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(Slate)   If you think standardized testing is bad, wait until you see what happens when a parent opts her kid out of the test   (slate.com) divider line 295
    More: Scary, University of Denver, parents, standardized test, online school, report cards, school library  
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21813 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Mar 2014 at 1:11 PM (19 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-10 04:38:53 PM
OK then ... take the test, but hand in a blank test. See how well that works out.
 
2014-03-10 04:40:08 PM
This is a no brainer, the schools get funding based on the standardized test scores. Administrators are paid according to how the schools performs on these tests.
 
2014-03-10 04:40:19 PM
Right in front of the pricipal I'd have said "honey, go ahead and do the test but try not to get a single question right." The mother's reasons for pulling her kids doesn't really matter. She shouldn't have to defend her decision so rigorously. The principals need to know that they aren't all-controlling.
 
2014-03-10 04:46:10 PM

Russ1642: Right in front of the pricipal I'd have said "honey, go ahead and do the test but try not to get a single question right."


Meh, if it mattered to me I would just make sure my kid knows that it doesn't matter how he does on the test so try or don't, I don't care.

As it is I encourage my kids to do well on the tests even though I believe they are a flawed system. I do this because I know my kids are going to be just fine but the money the school gets can be used to help other kids. The teachers, the principals and other administrators didn't create the system. They are the players, I hate the game.
 
2014-03-10 04:46:48 PM

BunkyBrewman: These kids are already tested in each individual class they take.  This test has nothing to do with their progress and everything to do with funding and ranking the schools.


And that grade means nothing without context.

There's alot wrong with standardized testing and how the results are interpreted, and it's getting to much emphasis and time.  But it's addressing a real problem - the fact that all schools are not created equal and kids at under-performing schools get shortchanged, even though they may have stellar GPAs from those schools.

I've seen that first hand after coasting through Podunk High and graduating at the top of my class.  Got to college where everybody graduated at the top of their class, but mostly from bigger, more affluent, better high schools and got my ass handed to me freshman year.  The difference in preparation and opportunity they had at those schools was very significant ... but our HS GPAs and class rank were very similar.

And now I see it with my own kids.  Teacher #1 challenges the kids all the time, lots of assignments, good interaction and feedback and the kids have to work for it.  Teacher #2 coasts through the semester with the bare minimum of effort, homework is rare, and sometimes not even graded and returned.  But an A from teacher #1 counts the same as an A from teacher #2.

One of the uses of these standardized test results is to measure student progress from year to year.  This progress can then be aggregated and correlated by subject and teacher to show that teacher #1 is doing a great job and teacher #2 is slacking.

That data reduction/interpretation still need alot of work in some areas.  At least in Colorado, they really need to get a handle on this from what I've seen - statistics is not their strong point.  NEA hates data based evaluations and erosion of tenure, and they have a legitimate beef with some aspects of this.  But it's a start.  You can't improve what you don't measure.
 
2014-03-10 04:55:43 PM

jst3p: we're just here for one academic year while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students.

What kind of crappy parent bounces their kids in and out of a school for a year at this age?


Military, contract , various government agents and more...

/Life,  it happens with or without your stupid opinions.
 
2014-03-10 05:03:36 PM
How about next time the parent just says "Just try your best, sweetie." End of story.
 
2014-03-10 05:03:56 PM

MassAsster: jst3p: we're just here for one academic year while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students.

What kind of crappy parent bounces their kids in and out of a school for a year at this age?

Military, contract , various government agents and more...

/Life,  it happens with or without your stupid opinions.


I understand it isn't avoidable for many, this does not seem to be one of those cases based on the limited data we have. Her taking a one year guest teaching position in Denver but living in Boulder (expensive for the area) seems selfish and more disruptive to her kids education than taking these tests.
 
2014-03-10 05:07:54 PM
I hate everything about Slate.  Journalism = I did a thing then I sloppily wrote about it and framed it in the context of a larger issue that I only considered so I could make a few bucks.
 
2014-03-10 05:14:08 PM

TNel: eeyore102: Depends on the program. Would you rather have the smart kids sitting bored at the back of the class, cutting up because it's the only way they can get any attention or entertainment? It's true that truly gifted kids tend to seek out opportunities to learn, but it's going to be hard for them to find opportunities in the classroom if the resources aren't there.

I've seen the gifted program at our school and it's a free for all and I know the teacher that was teaching it for years and I wouldn't want my Pre-Schooler in that class.

