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

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  •  Re (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WillR
    My son can do any math question that his grade level requires of him but he takes a little longer than many of his peers.  He thinks the problem through.  That used to be a valuable trait but it does not fit into the efficiency needs of standardized tests.  If he gets a perfect score on the first twenty questions he answers but leaves ten blank, he will get a worse score than someone who gets twenty-two questions right but eight questions wrong.
    Yes, but you are reading the assessment incorrectly. The fact that your son is slow at math isn't some facet of the universe. The assessment is telling you that your son needs remedial math work. He can't solve math problems as quickly as his peers. That's a problem that the assessment is screaming at you. The assessment isn't wrong, it's telling you exactly what the problem is! Get him a math tutor or something, or teach him yourself if you're an engineer. There are other students who can solve all thirty problems in the allotted time.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:21:34 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, my son is above his level but... (0+ / 0-)

      my point was that he is not as highly tested as other students who guess and get multiple questions wrong.  In the real world, one wrong answer can cost more than fifty right answers.

      I do help my children and he does not need a tutor.  The test measures your ability to quickly compute hypothetical algorithms which is not necessarily testing whether you understand math per se, it is testing your recall skills. Conflating quick recall skills and mathmatics is like conflating reading comprehension and grammer.  Although they are related, they are not the same thing.

      There are many factors involved in evaluating someone's ability and there are many individual aspects to each factor.  Standardized tests give a general measure to a very narrow spectrum of just a few of those individual aspects yet claims to be a broad overview.

      We have become a world caught up in standardized way of thinking in a nation who has lost its appreciation for individualized instruction.  I truly believe that is the main attraction for home school parents.  We haven't always been this way and I hope the trend reverses itself.  

      Zero tolerance policies at school and at work remove common sense and individual judgement out of situational occurances, structured job applications where the candidate is predefined to the point you have cookie cutter applicants and they wonder why nothing ever changes.  Impossible to meet standardized goals and criteria that does not make sense force managers to lie if they want to keep their job and yet we wonder why we cannot trust the data...  The list goes on and on.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:27:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He's not 'above his level'... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood

        ...if he does math too slowly to pass a standardized test that some other students pass with little difficulty. Part of good math skills is good recall and the ability to hold multiple numbers in your head at once.

        In the real world, one wrong answer can cost more than fifty right answers
        We're not really getting anywhere here. The test is designed to be a combination of speed and accuracy to (in your words) get an overview of their abilities.
        We have become a world caught up in standardized way of thinking in a nation who has lost its appreciation for individualized instruction.  I truly believe that is the main attraction for home school parents.  We haven't always been this way and I hope the trend reverses itself.  
        That's fine: you're entitled to your opinion. The economics of teaching millions of kids basically the same thing make individualized instruction or testing infeasible. I personally prefer an economical and efficient approach over other methods.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:20:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Individualized instruction has worked... (0+ / 0-)

          up until now.  You are so caught up in:

          The economics of teaching millions of kids basically the same thing
          That is my point, what makes you think that we have to teach millions of kids, "basically the same thing"?

          Until these standardized test movement started in the 70s and exploding with Bush's signature "No Child Left Behind" legislation, kids were taught as individuals learning home economics, metal and wood shop, art, athletics, etc...  All of that has been narrrowed down to core classes to reach maximum efficiency on standardized tests.  Prepare everyone the same (or similar) way and then pick the best at the given criteria.  It puts kids on a linear scale of a given set of requirements chosen by a select few based on their values.  It does not work for even a majority of the students.

          My son is in gifted and talented.  He is above level and I did not say he could not pass a standardized test, I said:

          my point was that he is not as highly tested as other students who guess and get multiple questions wrong.
          My niece who lived with us for a number of years got a 32 on her ACT and had good grades.  She was offered full scholarships to a number of universities and failed out of Ohio State in the first year.  My daughter, who is attending Murray State got a 27 on her ACT and had a 3.9 GPA, did not get any scholarship offers but is taking a heavy workload in an honors program and has a 3.85 GPA.  The standardized testing did a fine job of measuring the intangibles there, didn't it?  

          Standardized testing gives a snapshot of someone's ability to do certain aspects of narrowly defined criteria arbitrarily chosen and claims to be a broad overview.  It does very little to actually measure a childs aptitude or actual ability.  That requires a teacher who can observe the student over time and through a mix of different challenges and thier opinions are being increasingly ignored in favor of the efficiency and cost effectiveness of a standardized test.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:03:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  When you say, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Buckeye Nut Schell
            Standardized testing gives a snapshot of someone's ability to do certain aspects of narrowly defined criteria arbitrarily chosen and claims to be a broad overview
            I think you raise an important point within the reform debate and the testing part of it. I agree that standardized testing gives a snapshot of someone's ability to do certain aspects of narrowly defined criteria. But I would not say those criteria are arbitrarily chosen or that such testing claims to be a broad overview.

