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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 53
    More: Asinine, standardized test, Hunterdon County, No Child Left Behind, test prep, Superintendent of Public Instruction, psychological testing  
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3021 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Sep 2013 at 9:34 AM (32 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-09 08:07:17 AM
12 votes:
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 06:55:03 AM
10 votes:
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 09:42:49 AM
5 votes:
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 09:50:48 AM
3 votes:
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 09:39:49 AM
3 votes:
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 10:16:22 AM
2 votes:

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 10:03:39 AM
2 votes:
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 10:02:02 AM
2 votes:

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 10:00:35 AM
2 votes:
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 09:49:42 AM
2 votes:

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 09:49:26 AM
2 votes:
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 09:40:59 AM
2 votes:

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 01:14:33 PM
1 votes:

insano: Bontesla: 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.

So imagine this: A college admissions committee gets transcripts from two applicants from schools A and B. Both have 4.0 GPAs, both played two varsity sports, both participated in the same extracurricular activities, both are Caucasian and female, and both scored the same on their admissions essay. Which do you choose? Oops, you chose A, a student from Arkansas Bible School of Science Deniers who scored 950 on the SAT (or whatever is a bad score these days).

Standardized test scores are not the end-all marker for intelligence and success but they are a tool for distinguishing between students who have learned a certain set of concepts and those who haven't. There is too much variation between high schools in this country and grading standards to not have some more objective measure of ability.


If you wanted a parrot then why not simply buy the one?

Standardized tests only measure one's ability to regurgitate information under testing conditions.

In terms of history, math, and science - most students have to take remedial courses in college. So even if you're not proficient in algebraic equations during the test - it doesn't disqualify you from attending. Further - if you're a brilliant student but a bad test taker then it can harm your prospects.

Problem solving, logical deduction, and the ability to reason out a pathway are much more valuable and are a better predictor.
2013-09-09 12:54:27 PM
1 votes:

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.


I have already seen it in the workforce. Part of my job is going to worksites that we are on the verge of losing and one of my constant complaints to corporate is there is a lack of critical thinking going on at these worksites.
2013-09-09 12:54:06 PM
1 votes:

rugman11: And my state has opted out of NCLB,


That's probably the biggest issue.

The tests are used for hiring/firing purposes, in addition to funding purposes.  In many places, principals are sweating bullets over test scores and are making sure their teachers don't waste any time on things that aren't tested.  I got a low eval a couple of years ago when the AP didn't realize that since I didn't use the word acceleration in a centripetal force lab, I wasn't teaching it properly.  (Never mind that we had just finished newtons second law, and they were measuring force and mass, and I wanted to see the students figure out acceleration from what they measured.)

He wanted to see me lecture about the formula, have kids spit it back, then move on with another tested topic.
2013-09-09 12:32:27 PM
1 votes:

serial_crusher: 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.


Except when standardized tests begin to get used to punitively reduce funding and encourage private charter schools that appear to have more leeway in teaching kids about AIDS Condoms, 6,000 yr-old earths, and other evil scientific things.
2013-09-09 12:26:51 PM
1 votes:

Dafatone: 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.


And tying funding to the results of these tests.
2013-09-09 12:26:13 PM
1 votes:

pendy575: I have yet to hear the difference between a test standardized to a classroom of 30 kids and a test standardized for thousands of students to take.


The test written for thousands has questions written by people who don't know the subject, what people should know about the subject, or how best to ask the question in order to determine whether someone knows the subject.

NYS USED to have teachers with experience and extra training make up questions in teams for the regents exam.  Now it's done by Pearson for a lot more money, using out of work college students to write the questions.
2013-09-09 11:45:30 AM
1 votes:

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.


Beautiful.

My favorite part is how NCLB ties funding to improving scores, not good scores, but improving.
So a school can consistently out-perform others and still see funding cuts, truly a work of genius.
2013-09-09 11:31:00 AM
1 votes:

namegoeshere: Arsten: What school teaches HOW to take the test more than the week or so directly before the tests?

THIS is what we are talking about! Kids are spending upwards of two hours a day every day practicing this test. They learn how to answer the questions on the test. They take a practice test that looks just like the test at least once a week if not more. Starting week one of school.