Most MS and HS are in blocks unlike Elementary so if a kid is better in Alg they move up a step.  Once they get past what the school has they send them to the local college.

I was in gifted programs until HS (where the program became "enroll in advanced classes"). Most of the time the program was a mess and, yes, it was a free for all (I recall a lot pranks-- reconfiguring teachers' computers, sabotaging the nerdiest kids' experiments etc.), but at least the smart kids got to spend time together and engage instead of sitting around bored while the slows figured out 2+2.

After a while teachers stop calling on the smart kids during general lectures, so those kids dont even get minimally engaged by normal curriculum. It makes more sense to give smarter children that time to explore more advanced or interesting topics even if the time is unstructured. That way the kids dont have to give up all their free time to do self study.
 
2014-03-10 05:14:38 PM

jst3p: Russ1642: Right in front of the pricipal I'd have said "honey, go ahead and do the test but try not to get a single question right."

Meh, if it mattered to me I would just make sure my kid knows that it doesn't matter how he does on the test so try or don't, I don't care.


anshuchristajacobson.files.wordpress.com
 
2014-03-10 05:15:36 PM

scotchlandia: badhatharry: It prepares them for the common core math on the SAT.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/31/a-rid ic ulous-common-core-test-for-first-graders/


http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/">http://whatiscommoncore.word press.com/

Common Core, huh?
US Code § 1232a  General Educational Provisions Act: "No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system..."


Hahaha. That's funny.
 
2014-03-10 05:19:54 PM

Slypork: jst3p: Russ1642: Right in front of the pricipal I'd have said "honey, go ahead and do the test but try not to get a single question right."

Meh, if it mattered to me I would just make sure my kid knows that it doesn't matter how he does on the test so try or don't, I don't care.

[anshuchristajacobson.files.wordpress.com image 850x637]


What a try looks like:

img.fark.net
 
2014-03-10 05:23:33 PM
The problem isn't with the tests.  The problem is what stupid people try to use the results of the tests to measure.  The tests were never intended to measure teacher effectiveness, see who gets funding, etc.

Results of tests are an easy single number for dumb bastards to latch on to in order to do something else with it which it wasn't intended to measure just like any other metric.
 
2014-03-10 05:26:19 PM

jst3p: Slypork: jst3p: Russ1642: Right in front of the pricipal I'd have said "honey, go ahead and do the test but try not to get a single question right."

Meh, if it mattered to me I would just make sure my kid knows that it doesn't matter how he does on the test so try or don't, I don't care.

[anshuchristajacobson.files.wordpress.com image 850x637]

What a try looks like:

[img.fark.net image 288x175]


You win
 
2014-03-10 05:26:47 PM
Sounds like their funding is directly tied into participation, like federal road funds being tied to the drinking age. Bummer.
 
2014-03-10 05:31:33 PM

TNel: teenytinycornteeth: I wonder how many people in this thread screaming "suck it up snowflake" have children and fully understand the rampant and spreading plague of standardized testing and how different school is for kids these days.  My daughter is SEVEN and in FIRST GRADE she's already taking standardized tests three or four times a year, complete with reports sent home letting us know exactly where she falls in relation to her classmates, the school and the district.  Nothing like letting a seven year old know that life is nothing but rating and competition.

School is no longer an exploration of subjects, it's "let's prepare to take a test...here's the test, lets talk about the test...here are the test results".

And the more we sit around and say "well it's school, they must know what they're doing, and I went to school and I was fine, so everything must be exactly the same!"  the worse it's going to get.

For a long time, there were Chicago Public Schools where six year old kids sat at their desks for all but twenty minutes in a seven hour day.  No recess.  Minimum PE, lunch at their desks.  BECAUSE WE HAD TO TEACH TO THE TEST.  It's crap.

While you may not agree with this particular mom, I agree that if more parents don't stand up to this bullshiat, school is going to continue to become nothing but corporately owned vocational programs, training drones to do nothing but the specific jobs the corporations want ::cough:: charter school ::cough::.

I have 3 kids and once they get old enough I have no issues with them taking the tests.  For one it's good to verify that the kids are learning what they should be learning and remembering it and not just doing it one week and then regurgitating the next.

I never understood the "Teach to the test" crap you complain about.  If the test is just a summary (like it is) of what a student should know at a certain point in their school education what's the issue?  It sounds like you have more complaints about the teachers ...



