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View Diary: Seattle teachers refuse to give flawed standardized test (121 comments)

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  •  You're looking at the wrong end of the telescope (1+ / 0-)
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    The issue here is not "did the superintendent get something of value in violation of the superintendent's contract?" it is "was the evaluation process for the test improperly skewed because the superintendent sat on the board of one of the competitors?"  The results of investigation you describe have no bearing at all on the second question, which is the only that is germane to whether teachers in Seattle currently should be giving the test.  One thing about the vaunted "Seattle process":  when the fix is in, there is nothing you can do about it.  

    •  They examined the influence question as well (1+ / 0-)
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      Linda Wood

      And found no contact between the superintendent and the evaluation committee. The woman who chaired the test evaluation committee ended up getting hired to administer the test, and comes from the universally hated Broad school of testing, but again that does not itself indicate any particular connection of the choice and the process. Nor have I heard anything to suggest that the criticisms of the MAP test are specific to it and that the teachers would be any happier with another standardized test, which suggests this is really a red herring.

      Indeed much of this bill of particulars has the flavor of a political broadside more interested in generating heat than light. The teachers note in their objections that the test is not recommended for high school students, then complain that it is limited to 9th graders and special needs students who could most benefit from the lost instruction hours. The reason for the first is that by tenth grade students have supposedly mastered the tested skills and the test does not generally meaningfully differentiate high level performance. In theory the test is useful for identifying individual student needs in younger students and those who have not mastered 9th grade material. To offer both criticisms without explanation suggests that this is more an attempt to smear the test than to argue for responsible use, or to make a reasoned case against testing.

      While I am not familiar with the issues of the Seattle schools. I am in Chicago, where I am sure that we see every possible flavor of corruption and incompetence. I am myself a teacher (at the college level) and so have some experience with issues of testing and evaluation. I generally share the opinion that there is too much standardized testing and that for profit education is a cancer on the system, but I do not think that teachers and their unions are always focused on what is best for their students either (nor should they be). As a parent and a citizen I have no interest in anything but ensuring that my child and others are getting the best possible education. It does not incline me to support teachers when they make inconsistent or misleading arguments against testing, and if they are not winning over liberal college professors they should reconsider their strategy.

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