The problem is not taking a standardized test like we've been doing for generations now. The problem is that the test  has become the most important thing the children do. At the expense of everything else.


That's it right there. There has to method to accurately judge progress on a relatively short timescale, waiting to see how the kid is doing when there 25 doesn't help. But schools and teachers now teach to the test rather than teach the material.
2013-09-09 11:24:09 AM
1 votes:

rugman11: Dafatone: Arsten: namegoeshere: Arsten: What school teaches HOW to take the test more than the week or so directly before the tests?

THIS is what we are talking about! Kids are spending upwards of two hours a day every day practicing this test. They learn how to answer the questions on the test. They take a practice test that looks just like the test at least once a week if not more. Starting week one of school.

The problem is not taking a standardized test like we've been doing for generations now. The problem is that the test  has become the most important thing the children do. At the expense of everything else.

Seriously, do you have anything to back that up? My child isn't spending time for those tests outside of the two or three days before the test starts.

I find it difficult to believe that this could even occur outside of elementary school as they move into a separate course structure in middle and high school and 2 hours a day would be either two classes (traditional) or an entire block (block scheduling) each and every day dedicated to a test for the entire year.

Here's one example:  http://app1.kuhf.org/articles/1365612623-Parents,-Teachers-Push-Houst o n-School-Board-To-Limit-Practice-Tests-For-Texas-Standardized-Exam.htm l

I've heard worse anecdotes.

You mean that once a week the teacher gives a review sheet to gauge how much your kid has learned about the subjects that week so she knows if she needs to go back over the material again next week?  Oh, the horror!


Uh no.

That's not what the practice tests in the article are.

Also, fark off.  Education is being ruined in this country.
2013-09-09 11:12:11 AM
1 votes:

Arsten: namegoeshere: Arsten: What school teaches HOW to take the test more than the week or so directly before the tests?

THIS is what we are talking about! Kids are spending upwards of two hours a day every day practicing this test. They learn how to answer the questions on the test. They take a practice test that looks just like the test at least once a week if not more. Starting week one of school.

The problem is not taking a standardized test like we've been doing for generations now. The problem is that the test  has become the most important thing the children do. At the expense of everything else.

Seriously, do you have anything to back that up? My child isn't spending time for those tests outside of the two or three days before the test starts.

I find it difficult to believe that this could even occur outside of elementary school as they move into a separate course structure in middle and high school and 2 hours a day would be either two classes (traditional) or an entire block (block scheduling) each and every day dedicated to a test for the entire year.


Here's one example:  http://app1.kuhf.org/articles/1365612623-Parents,-Teachers-Push-Houst o n-School-Board-To-Limit-Practice-Tests-For-Texas-Standardized-Exam.htm l

I've heard worse anecdotes.
2013-09-09 11:12:00 AM
1 votes:
Subject them to the test of free market employment.

vuible.com
2013-09-09 11:10:36 AM
1 votes:

Arsten: namegoeshere: Arsten: What school teaches HOW to take the test more than the week or so directly before the tests?

THIS is what we are talking about! Kids are spending upwards of two hours a day every day practicing this test. They learn how to answer the questions on the test. They take a practice test that looks just like the test at least once a week if not more. Starting week one of school.

The problem is not taking a standardized test like we've been doing for generations now. The problem is that the test  has become the most important thing the children do. At the expense of everything else.

Seriously, do you have anything to back that up? My child isn't spending time for those tests outside of the two or three days before the test starts.

I find it difficult to believe that this could even occur outside of elementary school as they move into a separate course structure in middle and high school and 2 hours a day would be either two classes (traditional) or an entire block (block scheduling) each and every day dedicated to a test for the entire year.


I have the stack of practice tests my fourth grader took last year, and the two hour block of time every day they spent taking them.  And I am talking about elementary students.
2013-09-09 10:46:34 AM
1 votes:

Arsten: What school teaches HOW to take the test more than the week or so directly before the tests?


THIS is what we are talking about! Kids are spending upwards of two hours a day every day practicing this test. They learn how to answer the questions on the test. They take a practice test that looks just like the test at least once a week if not more. Starting week one of school.

