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(South Jersey Courier-Post)   Since their precious snowflakes are unique and certainly not standardized, some parents feel it's cruel to subject them to standardized tests in school   (courierpostonline.com) divider line 114
    More: Asinine, standardized test, Hunterdon County, No Child Left Behind, test prep, Superintendent of Public Instruction, psychological testing  
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3034 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Sep 2013 at 9:34 AM (50 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-09 06:55:03 AM
Standardized tests are moronic.  They are not predictive of eventual success and do little more than train kids to memorize.  How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.
 
2013-09-09 08:07:17 AM
The reliance on standardized testing is actually less about improving education, and more essentially a give away to testing companies. NCLB created a huge market for testing companies across the country, basically giving them a huge shot in the arm. It ties Administrations to the tests, their funding reliant upon them, and focuses them not on education, but on performance on these tests, and away from skills based education. It ties their hands on teaching to the test, and less on serving the learning styles of their students, in fact, underserving many of their students who do not fit certain models. It's not about "precious snowflakes" but rather tying the hands of teachers and educators to teaching towards a test model that is flawed, and does little to assess skills and promotes the idea of a "one size fits all" approach that, simply put, doesn't assess anything but the skills of a student to take a particular test, and a test model that does little to assess student progress. Standardized tests are a great way for folks without an education background to conceptualize "progress" without actually understanding the process, and that is the problem with the current model. It is a great way to feel good about doing something, as opposed to doing something useful.
 
2013-09-09 08:19:45 AM
I'm not saying the current crop of standardized tests is any good, but there is a need for standards.  You can't have some school district in BFE decide they're going to teach kids that the world is flat and condoms give you AIDS.  Also can't let them hire morans as teachers in the name of cutting taxes.

I don't have any background in education, just anecdotal stories from my mom's time as a high school teacher in West Virginia, and some of the other teachers she interacted with at conferences and the like.  That ranting only got worse during the NCLB years though.
 
2013-09-09 09:35:32 AM
World needs ditch diggers, too.
 
2013-09-09 09:37:21 AM
Seems as though the only prerequisite for college admission these days is the ability to afford it. Ido t think colleges take the SAT seriously anymore
/DNRTFA
 
2013-09-09 09:37:58 AM
How else are they supposed to prepare for the ASFAB?
 
2013-09-09 09:39:49 AM
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools- S uccessful.html

No standardized testing is just one of the reasons

I agree with these parents
 
2013-09-09 09:40:59 AM

CPT Ethanolic: How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.


How about you end questions with a question mark.
 
2013-09-09 09:42:49 AM
I would be fine with standarized tests if they actually were a measure of how well you knew subject matter.  It's actually a measure of how well you can take a test.

The adult versions of these things are called 'certifications.'
 
2013-09-09 09:42:49 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: CPT Ethanolic: How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.

How about you end questions with a question mark.


Didn't you just do the same thing?
 
2013-09-09 09:43:25 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: CPT Ethanolic: How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.

How about you end questions with a question mark.


He was making a statement and you were making a statement. You didn't use a question mark either gringo.
 
2013-09-09 09:43:32 AM
Much as helicopter parents are annoying and usually wrong about most things, standardized testing is a) over-relied upon, and b) not a great way of measuring students' learning progress.  So, they have a point.
 
2013-09-09 09:44:29 AM

doyner: How else are they supposed to prepare for the ASFAB?


It's ASVAB, as in "Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery".

ASFAB is two drunk English chicks.
 
2013-09-09 09:46:01 AM

CPT Ethanolic: Standardized tests are moronic.  They are not predictive of eventual success and do little more than train kids to memorize.  How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.


The SAT is, actually, even within the bounds of those that go to the same program at the same college, accounting for approximately 9 total credit hour*score difference predictively, even with high school GPA factored in.  So, could you explain in more detail what standardized tests you are referring to.
 
2013-09-09 09:46:48 AM

kregh99: I would be fine with standarized tests if they actually were a measure of how well you knew subject matter.  It's actually a measure of how well you can take a test.

The adult versions of these things are called 'certifications.'


Are you trying to tell me that my certificate proclaiming my expertise in Outlook 2010 from New Age Horizons Success Training Center and Tax Preparation is worthless???
 
