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View Diary: Ten Reasons Why Value-Added Assessments are Harmful to a Child’s Education (107 comments)

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  •  Poet Craig, what should be used in decision making (3+ / 0-)
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    janislav, HeyMikey, ManhattanMan

    For all the problems with formal tests, what is the better approach?

    What method do you propose be used to decide:

    • if a  child should go into an alternative school program either because the child learns more quickly or more slowly than the typical student, or needs some special approach?
    • if the teacher is ineffective and needs to be replaced?
    • if the teacher is underperforming and needs coaching and professional development?
    • Due to budget cuts, or decline in student enrollment, the number of teachers needs to be decreased, which teachers will be kept?
    • is the new teaching method working better than the previous method?

    In many private schools these decisions are driven by whatever the head of school decides for a process and frequently uses personal judgement.

    In many public schools, the principal is not allowed to use personal judgement as much and frequently must use formal rules and measurements that conflict with the principal's professional judgement.

    It seems to me that many opponents of standardized testing don't want to trust the professional judgement of principals and department heads either.

    I don't advocate driving education decisions based upon formal standardized tests alone. I do think they are an important component as is the judgement of principals and department heads and in many cases reviews from the students.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 11:54:29 PM PDT

    •  Many of these are not indicated by these tests (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26, suzq, radical simplicity
      if a  child should go into an alternative school program either because the child learns more quickly or more slowly than the typical student, or needs some special approach?
      Standardized tests are not used for this purpose. They are used in my state to hold them back a year or prevent graduation, even if the kid has straight A's in their course work.
      if the teacher is ineffective and needs to be replaced?
      a poor score on a standardized test does not equate to an ineffective teacher, especially in a special needs class room.
      if the teacher is underperforming and needs coaching and professional development?
      Same answer as above.
      Due to budget cuts, or decline in student enrollment, the number of teachers needs to be decreased, which teachers will be kept?
      I don't know of any situation where standardized tests were applied to this either.
      is the new teaching method working better than the previous method?
      I've never heard of poor tests scores being the fault of the teaching method, only ever the teacher. A teaching method's effectiveness tends to vary student by student more than class by class at any rate.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:24:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When layoffs occur (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Mostel26

      The first tool districts have is to eliminate unneeded positions. In large districts, you may have hundreds of people serving in the same "position" and so those decisions are made by seniority. But, as a collorary, it's also the case that there is no one person who is personally familiar with the work of all those people. Thus, seniority is the fastest, fairest, least cumbersome method to use in that process. Everyone understands how it works.

      On the other hand, that's not to say you can't eliminate low performing members of that cohort through evaluations and other termination procedures. In California, in the first two years, a teacher can be non-relected for no reason or any reason. After that, there is a process for formal mentoring and then removal if progress is not made. That process should be happening whether or not there are layoffs occurring.

      In general, a school system should not have layoffs of any frequency except in the cases of declining enrollment. The issues of severe funding cuts are themselves evidence of a dysfunctional system, and adding huge overhead in deciding who to fire in what order in a purely economic layoff does not actually improve the situation.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 09:59:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One example (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM

      Our school district "failed" last year's state tests. In VT, they're called the NECAPs (pronounced Kneecap, which is highly appropriate).

      The principal was fired as a result.

      It turns out the state requires that the test be administered to all students under exactly the same conditions, and last year, in the teeny tiny elementary school in our tiny rural town, the 4th grade (the year in which students are kneecapped) had an autistic student. That student's performance was a large enough percentage of the tiny class to shift the town's overall test results from "performing" to "underperforming."  Poof! Bye, bye Mr. Principal. Enjoy your accountability!

      It doesn't affect us personally, since we homeschool, but the town had to go through an emergency hiring process to bring in a new principal. Oh, and someone was fired for no good reason - there's that, too.

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