The problem is not taking a standardized test like we've been doing for generations now. The problem is that the test  has become the most important thing the children do. At the expense of everything else.
2013-09-09 10:42:40 AM
1 votes:
Yup, don't need that stinkin' rote memorization, just good old critical thinkin'.

Teacher: "Johnny, tell me about WW II."
Johnny: "The Nazi's were evil."
Teacher: "Why do you think that, Johnny?"
Johnny: "Because, I think they got together with Columbus and did bad things to the Native Americans."
Teacher: "Well, Johnny, you used critical analysis to determine that the Nazi's were evil.  Very good!"
Johnny: "Whatever. Don't ask me any more questions about this stupid shiat."
Teacher: "Well, I think we've made progress today. Tomorrow we'll cover the post war era, so begin to think            about that."
Susie: "I know, I know, they made the Pilgrims free the slaves!"
Teacher: "I think you're right, and that being said, I don't think we should waste anymore time on that period, anyway.  What I want you to do, tonight, is think about how the music of Pete Seeger changed the lives of the people of Liberia."
Class: "Will that be on the test?"
Teacher: "There will be no tests this semester, because I find them counterproductive.  It's more important to find out what you think you know, rather than what you actually know."
Johnny: "Whatever!"
2013-09-09 10:42:37 AM
1 votes:

nanim: 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.


Ever thought about just telling him how awesome school is so he'll beg and scream to get into school?

Chances are he'll be like the home schooled ass holes that I had to attend college with. having such an obscure sense of entitlement that they pull shiat like this at the only college that would accept them.
http://www.afamichigan.org/2007/01/09/saginaw-news-delta-college-int er feres-with-distribution-of-christian-newspaper/

Here is what the newspapers looked like.
http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2011/03/mid-michigan_aft er noon_links_15.html

and one more about it because of what their leader said in the end.
http://www.ourmidland.com/import/article_c1e2063d-63c7-5c45-a8f7-c3c 1c 8652136.html?mode=print

Funny thing was after they won they stopped putting it out.
2013-09-09 10:33:46 AM
1 votes:

JPSimonetti: Bontesla: 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?

Absolute rubbish. I was misguided as a youth, to put it mildly. I was suspended at least once a month, never did homework, slept through half my classes, etc. The only way anyone knew what I could actually do was from the yearly TCAP (Tennessee standardized tests). And you know what? I nailed them. Every single one, I was in the top 10%. I couldn't go a day without hearing "You're so smart, but you don't apply yourself." If the tests didn't exist, everyone would have (rightfully so) thought I was a complete idiot.

I don't buy into this culture about testing only showing how well you take tests. To me, it sounds like a cop out for kids that can't focus or can't recall what they learn. How can you NOT know how to take a test, but do fine on everything else? It's nonsense. Every class I took had at least 1 test a week. What's the difference between a weekly test and a yearly test? If you'd fail one, you'd fail the other. There is nothing about a longer test that makes it more difficult. This is snowflake-syndrome and parents that don't want to admit their kids m ...


Did you grow up learning test-taking 80% of the time because your school's funding was tied to those tests?

This has NOTHING to do with "snowflakes" and EVERYTHING to do with education being ruined by the importance of tests.
2013-09-09 10:30:43 AM
1 votes:

Bontesla: 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?


Absolute rubbish. I was misguided as a youth, to put it mildly. I was suspended at least once a month, never did homework, slept through half my classes, etc. The only way anyone knew what I could actually do was from the yearly TCAP (Tennessee standardized tests). And you know what? I nailed them. Every single one, I was in the top 10%. I couldn't go a day without hearing "You're so smart, but you don't apply yourself." If the tests didn't exist, everyone would have (rightfully so) thought I was a complete idiot.

I don't buy into this culture about testing only showing how well you take tests. To me, it sounds like a cop out for kids that can't focus or can't recall what they learn. How can you NOT know how to take a test, but do fine on everything else? It's nonsense. Every class I took had at least 1 test a week. What's the difference between a weekly test and a yearly test? If you'd fail one, you'd fail the other. There is nothing about a longer test that makes it more difficult. This is snowflake-syndrome and parents that don't want to admit their kids might have problems learning or focusing, which is what tests will show and that's sort of the point.

Obviously, I graduated before the anti-test crowd stampeded to the media.
2013-09-09 10:30:39 AM
1 votes:

Bontesla: 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.


