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View Diary: A response to Tom Vilsack (148 comments)

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  •  Thanks Once More, Teacherken (4.00)
    You make quite clear that testing cannot encompass the whole of learning--and certainly not of child development.

    I recently completed a survey for CLEP designed to help design advanced-placement tests for students going to college.  Now, my field is American literature: I attempt to teach students to read carefully and relate texts to historical, cultural, and personal events and patterns.  The sample CLEP test evaluated none of this, merely whether or not students could identify certain things as "facts" ("Who of the following first promoted Walt Whitman's poetry?").  There's certainly nothing wrong with knowing these things, but they don't make one a better reader; they don't relate to the task before me.

    Of course scores don't stay consistent: the tests don't mature as the students do!  As you say, they are presented with the same type of multiple-choice test year after year--yet they aren't the same, but have grown, have expanded their horizons.

    It's not simply enough to add essays to the tests, unfortunately, because a simple and consistent grading rubric must be found--and that, for a number of reasons, obviates the possibility of grading on the effectiveness of the communication or on creativity.

    Yes, tests are needed... but they are never, ever a sufficient basis for judging a student's or a school's progress.

    •  my masters is actually in testing. (none)
      now i don't like the so called phd crowd and their theories. for one thing many of them have to continue to screw with this and then with that in order to justify their existence and money. i say get back to the basics. that is critical.

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