2013-09-09 09:47:17 AM

dittybopper: doyner: How else are they supposed to prepare for the ASFAB?

It's ASVAB, as in "Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery".

ASFAB is two drunk English chicks.


HA! typo fail...

...and I'm in the military.
 
2013-09-09 09:48:05 AM

jayhawk88: kregh99: I would be fine with standarized tests if they actually were a measure of how well you knew subject matter.  It's actually a measure of how well you can take a test.

The adult versions of these things are called 'certifications.'

Are you trying to tell me that my certificate proclaiming my expertise in Outlook 2010 from New Age Horizons Success Training Center and Tax Preparation is worthless???


Actually, that's better than a public school diploma these days.
 
2013-09-09 09:48:05 AM
Tests are taxes.

images.politico.com
 
2013-09-09 09:49:01 AM

Cybernetic: Quantum Apostrophe: CPT Ethanolic: How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.

How about you end questions with a question mark.

Didn't you just do the same thing?


Are you two playing questions only?
 
2013-09-09 09:49:06 AM
The way children are taught today isn't exactly working.  I think we need a major overhaul over not just what we teach children, but how we teach them.
 
2013-09-09 09:49:26 AM
I have an acquaintance who homeschools her 10 yr old kid and won't let him take standardized tests.

He's also a holy terror if he doesn't get his way, and then an 'angel' if he does.

Can't imagine what he'll be like in 10 more years.
 
2013-09-09 09:49:34 AM

doyner: dittybopper: doyner: How else are they supposed to prepare for the ASFAB?

It's ASVAB, as in "Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery".

ASFAB is two drunk English chicks.

HA! typo fail...

...and I'm in the military.


No, Type O is what it says on your dogtags,  What you are thinking about is "type casting".
 
2013-09-09 09:49:35 AM

p the boiler: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools- S uccessful.html

No standardized testing is just one of the reasons

I agree with these parents


Finland's got a nice system, but much of what makes that work is cultural. North America just doesn't treat learning, science, education or teachers the same way. Implementing their system here wouldn't work without careful adaptation for NA culture.
 
2013-09-09 09:49:42 AM

p the boiler: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools- S uccessful.html

No standardized testing is just one of the reasons

I agree with these parents


The motivation behind all this testing is to vilify teachers and hunt down the bad ones.  Lots of people are being sold on the idea that all we need to do to fix schools is remove bad teachers.  Oh, and also close down bad schools, since they're like McDonald's franchises, and if you close a bad school all those kids will just go elsewhere.

In reality, we need teacher positive solutions.  More training, more rewards for teachers, smaller class sizes, and better textbooks, facilities, and equipment.  It's hard to teach 35 kids in a room without air conditioning.
 
2013-09-09 09:50:45 AM
Fine.

Give them essay topics that allow them to display mastery over subjects and the ability to arrange their thoughts in an organized, cohesive fashion.

No Scantrons if your teacher's name is 'Mom.'
 
2013-09-09 09:50:48 AM
If I weren't painfully aware of the adage about malice vs. stupidity, I'd swear that NCLB was concocted to deliberately prevent public school students from learning to think critically.  The teach-to-test model makes all of the knowledge they do have so compartmentalized that they can't see or draw connections between events, concepts, or facts (a key component of critical thinking) without being led by the hand.  It also results in them expecting to be spoon-fed at every step of an assignment, because that's what they were raised with.

This is based on 6 years of teaching NCLB'd students at the college level, plus all of my colleagues' evaluations of the same.  Whatever you might think of Millenials as a group, this problem was inflicted on them rather than earned.  Thankfully humans are pretty resilient, but I predict we'll see a long-term ripple effect as this generation ages and starts participating more heavily in the workforce, society, and politics.
 
2013-09-09 09:51:22 AM

p the boiler: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools- S uccessful.html

No standardized testing is just one of the reasons

I agree with these parents


Standardized testing is a really useful tool....as a barometer of where kids are when they take the test.

Things like "54% of 3rd grade kids think Helena is in Greece. We should probably fix that."

Using it as the only thing guiding funding and the only thing standing between a school that works and a school that gets taken over by the government (where it does worse) is where the idea becomes patently retarded.

