teacher "observations" done in 1999 with ones done in 2009?

        Now these are legitimate methods for helping a teacher decide how best to work with a particular student. But that's not the data we need.  We need to know which schools work, which methods work, and which teachers should be role models.

        The only way to do this is with a standardized test that delivers objective numbers that can be compared across schools, districts, and time periods.

        •  I think we have cognitive dissonance here.... (0+ / 0-)

          The only people they don't work for are the folks who sell standardized tests and Wall Street investors who have invested in privatizing U.S. public schools. ....These assessments work fine for students, teachers, schools and the communities where schools exist....

          From an intellectual development standpoint curriculum driven by standardized testing is dumb.

          In China, where standardized testing was invented look at their Nobel Prize winners  ...the worlds largest country who's educated population consistently  scores high on standardized achievement tests has only nine Nobel Laureates?

          Now if you want to look at a country that uses alternative assessments like Finland who's children take one international test in 10th Grade....let's look at the international comparison.

          Why do the Finnish have such a strong educational system? Alternative assessments developed by their teachers. Small class sizes and teacher autonomy....

          We cannot afford future failures of imagination....

          Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

          by semioticjim on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 12:32:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You have not addressed my points. (0+ / 0-)

            Parents, taxpayers, and voters need to know:

            1) Are students learning?

            2) Which schools are doing well and which need more help?

            3) How are schools doing now vs. in the past?

            "Portfolio based assessments, rubrics, teacher observations and customized assessments developed by teachers", do not yield this kind of information.

            By the way, Finland has good outcomes because Finland has the lowest child poverty rate in the OECD of 5%. Ours is the highest at 22%.

            We also have three times the teen pregnancy rate that Finland does. But you expect people to believe that they are ahead because we test too much?

            It is intellectually dishonest to blame "poverty" when our kids fail, but to fail to recognize that "wealth" is the reason why Finnish kids succeed. Not lack of tests. Wealth.

            But still, you've not addressed how we can measure achievement without testing. Remember that we need an objective measure that allows comparisons across schools, districts, and time-frames.

            Focusing on how you will improve achievement is more productive than threatening to inflict Rick f'n Santorum on America unless you get your 2% COLA this year...

            •  Why would you penalize children? (0+ / 0-)

              What does poverty have to do with it? Please explain?

              Did you say student achievement or student's achievements....they are two separate outcomes?

              Why should taxpayers support schools that don't provide kids with learning opportunities similar to the kinds Bill Gates received when he developed his capacities for computer programming as a young teenager?

              Are kids in data driven test prep schools going to receive those learning opportunities?

              Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

              by semioticjim on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 03:09:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why compare schools? That's immoral.... (0+ / 0-)

                So you think comparing test scores of kids from elite public schools and demographic groups from the upper crust of American society against children who have existed in desperate, poverty stricken living environments is ok?

                Educating the human mind is a very personal matter...why trivialize it with a standardized experience?

                What matters are exposing children to experiences where the integration of content and the synchronization of the cognitive, emotive, kin-esthetic and censorial realms...that's how Gates learned to write code...and that is what children should be doing...real world problem solving relevant to their individual lives......not contrived selected response worksheets forced down their throats....

                Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

                by semioticjim on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 03:32:51 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Again... (0+ / 0-)

                  So you think comparing test scores of kids from elite public schools and demographic groups from the upper crust of American society against children who have existed in desperate, poverty stricken living environments is ok?

                  Yes. Only by doing so will we understand what kind of help the poor kids need. Just because the numbers make us uncomfortable does not mean we should hide from them. The test is just the "messenger". The "message" is that we have severe class inequality issues in this nation and we need to spend more resources on poor kids.

                  Educating the human mind is a very personal matter...why trivialize it with a standardized experience?

                  You can give your students whatever "experience" you want. As long as they score well on the end-of-the-year test, it's OK.

                  What matters are exposing children to experiences where the integration of content and the synchronization of the cognitive, emotive, kin-esthetic and censorial realms...that's how Gates learned to write code...and that is what children should be doing...real world problem solving relevant to their individual lives......not contrived selected response worksheets forced down their throats....

                  Whatever floats your boat, man! You can teach your students using "kin-esthetic" experiences. It sounds...uh...interesting.  But at the end of the year we will give them a test to see if they can read, if they know grammar, if they understand scientific concepts, and if they can do mathematics.

                  If they pass the test (with scores adjusted for their socioeconomic conditions) you are a Good Teacher.

                  If they consistently fail, then you are a charlatan,and a snake-oil salesman, full of big edubabble words that have no substance and serve only to hide and disguise FAILURE.

              •  Point by point (0+ / 0-)

                What does poverty have to do with it? Please explain?

                You say Finland gets better outcomes because they don't test. I say they get better outcomes because they have less poverty. The fact that poverty hurts learning is well-documented.

                Did you say student achievement or student's achievements....they are two separate outcomes?

                I don't understand your question.

                Why should taxpayers support schools that don't provide kids with learning opportunities similar to the kinds Bill Gates received when he developed his capacities for computer programming as a young teenager?

                You tell me! Currently taxpayers support the NYC Public Schools, the Chicago Public Schools, and the Washington DC, Public Schools. None of these provide, "learning opportunities similar to the kinds Bill Gates received".  Should taxpayers continue to support these schools?

                Are kids in data driven test prep schools going to receive those learning opportunities?