No.  That makes incorrect assumptions about the contents of tests.  Tests are standardized and provided, typically by for-profit companies, from outside the school system.  The curriculum is developed within the individual school system to some extent, and at a more granular level within the individual school and classroom.  Both the subject matter and methodology of a standardized test frequently have no resemblance to what is being taught as part of the regular curriculum.  As a result, for the kids to have any chance of succeeding on the test at all, they get weeks of in-class cramming on test subject matter and performance.  I've seen it firsthand.  There's a lot of "this is how you're going to have to do it on the test," when the better pedagogy would be "here's how you can understand the subject matter."  And then, there's a whole different set of tests where the subject matter is so far removed from the curriculum that it doesn't give any useful information at all -- for example, testing students on math subjects that won't be covered in school until the following year.  Brilliant!
 
2014-03-10 05:32:08 PM

dj_bigbird: jst3p: Slypork: jst3p: Russ1642: Right in front of the pricipal I'd have said "honey, go ahead and do the test but try not to get a single question right."

Meh, if it mattered to me I would just make sure my kid knows that it doesn't matter how he does on the test so try or don't, I don't care.

[anshuchristajacobson.files.wordpress.com image 850x637]

What a try looks like:

[img.fark.net image 288x175]

You win


Conversely, sometimes there is no try:

www.wikihow.com
 
2014-03-10 05:42:18 PM

jst3p: melopene: ransack.: jst3p: we're just here for one academic year while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students.

What kind of crappy parent bounces their kids in and out of a school for a year at this age?

My thoughts exactly.
Finish your doctorate in five years, you selfish biatch. Your life is about your KIDS right now.

But it's perfectly okay for military families, right?

Less than ideal but that is part of the sacrifice they and their families make. And I appreciate them.

It is way different than "I am going to move my kids in and out of a school for one year so I can take a temp teaching gig."


Let me introduce you to academia, where you move around as often as you have to for various reasons (better jobs, getting out of a toxic university, failing to get tenure, moving for your first job), and you don't just get to select what city you live in, or even if you like it there.

Also, why aren't you hating on the father? How is being a woman with a career selfish at all? He's in school full time, how SELFISH! WHY ISN'T HE HOME WITH THE KIDS?
 
2014-03-10 05:49:16 PM

melopene: jst3p: melopene: ransack.: jst3p: we're just here for one academic year while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students.

What kind of crappy parent bounces their kids in and out of a school for a year at this age?

My thoughts exactly.
Finish your doctorate in five years, you selfish biatch. Your life is about your KIDS right now.

But it's perfectly okay for military families, right?

Less than ideal but that is part of the sacrifice they and their families make. And I appreciate them.

It is way different than "I am going to move my kids in and out of a school for one year so I can take a temp teaching gig."

Let me introduce you to academia, where you move around as often as you have to for various reasons (better jobs, getting out of a toxic university, failing to get tenure, moving for your first job), and you don't just get to select what city you live in, or even if you like it there.

Also, why aren't you hating on the father? How is being a woman with a career selfish at all? He's in school full time, how SELFISH! WHY ISN'T HE HOME WITH THE KIDS?


I did say in a previous post I thought dad and kids should have stayed where they were for the year. Like I said, if they moved to Boulder in order to teach in Denver they aren't desperate to take whatever job she can, they have flexibility.
 
2014-03-10 05:50:25 PM

Lamberts Ho Man: BunkyBrewman: These kids are already tested in each individual class they take.  This test has nothing to do with their progress and everything to do with funding and ranking the schools.

And that grade means nothing without context.

There's alot wrong with standardized testing and how the results are interpreted, and it's getting to much emphasis and time.  But it's addressing a real problem - the fact that all schools are not created equal and kids at under-performing schools get shortchanged, even though they may have stellar GPAs from those schools.

I've seen that first hand after coasting through Podunk High and graduating at the top of my class.  Got to college where everybody graduated at the top of their class, but mostly from bigger, more affluent, better high schools and got my ass handed to me freshman year.  The difference in preparation and opportunity they had at those schools was very significant ... but our HS GPAs and class rank were very similar.

And now I see it with my own kids.  Teacher #1 challenges the kids all the time, lots of assignments, good interaction and feedback and the kids have to work for it.  Teacher #2 coasts through the semester with the bare minimum of effort, homework is rare, and sometimes not even graded and returned.  But an A from teacher #1 counts the same as an A from teacher #2.