Sadly, that's all politicians see when they look at this data. Not "let's ask instructors to teach to the areas that currently suck" but "Us politicians are smarter than people who have been teaching their whole lives! Lets interfere!"
 
2013-09-09 09:51:34 AM
fark THE WRITING TEST.

Jesus christ the North Carolina Writing Test made my first year of college far harder than it should have been, because it farking TEACHES YOU TO WRITE WRONG.
 
2013-09-09 09:52:46 AM

Dafatone: The motivation behind all this testing is to vilify teachers and hunt down the bad ones.


The logic fail with this approach is that it is in a teacher's best interest to teach students how to score well on the test and only how to score well on the test. Or cheat. Whichever.
 
2013-09-09 09:53:02 AM

serial_crusher: I'm not saying the current crop of standardized tests is any good, but there is a need for standards.


"Standards"? Sure, Standardized tests? Not so much.
 
2013-09-09 09:54:21 AM
Some States are introducing merit based pay for teachers.   I am sure these teachers love explaining to their moronic administrators that these opt-out kids shouldn't count against them.
 
2013-09-09 09:54:44 AM
Sounds like parents who sucked at school and are ashamed of their mediocre lives are trying to spare their children the ignominy they suffered (while still preserving their ignorance).
 
2013-09-09 09:56:13 AM

Felgraf: fark THE WRITING TEST.

Jesus christ the North Carolina Writing Test made my first year of college far harder than it should have been, because it farking TEACHES YOU TO WRITE WRONG.


As someone who teaches writing nowhere near North Carolina, I'm curious.  How so?
 
2013-09-09 09:59:55 AM

Uranus Is Huge!: Fine.

Give them essay topics that allow them to display mastery over subjects and the ability to arrange their thoughts in an organized, cohesive fashion.

No Scantrons if your teacher's name is 'Mom.'


You know Mrs. Maugham has been leery of Scantrons ever since Jimmy Blark filled in his bubbles to create a vaguely suggestive pointillist image of Circe seducing Skrillex.
 
2013-09-09 10:00:35 AM
Children in English state (ie public, in US terms) schools have an insane number of these tests, and the government wants more. Tests for four year olds are coming.

In Scotland they tried to introduce similar test about 20 years ago. The teachers said "Please keep your children at home that day. These tests won't help anyone and will harm your child's education". 85% of children failed to show up and the tests were dropped, never to reappear.
 
2013-09-09 10:01:20 AM
FTFA:
They are opposed to the practice for myriad reasons, including the stress they believe it brings on young students

Well, by all means, please do continue to ensure that your child has no ability to cope with adversity, so that when he first experiences in the real world, he collapses in a hopeless pile of drool.

discomfort with tests being used to gauge teacher performance

Please, that would imply there is a penalty for teacher incompetence. We know this isn't true.

fear that corporate influence is overriding education

HAaaaahaaaahahahahahahah. Oh, your serious? HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAAAAAAA. Corporate influence? The whole problem with education is that it is being ruined by unions, the antithesis of corporation.

and concern that test prep is narrowing curricula down to the minimum needed to pass an exam.

You mean expanding. With the curricula needed to pass the exam, there would be no curricula at all. It would be musical chairs and duck duck goose all day every day, because the teachers get paid either way.

But no need to worry about these parents, as their willingness to have children demonstrates their intelligence.
 
2013-09-09 10:01:42 AM
I'm 35, so a few years removed from high school.  When I was a teenager we heard all this crap then too.  The only ones stressing out on the tests were the parents, not the kids.
 
2013-09-09 10:02:02 AM

Lochsteppe: If I weren't painfully aware of the adage about malice vs. stupidity, I'd swear that NCLB was concocted to deliberately prevent public school students from learning to think critically.  The teach-to-test model makes all of the knowledge they do have so compartmentalized that they can't see or draw connections between events, concepts, or facts (a key component of critical thinking) without being led by the hand.  It also results in them expecting to be spoon-fed at every step of an assignment, because that's what they were raised with.

This is based on 6 years of teaching NCLB'd students at the college level, plus all of my colleagues' evaluations of the same.  Whatever you might think of Millenials as a group, this problem was inflicted on them rather than earned.  Thankfully humans are pretty resilient, but I predict we'll see a long-term ripple effect as this generation ages and starts participating more heavily in the workforce, society, and politics.