            My understanding of the history of this struggle is that reform efforts are the result of 4 main phenomena:

            Parents noticing that their children are not acquiring skills and knowledge at normal levels;

            A persistent Achievement Gap between low income and high income students;

            University and college faculty finding significant numbers of high school graduates not prepared for college, though their grades and assessments say they are;

            And international testing in which U.S. students score relatively low.

            Over these decades of concern, university faculty, parents, teachers and community members have worked to promote the establishment of standards that would be considered normal, that is, levels of knowledge and skill that are necessary for children to use for their own choices and goals in their future lives, so that they have the option of pursuing any field, any endeavor they choose.

            If standardized tests are focused on those skills and knowledge alone, whether you call them basic, whether you call them academic, or whether you call them ideal, they are measuring whether or not schools are preparing children for their futures.

            The dream that encouragement and positive reinforcement alone, accompanied by computers and calculators and hugs, can prepare children for the future has been shattered by results that parents, college educators, and students themselves know about first hand.

            •  There is no factual proof to your claim... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              Look at the effects of the No Child Left Behind Act.  This act is based on your premise that standardized tests improve student and teacher performance.  The facts say something entirely different:

              “The U.S. effectively showed no improvement in reading since 2000,” the same period under the NCLB, according to an Education  Department blog posting last December, in response to the OECD findings.  

              “Overall, the OECD’s rankings have U.S. students in 14th place in reading literacy among OECD nations,” the department wrote.

              In Math, the U.S. ranked 25th among OECD nations.

              But in 2000, when the PISA test was first administered, the U.S. ranked 15th in reading and 19th in math.

              The department called these findings “sobering,” and took the opportunity to advance reforms.

              “How much money the U.S. spends on education isn’t the problem,” the Department said at the time.  “We spend more per student than any nation in the PISA study except Luxembourg.”

              Again, it all boils down to treating children as if you can put them on a sliding scale to measure their ability and potential by taking a test over a few hours of time.  It is not an accurate measure.

              The conditions you site (parental concerns, acheivement gaps, university readiness and international testing) are more linked to class sizes, community poverty levels and community priorities.  Standardized tests take time away from teachers who formally used this time to teach other life skills and forces them to teach to the test.  They also take significant financial resources away from schools to provide and grade these tests.  

              They also force the teacher to stop worrying about the students future and start worrying about their own.  This has led to rampant fraud, policies of forcing students out of the schools between January 1st and the test date, cheaters who help their students cheat and more.  These do nothing but raise the percentile grades making it harder for the honest teachers to pass as well.  The entire standardized testing system is incentivized for corruption.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 01:35:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your final statement here says so much. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Buckeye Nut Schell
                The entire standardized testing system is incentivized for corruption.
                Not only do I completely agree with you about it, I think you have summed up the entire public education dilemma, past and present.

                I believe that the power inherent in the worst elements of our economic system, which I call the Forces of Oppression, have guided public education in this country from its start. I believe that a century of tracking systems, based on family income or neighborhood, such that only higher income students received a college preparatory education in our public schools, was designed to produce a small, well-educated ownership class, a reasonably well-educated trades and management class, and a huge functionally illiterate working class for the benefit of oppressors. I think we are still fighting this war now in the reform debate and that you are right: any grassroots effort to improve the quality of education in this country is vulnerable to a takeover and destruction by moneyed interests with the same, centuries-old purpose, the entrenchment of their own power over labor.

                Diane Ravitch, in her book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, details the corruption you point to. Every time efforts to improve instruction or curricula gained ground in districts like New York City's, for example, district leadership simply changed the measuring points for what constituted "proficiency," thereby raising the trustworthiness of failing teaching methods and their commercially profitable products. So the testing battle is just as vulnerable, I agree. And I am alert, every time I see acronyms like SBAC, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, to the possibility that such groups represent the compromises that will destroy access to a high quality education in our country.

            •  I do want to say... (0+ / 0-)

              I appreciate your demeaner throughout this entire conversation.  Although we differ quite a bit in our beliefs,  neither you or I have resorted to name calling or insults to make our points.

              I wish all people here at dkos who disagree could have discussions which are so amicable in nature.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 01:39:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you, and I also appreciate (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Buckeye Nut Schell

                your patience and clarity because these are difficult issues with our children's well-being at stake. I think most of us work with the assumption that we want the same things and that we're all trying to get there together for our kids' sake.

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