One of the uses of these standardized test results is to measure student progress from year to year.  This progress can then be aggregated and correlated by subject and teacher to show that teacher #1 is doing a great job and teacher #2 is slacking.

That data reduction/interpretation still need alot of work in some areas.  At least in Colorado, they really need to get a handle on this from what I've seen - statistics is not their strong point.  NEA hates data based evaluations and erosion of tenure, and they have a legitimate beef with some aspects of this.  But it's a start.  You can't improve what you don't measure.


The reality is that schools in places like D.C. and Miss. don't improve unless their progress can be measured against a standard.
 
2014-03-10 05:51:51 PM

jst3p: melopene: jst3p: melopene: ransack.: jst3p: we're just here for one academic year while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students.

What kind of crappy parent bounces their kids in and out of a school for a year at this age?

My thoughts exactly.
Finish your doctorate in five years, you selfish biatch. Your life is about your KIDS right now.

But it's perfectly okay for military families, right?

Less than ideal but that is part of the sacrifice they and their families make. And I appreciate them.

It is way different than "I am going to move my kids in and out of a school for one year so I can take a temp teaching gig."

Let me introduce you to academia, where you move around as often as you have to for various reasons (better jobs, getting out of a toxic university, failing to get tenure, moving for your first job), and you don't just get to select what city you live in, or even if you like it there.

Also, why aren't you hating on the father? How is being a woman with a career selfish at all? He's in school full time, how SELFISH! WHY ISN'T HE HOME WITH THE KIDS?

I did say in a previous post I thought dad and kids should have stayed where they were for the year. Like I said, if they moved to Boulder in order to teach in Denver they aren't desperate to take whatever job she can, they have flexibility.


A friend had a kid in grad school when we were at UGA... the family then moved to Chicago for a job, and then found a chance at being closer to home and will be moving to Denver this summer. The kid's probably in second grade by now... so does that make them bad parents, for trying to have a happy and fulfilling life, and thus a happy environment for the kid? Serious question.
 
2014-03-10 05:53:44 PM

vudukungfu: You can mandate these stupid exams but not vaccinations?
How farked up is that?




www.clevescene.com
 
2014-03-10 05:57:02 PM

melopene: jst3p: melopene: jst3p: melopene: ransack.: jst3p: we're just here for one academic year while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students.

What kind of crappy parent bounces their kids in and out of a school for a year at this age?

My thoughts exactly.
Finish your doctorate in five years, you selfish biatch. Your life is about your KIDS right now.

But it's perfectly okay for military families, right?

Less than ideal but that is part of the sacrifice they and their families make. And I appreciate them.

It is way different than "I am going to move my kids in and out of a school for one year so I can take a temp teaching gig."

Let me introduce you to academia, where you move around as often as you have to for various reasons (better jobs, getting out of a toxic university, failing to get tenure, moving for your first job), and you don't just get to select what city you live in, or even if you like it there.

Also, why aren't you hating on the father? How is being a woman with a career selfish at all? He's in school full time, how SELFISH! WHY ISN'T HE HOME WITH THE KIDS?

I did say in a previous post I thought dad and kids should have stayed where they were for the year. Like I said, if they moved to Boulder in order to teach in Denver they aren't desperate to take whatever job she can, they have flexibility.

A friend had a kid in grad school when we were at UGA... the family then moved to Chicago for a job, and then found a chance at being closer to home and will be moving to Denver this summer. The kid's probably in second grade by now... so does that make them bad parents, for trying to have a happy and fulfilling life, and thus a happy environment for the kid? Serious question.


I think there is a significant difference between moving kids in and out of schools at second grade and in high school. Also, your friend seems to be trying for more stability, this family knows the job is only for a year and their plan is to move at the end of the year apparently.

You are correct, it is a harsh judgement given the very little information I have, but that's what we do on the internet.
 
2014-03-10 06:05:27 PM

jst3p: You are correct, it is a harsh judgement given the very little information I have, but that's what we do on the internet.


I wish I could have this post back so I could say "I came to this decision by consulting my gut, not research."
 
2014-03-10 06:05:32 PM

jst3p: I think there is a significant difference between moving kids in and out of schools at second grade and in high school. Also, your friend seems to be trying for more stability, this family knows the job is only fo ...


Academics tend to move every 3-6 years. It comes with the territory. Some of us choose to have kids (I chose not to because ew, kids) and manage to make it work.
 