So imagine this: A college admissions committee gets transcripts from two applicants from schools A and B. Both have 4.0 GPAs, both played two varsity sports, both participated in the same extracurricular activities, both are Caucasian and female, and both scored the same on their admissions essay. Which do you choose? Oops, you chose A, a student from Arkansas Bible School of Science Deniers who scored 950 on the SAT (or whatever is a bad score these days).

Standardized test scores are not the end-all marker for intelligence and success but they are a tool for distinguishing between students who have learned a certain set of concepts and those who haven't. There is too much variation between high schools in this country and grading standards to not have some more objective measure of ability.
2013-09-09 10:30:29 AM
1 votes:

Dafatone: 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.


It's also making the tests SO VERY VERY IMPORTANT ZOMG MUST SCORE WELL and the largest single focus of the school day that children who normally would not be anxious are sick with stress and testing anxiety.
2013-09-09 10:29:24 AM
1 votes:

Felgraf: 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.



That was called the "five paragraph essay" when I was a kid many, many moons ago.  It was just one of many writing styles we practiced and learned.
2013-09-09 10:26:40 AM
1 votes:
I'm really good at taking standardized tests. The big companies leave some tells and do all kinds of statistical normalization to the answers, so you can sometimes see the right answer without knowing the subject matter. At least when you're talking about traditional "A,B,C,D" and "T,F" tests.

There are some strategies they use to get more intricate answers, but unless they've changed greatly, I doubt they use them often enough.

Unlike an essay or short answer test, it's unlikely for someone to score less than 33%, and anyone scoring under 10% is a bored kid trying to fail as you would have to know enough correct answers to deliberately not pick the correct one.

This is a separate issue from having standardized questions. Measuring the knowledge of subjects by having a standardized set of questions they complete at a certain level is a fairly valid way of determining knowledge, but done properly it's labor intensive and always subject to some individual deviation based on the grader.

Fill-in-the-bubble tests? They're always crap, and waste our educational resources. They're given far too frequently.
2013-09-09 10:22:10 AM
1 votes:

Dafatone: 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?


Here, this helps explain the "Five paragraph theme" we were taught using to write, from..oh, grade school all the way to high school.

http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/college-writing/
2013-09-09 10:20:51 AM
1 votes:

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


They started that in KY back in 1992.  We had to assemble a portfolio over the course of our four years.  Wrote essays or papers in every single class to fill said portfolio.  Gym, band, choir, driver's ed, all of them.

/refused to write a paper in gym and band, still graduated just fine.
2013-09-09 10:20:22 AM
1 votes:

Saul T. Balzac: Dafatone: 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.


Teachers can only do so much.  Endless money and resources for teachers isn't going to make students care about school, motivate students to learn the material, and make them respect teachers, school property, and the learning experience itself.  For that to happen, the students need to grow up in a culture that values learning.


This is true.  But it's also a sort of straw-man-ish thing thrown out there to justify paying teachers shiat and making them teach in deplorable conditions.  Not saying that you're doing that.  But "you can't just keep throwing money at the problem!" doesn't justify 35 kids in a room without air conditioning.

"A culture that values learning" starts with parents.  Not really sure how we go about fixing them.
2013-09-09 10:18:48 AM
1 votes:

Dafatone: 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.



Teachers can only do so much.  Endless money and resources for teachers isn't going to make students care about school, motivate students to learn the material, and make them respect teachers, school property, and the learning experience itself.  For that to happen, the students need to grow up in a culture that values learning.
2013-09-09 10:16:09 AM
1 votes:

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 10:12:30 AM
1 votes:
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 10:12:19 AM
1 votes:

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 10:03:46 AM
1 votes:
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 10:01:42 AM
1 votes:
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 09:59:55 AM
1 votes:

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 09:53:02 AM
1 votes:

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 09:52:46 AM
1 votes:

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 09:51:34 AM
1 votes:
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 09:51:22 AM
1 votes:

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 09:48:05 AM
1 votes:

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 09:46:01 AM
1 votes:

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 09:44:29 AM
1 votes:

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 09:43:32 AM
1 votes:
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 09:37:21 AM
1 votes:
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 08:19:45 AM
1 votes:
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.
 
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