                Bill Gates went to a nearby college use their computer. He programmed from 2AM until 6AM each morning. Union Contracts prevent teachers from working at 2AM, so I guess kids in Union-Controlled schools are out of luck, sorry.(/snark).

                Seriously, I am just asking for measurement. How teachers choose to get the job done should be up to them. Any bureaucrat who tries to stop teachers from teaching should be fired. As long as the kids meet the testing standards, teachers should have broad authority to try innovative teaching methods.

                •  How teachers get the job done is up to them? (0+ / 0-)

                  You can't say you are giving teachers choices on how to "get the job done," when you have Damocles high stakes testing sword dangling over their head.

                  So you are going to condemn children in poverty.....to a standardized education where they are subjected to non consensual learning in a culture of fear and conformity?

                  Gladwell needs to back up a year or two...

                  With respect to Bill Gates education......he went to Lakeside, a private school  where he was afforded self directed learning experiences to investigate his interests in computer programing...unscripted, teacher facilitated self directed learning activities are an example of an approach to learning called constructivism.

                  You won't see constructivist learning practices in schools that emphasize test preparations because the test dictates to the teacher what the curricula and assessments will be.

                  Student interests are neglected.

                  To learn more about Gates bio and the development of Microsoft you should read this book. It is a good read.

                  And no, I don't believe the vast majority of children receive customized, constructivist learning experiences in any of those major urban school districts you spoke of.

                  You know, my nephew is a pretty good computer programmer....One of the best....he confided to me that he shudders to think what he might have become had his elementary math teacher not had the time to nurture in him a love of learning and provide him with extra time and customized learning experiences that a standardized learning experience is not designed to do.

                  He was so thankful he graduated from the public school system before the standardized learning craze and high stakes testing accountability schemes were ramped up in recent years......

                  How many kids do we leave behind with a standardized education?

                  Seriously...if you treat schools like businesses or test prep factories you are going to poison the well.

                  Get market based competition out of schools.

                  It is immoral.... Wall street interests have ruined American Public Education with standardized testing....

                  Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

                  by semioticjim on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 06:17:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Manhattan Man...I'm done with you.... (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm preparing a huge constructivist learning experience for 1400 kids this week so I'm outa here for now.....

                    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

                    by semioticjim on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 06:20:06 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I thin this is where... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...we disagree.

                    "You won't see constructivist learning practices in schools that emphasize test preparations because the test dictates to the teacher what the curricula and assessments will be."
                    Testing requirements don't dictate how to teach. They only say what the kids need to know. Schools (teachers) should be free to use whatever method they wish to get there.

                    I don't know what "constructivist" is -- and I don't care. If a veteran teacher says that they need to use "constructivist" approaches to get the kids to pass the AP exam (or other knowledge/skills-based test), that is A-OK with me!

                    But I have a sneaking suspicion that you're not interested in just how to teach. You want to determine what is taught. To that I say Hell No. That power belongs to the whole community -- not just teachers. If you want to determine if (for instance) kids learn Calculus or Statistics you must win an election to the school board.

                    And even if you win, your kids must pass a Calculus (or Statistics) test, so parents and taxpayers know that they are getting what they paid for.

                    •  Testing requirements poison the educational proces (0+ / 0-)

                      What are taxpayers getting from a child who has absorbed the banal experience that is standardized education? Compliant future worker bees who can't think for themselves...

                      Parents and taxpayers can observe authentic assessment opportunities in my classroom any day that school is in session.....my room is an open room....always has been, always will be.

                      I get visitors from everywhere checking in to see what we are doing...administrators, press, parents...whom ever...

                      Casino capitalists like you don't like teachers like me because teachers like me facilitate our student's ability to think for themselves....

                      Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

                      by semioticjim on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 08:28:48 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Prove it. (0+ / 0-)
                        "...teachers like me facilitate our student's ability to think for themselves...."
                        Can you prove that your kids can "think for themselves"? Can you prove that this is because of what you did, or is all the credit due to their home environment? (When things go wrong, teachers blame the home environment. When things go right, teachers pat themselves on the back).

                        Do you expect us to just take your word for it? That's what the bankers said when they said the Mortgage Bonds wouldn't blow up. We're not falling for that one again!

                        I don't think that you can prove these things without a standardized test. Absent the test, parents and taxpayers need only look at the output of the Public Schools to come to our own conclusions:

                        If the Public Schools are doing such a great job, why can so many kids not read or do basic math?

                        If the Public Schools are doing such a great job, why do so few kids know our country's history?

                        If the Public Schools are doing such a great job, why do Republicans keep winning elections? I though you were teaching them to think for themselves!

                        But we we look with our eyes, we see kids who are easily misled and cheated, kids who have no knowledge of Math, Language, Science, or History with which to defend themselves or their Republic.

                        Whatever you guys are doing ain't workin'. As the kids would tweet, "Yr doin it rong".

                        (I don't mean you specifically, I mean The System in general. But unless there is an objective test, nobody tell the difference between you and the worst teacher in the country...)

                        •  Prove what? (0+ / 0-)

                          The authoritarian system that has been in place for years is your system....

                          I know what I'm talking about..

                          Your methods are anti-democratic and insidious..you have succeeded in framing a complex biological symbiotic teacher-student process in terms of test scores.....

                          You can't say you are for children but "against teachers" (your words)...

                          look at your outcomes.....

                          I can see the decay all around me...You better do some critical thinking about what your peers have done......

                          Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

                          by semioticjim on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 04:42:36 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site