2014-03-10 06:16:58 PM

melopene: jst3p: I think there is a significant difference between moving kids in and out of schools at second grade and in high school. Also, your friend seems to be trying for more stability, this family knows the job is only fo ...

Academics tend to move every 3-6 years. It comes with the territory. Some of us choose to have kids (I chose not to because ew, kids) and manage to make it work.


Just seems like a poor time to move for a one year contract and have dad in school full time.
 
2014-03-10 06:32:40 PM

BunkyBrewman: swaniefrmreddeer: What is she teaching her kids? If it's hard, don't worry mommy will take care of you. Her reasons/excuses are irrelevant, the school her kids attend has the test, then the kids should goddamned well take the the test. No wonder we have a whole generation of precious snowflakes.

Public schools do this type of testing so they can get their piece of the public funding pie. ($$$$$$$)

Private schools do not do similar testing.

Has nothing to do with snowflakes.  This is one article you might consider taking the few minutes to read and how these types of tests don't do anything for the students, but everything for the schools they attend.


Actually in some states private schools are also starting to test (at state expense) as well as homeschoolers being required to be tested.   We homeschool in Arkansas because we were tired of the "teach to the low end of the bell curve" mentality of the local schools, but we STILL have to show up at a private school the first week of April for a standardized test required by the state.
 
2014-03-10 06:35:15 PM

TNel: I have 3 kids and once they get old enough I have no issues with them taking the tests.  For one it's good to verify that the kids are learning what they should be learning and remembering it and not just doing it one week and then regurgitating the next.


Which latter is precisely what happens when schools start obsessing with testing. You think they say "Litte Freddie has a test coming up which includes some stuff we did last year. Let's hope he remembers it." Hell no. Tests like this institutionalise short-term cramming and regurgitation.

I never understood the "Teach to the test" crap you complain about.  If the test is just a summary (like it is) of what a student should know at a certain point in their school education what's the issue?  It sounds like you have more complaints about the teachers ...

No, that's not what the test is. It's what a test might be, but in practice and for a variety of reasons, tests invariably end up asking a small number of types of question about a small and tightly defined syllabus, and schools invariably end up - or start off - teaching students what they need to pass the test, not what would be useful to know about the subject generally.

Here's an example. Years ago, I earned my living preparing rich children for their A-level (English school leaving) exams. One topic in maths was "quadratic equations". Now, there are lots and lots of interesting things you can learn or teach about quadratic equations. One not terribly interesting thing is that if ax^2 + bx + c = 0, the sum of the roots is -b/2a and the product of the roots is c/a. I don't think knowing the sum and product of the roots of a quadratic equation has ever been of use to me. However, I used to spend hours teaching kids how to do these party trick because there was always a question about the sums and products of roots of a quadratic equation in the exam. The kids knew stuff-all about quadratic equations except how to find the sums and products of the roots (half of them hadn't a clue what roots were) but they could find those sums and products and they passed the exams, and I got paid.

tl;dr - I have taught to the test.
 
2014-03-10 06:43:40 PM

melopene: A friend had a kid in grad school when we were at UGA... the family then moved to Chicago for a job, and then found a chance at being closer to home and will be moving to Denver this summer. The kid's probably in second grade by now... so does that make them bad parents, for trying to have a happy and fulfilling life, and thus a happy environment for the kid? Serious question.


Depends, how long do they plan to stay in Denver? Moving for life betterment is not a problem and I don't think that is the suggestion being made. I moved from California to Colorado when my kids where going into Kindergarten and 3rd grade. However, moving for one year only and uprotting the kids for a defined one year might be. Though even then I might have to disagree with Jst3p here. If the opportunity came to move for only one year to Italy, I might take my kids with me for the year because the value they would get from living in Italy as far as world experience might be worth the "life disruption". The person in question here moved from Philadelphia to Boulder for one year. Maybe she is trying to use the Visiting Professor role to get a more permanent gig in Denver, maybe not. Maybe they plan to move back to Philly next year. Either way, the kids might be better off with a year in Boulder then spending that same year in Philly.
 
2014-03-10 06:55:30 PM

teenytinycornteeth: cynicalminion: teenytinycornteeth: Nothing like letting a seven year old know that life is nothing but rating and competition.

