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View Diary: A 5th grader says No to NCLB. (210 comments)

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  •  When I was a student (3+ / 0-)

    California high school kids took the "CAP" test, and schools were financially rewarded for improvement.

    For years, kids had been making patterns on the answer sheets, so the school administration got serious, with pep rallies, idiotic test prep, coupons for fast food for kids who did well on the prep, etc. That year they made "tremendous" gains and earned the school $80,000.

    Which was promptly spent on a new scoreboard for the football stadium.

    The next year was my class, and they tried to replicate their results with the same embarrassing rallies and foolishness. I remember a classmate and I patiently explaining to the assistant principal that they were doing it wrong, that the best strategy was for our class to throw the test too so that next year's seniors could "improve" and get a pot of money.

    Let's just say that man had no appreciation for gifted kids. ;-)

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

    by elfling on Tue Mar 08, 2011 at 09:04:46 AM PST

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    •  That's why the test have to be "high stakes" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soros, codeman38, Cassandra Waites

      Students need to be motivated to achieve as much as schools are motivated for them to achieve.

      (-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 Mar 08, 2011 at 09:16:04 AM PST

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      •  And that even effects the high-score kids. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Moody Loner, soros, codeman38, schnecke21

        After I left, my middle school added 'literacy' classes for everyone in a particular grade, regardless of Reading grades or testing scores.

        Ever see what happens when you give middle schoolers reading at the late high school or early college level reading comprehension tests on texts at the level of Sarah Plain and Tall or less? For an entire school year? And have the entire thing framed as remedial education so they know the school administrators think they have to be taught how to read things they've been reading independently since the third grade?

        It's not pretty.

        Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in th4e Middle East and Northern Africa when all is said and done are as few as possible.

        by Cassandra Waites on Tue Mar 08, 2011 at 10:06:08 AM PST

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      •  So the end result was that in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        soros, Cassandra Waites

        my honors 12th grade English class, instead of reading John Donne, we had to stop so that we could go over awkwardly worded sample questions about basic reading comprehension.

        Woo.

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

        by elfling on Tue Mar 08, 2011 at 11:45:06 AM PST

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      •  Seriously, individual high stakes comes with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        its own price, and that's a conversation we should seriously have in America.

        There are many examples in the world of countries with high stakes tests. IMHO, there is no question such a strategy increases test scores, if that is your end goal. On the other hand, there are two clear and rather ugly consequences.

        1. significant increase in suicides and other mental health problems
        2. no second chances. Once you're tracked as a low achiever, your doors are forever closed to higher education.

        One of the most successful elements of American education is that it is never too late for you. If you get your act together and study, you can apply to the most elite universities in your 30's and still be accepted and graduate. And pretty much anyone can use the steps of community college and a public university to get a 4 year education regardless of how many classes or tests they failed in high school.

        Many of America's most interesting and successful people are people who weren't all that successful in school as youngsters for whatever reason. This uniqueness that we have, that our tests are not forever failures for our kids, is not necessarily a weakness.

        The question is: Is our goal to have the highest test scores or the highest standard of living or the most Nobel Prizes? It is not directly clear that high test scores as a whole create the other two conditions.

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

        by elfling on Tue Mar 08, 2011 at 11:51:46 AM PST

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