While I don't disagree, I think there's a lot of critical thinking skill that needs to be taught at home.

CSB
When I was growing up, a lot of kids in my classes were clueless. In almost all of them, there was a common thread of the parents trying to do everything for them.

The kids that were smart tended to be from homes that encouraged thinking....or were broken homes.
/CSB

If you don't have to think for yourself when you are young, you won't be able to think for yourself when you are trying to complete college.
 
2013-09-09 10:03:39 AM
One of my good friends is an elementary school teacher and the test scores determine her level of performance.  Even when kids who don't speak English are in her class, or mentally handicapped kids, or autistic kids who just can't deal with a test environment although they might know the material.  All those children get big fat zeros and that brings the class average down and counts against her.  If children who ARE capable of taking the test are opting out, that actually hurts teachers like my friend even more.
 
2013-09-09 10:03:46 AM
I agree that standardized tests, to some degree, measure your ability to take a standardized test. I always liked taking them, because I was good at them.

But they are not a new phenomenon. As a kid growing up in New Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s, I took any number of standardized tests (the Iowa test and the California test are two that I distinctly remember). Nobody made a fuss, and there were no breathless stories on the news about the perils of testing. That's why I have trouble giving much credence to the anti-testing hysteria. I have three kids who take the FCAT every year, and for them there is essentially nothing in the way of fuss or stress associated with it. Mostly, it's an interruption in their normal schedule for a few days.

I also live in the real world, where objectives are set, progress is measured, and performance matters. I understand the adage, "you cannot manage what you do not measure". There has to be some way of measuring the performance of students, teachers, schools, and districts.

Someone upthread called these tests "a giveaway to the testing companies." Does that mean that standardized testing would be better if each state used taxpayer-funded employees to develop its own tests? Would that be cheaper? Would the tests be more fair? Of higher quality?

Standardized tests are neither a panacea nor a curse. They provide a data point, and that data point has value.
 
2013-09-09 10:04:22 AM

Shaggy0717: Cybernetic: Quantum Apostrophe: CPT Ethanolic: How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.

How about you end questions with a question mark.

Didn't you just do the same thing?

Are you two playing questions only?


Do you think we're playing questions only?
 
2013-09-09 10:05:04 AM
They still get a participation ribbon though, right?
 
2013-09-09 10:07:59 AM

Wingchild: Sounds like parents who sucked at school and are ashamed of their mediocre lives are trying to spare their children the ignominy they suffered (while still preserving their ignorance faith).


FTFY
 
2013-09-09 10:09:48 AM

CPT Ethanolic: Standardized tests are moronic.  They are not predictive of eventual success and do little more than train kids to memorize.  How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.


This.
Well said.
 
2013-09-09 10:12:19 AM

Dafatone: As someone who teaches writing nowhere near North Carolina, I'm curious. How so?


It's been a while, and I've purged most of the writing from my mind, but I seem to recall:

First paragraph should always START generalized then funnel down into what you REALLY want to talk about (Apparently, going straight off the bat into your topic is a no-no! So I learned to start with bullshiat generalizations, etc.). Then you need at least one sentence that states EXPLICITLY what your next three paragraphs will be.

The next there paragraphs must describe/talk about your topic. When I took it, it ALWAYS needed to be three paragraphs in the body, and they needed to be about different/slightly different things. So you were taught to ALWAYS find a way to break your subject into three chunks. MORE THAN THREE PARAGRAPHS=BAD. Less than three, BAAAAAAD! Because they ahve to grade it by incredibely precise criteria, so they all have to be close to the same.

Then a conclusion paragraph, where you sum up what you said, and funnel back out to general again!

It was more the "Funneling" plus the "ALWAYS THREE BODY PARAGRAPHS!" that farked me over for a bit. I adapted quick, but damnit it was irritating to realize it had been such a waste of time.
 
2013-09-09 10:12:30 AM
I'm just gonna say it. The only reason I'd keep my kids away from standardized testing is if I knew it would embarrass them. Like, they'd just bomb the thing because they were idiots.