[img.fark.net image 500x546]

I'm not sure what the fark your point is...but good work.


point is, anyone old enough to be in middle/high school can sit in a room coloring bubble sheets just as easily as they can sit in the same room with a "teacher".

unless you can point out how these tests are HARMING your kids, just sit them there and have them play connect the farking dots

orbister: tl;dr - I have taught to the test.


so, you ask "what is two plus two?" and when they say "four" (or potato, if you happen to be trying to teach the politics tab) you say "RIGHT!" and not "GREAT... WHY?"
 
2014-03-10 07:02:21 PM

teenytinycornteeth: cynicalminion: teenytinycornteeth: Nothing like letting a seven year old know that life is nothing but rating and competition.

[img.fark.net image 500x546]

I'm not sure what the fark your point is...but good work.


also, depending on how many claws you want in your finish,
img.fark.netimg.fark.net
 
2014-03-10 07:11:17 PM
Okay, now I see the problem: Colorado.

Rocky Mountain High, dude.
 
2014-03-10 07:11:54 PM

lostcat: The motivation of the principal is suspect. The author indicates that her daughters are strong students. It seems that the principal is intent on including strong scores to help push the curve of the school's scoring results.

Those are the things that bother me more than the points you mentioned.


When I was an obnoxious child, it was actually possible to determine how smart one's teachers thought one was by whether or not they encouraged you to show up on test day. Some of the real morons had 'senior skip day' suggested to them by faculty and really bright kids were offered extra privileges to show up.

Of course, neither group got anything like a decent education because God forbid we challenge the bright ones or sort the kids by actual ability. Someone might realize they're in the slow group and feel bad!
 
2014-03-10 08:56:42 PM

jst3p: we're just here for one academic year while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students.

What kind of crappy parent bounces their kids in and out of a school for a year at this age?


Most military kids in the 70s did this. Never attended the same school two years in a row until high school.
Straight A's. Early acceptance top 10 Engineering school. Master's Degree. Nice job. Etc.
Nothing wrong with moving and changing schools add a kid.
 
2014-03-10 09:06:08 PM

doyner: 3: Boo farking hoo. Life is hard. Overcoming anxiety is a life skill.


I object to this sentiment.

For some people anxiety is not overcome.  It may be overcome for you; but you may not extrapolate that success to everyone.
 
2014-03-10 09:12:24 PM
My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back

I think she should be allowed to opt out, but I find the above statement really, really hard to believe. What ten or eleven year-old experiences "serious test anxiety" for a farking standardized test? FFS, raise your kids better.
 
2014-03-10 09:17:09 PM
The System Don't screw with it.
 
2014-03-10 09:38:19 PM
Standardized testing is the biggest load of crap to be foisted on education systems, but it seems to be the darling of administrators. 

At least America isn't as bad as Japan, where kids have to spend half of their waking hours studying for entrance exams just to get into a good Junior or High School.  Entrance exams that are 100% pure rote memorization and that make no lasting contribution to a child's education.
 
2014-03-10 10:05:33 PM

TNel: eeyore102: The worst thing about these dumb tests is that schools no longer have any incentive to challenge gifted kids, since they're not the ones bringing down the averages.

If a student is truely gifted they don't need any incentive to learn new things.  Gifted programs are garbage and are only for parents to think they are special by having a kid in the program that does jack for the student.


Ebenezer TNel says "are there no libraries? Are there no TED talks?"
 
2014-03-10 10:06:15 PM

Pattuq: Standardized testing is the biggest load of crap to be foisted on education systems, but it seems to be the darling of administrators. 

At least America isn't as bad as Japan, where kids have to spend half of their waking hours studying for entrance exams just to get into a good Junior or High School.  Entrance exams that are 100% pure rote memorization and that make no lasting contribution to a child's education.


Ditto for India. And we want this system of rote learning so badly now.
 
2014-03-10 10:26:08 PM

orbister: TNel: I have 3 kids and once they get old enough I have no issues with them taking the tests.  For one it's good to verify that the kids are learning what they should be learning and remembering it and not just doing it one week and then regurgitating the next.

Which latter is precisely what happens when schools start obsessing with testing. You think they say "Litte Freddie has a test coming up which includes some stuff we did last year. Let's hope he remembers it." Hell no. Tests like this institutionalise short-term cramming and regurgitation.

I never understood the "Teach to the test" crap you complain about.  If the test is just a summary (like it is) of what a student should know at a certain point in their school education what's the issue?  It sounds like you have more complaints about the teachers ...