Regardless of how bad standardized testing is, is it really necessary to draw attention to yourself by refusing to take it? I mean, really? What harm is it doing to your child, or you, as individuals? It lets you know (more often than not) where your kid stands, and knowledge is important for progression. That's why they're in school.

Either the parents are stupid, or the kids are stupid. I mean that literally. There is no reason to soapbox this issue when the cost to your kid and knowledge of how to handle their future is so high.
 
2013-09-09 10:15:11 AM

ikanreed: CPT Ethanolic: Standardized tests are moronic.  They are not predictive of eventual success and do little more than train kids to memorize.  How about we try teaching critical thinking instead of producing little robots.

The SAT is, actually, even within the bounds of those that go to the same program at the same college, accounting for approximately 9 total credit hour*score difference predictively, even with high school GPA factored in.  So, could you explain in more detail what standardized tests you are referring to.


The SAT has the rather notorious reputation of being a poor predictor for both future success and potential.
 
2013-09-09 10:16:09 AM

Cybernetic: I agree that standardized tests, to some degree, measure your ability to take a standardized test. I always liked taking them, because I was good at them.

But they are not a new phenomenon. As a kid growing up in New Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s, I took any number of standardized tests (the Iowa test and the California test are two that I distinctly remember). Nobody made a fuss, and there were no breathless stories on the news about the perils of testing. That's why I have trouble giving much credence to the anti-testing hysteria. I have three kids who take the FCAT every year, and for them there is essentially nothing in the way of fuss or stress associated with it. Mostly, it's an interruption in their normal schedule for a few days.

I also live in the real world, where objectives are set, progress is measured, and performance matters. I understand the adage, "you cannot manage what you do not measure". There has to be some way of measuring the performance of students, teachers, schools, and districts.

Someone upthread called these tests "a giveaway to the testing companies." Does that mean that standardized testing would be better if each state used taxpayer-funded employees to develop its own tests? Would that be cheaper? Would the tests be more fair? Of higher quality?

Standardized tests are neither a panacea nor a curse. They provide a data point, and that data point has value.


If it's anything like the "Adventures in Outsourcing: Tales of My School District IT Department" the in-house results would be clunkier, not as sexy, more functional, more reliable, and cheaper.

Since pretty much all states are on board with common core standards now, though, I'd imagine more and more state achievement tests will be going the way of the Dodo.
 
2013-09-09 10:16:22 AM

Cybernetic: I agree that standardized tests, to some degree, measure your ability to take a standardized test. I always liked taking them, because I was good at them.

But they are not a new phenomenon. As a kid growing up in New Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s, I took any number of standardized tests (the Iowa test and the California test are two that I distinctly remember). Nobody made a fuss, and there were no breathless stories on the news about the perils of testing. That's why I have trouble giving much credence to the anti-testing hysteria. I have three kids who take the FCAT every year, and for them there is essentially nothing in the way of fuss or stress associated with it. Mostly, it's an interruption in their normal schedule for a few days.

I also live in the real world, where objectives are set, progress is measured, and performance matters. I understand the adage, "you cannot manage what you do not measure". There has to be some way of measuring the performance of students, teachers, schools, and districts.

Someone upthread called these tests "a giveaway to the testing companies." Does that mean that standardized testing would be better if each state used taxpayer-funded employees to develop its own tests? Would that be cheaper? Would the tests be more fair? Of higher quality?

Standardized tests are neither a panacea nor a curse. They provide a data point, and that data point has value.


The issue isn't taking tests.  It's spending all year teaching how to take tests.
 
2013-09-09 10:18:17 AM

JPSimonetti: I'm just gonna say it. The only reason I'd keep my kids away from standardized testing is if I knew it would embarrass them. Like, they'd just bomb the thing because they were idiots.

Regardless of how bad standardized testing is, is it really necessary to draw attention to yourself by refusing to take it? I mean, really? What harm is it doing to your child, or you, as individuals? It lets you know (more often than not) where your kid stands, and knowledge is important for progression. That's why they're in school.

Either the parents are stupid, or the kids are stupid. I mean that literally. There is no reason to soapbox this issue when the cost to your kid and knowledge of how to handle their future is so high.


Standardized tests are an inadequate tool for measuring knowledge. Why waste our time trying to teach students how to pass these tests when we could be just teaching student?
 
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