No, that's not what the test is. It's what a test might be, but in practice and for a variety of reasons, tests invariably end up asking a small number of types of question about a small and tightly defined syllabus, and schools invariably end up - or start off - teaching students what they need to pass the test, not what would be useful to know about the subject generally.

Here's an example. Years ago, I earned my living preparing rich children for their A-level (English school leaving) exams. One topic in maths was "quadratic equations". Now, there are lots and lots of interesting things you can learn or teach about quadratic equations. One not terribly interesting thing is that if ax^2 + bx + c = 0, the sum of the roots is -b/2a and the product of the roots is c/a. I don't think knowing the sum and product of the roots of a quadratic equation has ever been of use to me. However, I used to spend hours teaching kids how to do these party trick because there was always a question about the sums and products of roots of a quadratic equation in the exam. The kids knew stuff-all about quadratic equations except how to find the sums and products of the roots ( ...


Thank you for mentioning how tests get beaten. Every test has idiosyncrasies that drift in. The Princeton Review guides for the SAT used to test the "Joe Blogs Method" where Joe Blogs is your average Joe that gets all the easy ones right, splits the medium, and misses all the hard ones. It basically teaches you the cues and tells that indicate whether the question is straight forward and you can answer just what your gut tells you, and when to look for a "trick."  They taught tons of ways to save time on the reading comprehension by being able to answer the questions with only skimming the passage and finding the answer the test "wants."

My AP calc teacher used to point out that most standardized math tests value order of operations and so the choices might be:

a: -10
b: 1
c: 10
d: 100
e: 562

And noted that many times if you weren't sure how to work a problem you could plug in a number you think likely and work backward from there. (hint: 562 was a distractor for people just guessing a number)

And so on.  Most standardized tests used to suffer from shallowness on concepts. You could easily min/max your score by not wasting time on the challenging ones and scooping up the easy/medium difficulty ones.
 
2014-03-11 05:06:41 AM
Some people have a problem with standardized testing.

They insist it's not valid.

These people are wrong.

Standardized testing is the ONLY valid measurement available when you're comparing students who went to different schools.

Class grades are utterly worthless.  Schools inflate or reduce grades all the time, depending on today's politics.  Curriculum differences between schools make two classes with the same name not even remotely comparable.  And you had a bad teacher?  Who knows what happened to make that grade what it was.

But these tests are the same test all over the state.  You can make a valid comparison between a kid in Denver to a kid in South Park.

And the SAT is the same test, all over the country.  You can make a valid comparison between any two kids anywhere in the country.  A kid who went to Cousinfarker High in Alabama and a kid in San Francisco with the same score can be rated as equally likely to flunk out of college, even though the CA kid got C's and D's and the AL kid got straight A's.

And they're even still valid beyond college.  Did you know that the lawyer who wrote TFA isn't licensed to practice law based on law school grades?  Nope, it's another standardized test.  Flunk the bar exam, you're not a lawyer.  How about doctors?  It's all about the med school, right?  Nope, there's a standardized test, because it's the only valid way to compare doctors who went to different med schools.  Engineering license?  Standardized test.  Accountant?  Standardized test.

And that's because it's currently the only valid way to accomplish a comparison between two people with different backgrounds, and that's not likely to change in our lifetimes.

/Figure out mind reading, then we can replace standardized testing.
 
2014-03-11 09:56:35 AM

DarkVader: Standardized testing is the ONLY valid measurement available when you're comparing students who went to different schools.


It is only valid if what you want to measure is how well children do in standardised tests, and that depends to huge extent on how much they have been educated and how much taught to the test, on whether they have had a standard school education or whether their parents could pay for coaching.

But these tests are the same test all over the state.  You can make a valid comparison between a kid in Denver to a kid in South Park.

As above. You can make a comparison; maybe even a valid one, but it may not have any significance whatsoever.

Did you know that the lawyer who wrote TFA isn't licensed to practice law based on law school grades?  Nope, it's another standardized test.  Flunk the bar exam, you're not a lawyer.  How about doctors?  It's all about the med school, right?  Nope, there's a standardized test, because it's the only valid way to compare doctors who went to different med schools.  Engineering license?  Standardized test.  Accountant?  Standardized test.

Not in the UK it isn't, for any of these. Standardised tests are a fetish
 
2014-03-11 05:21:48 PM

brimed03: Dafatone: Can anyone name another industry that puts as much effort into self-evaluation (at the expense of its actual purpose) as education?

Schools today are like a restaurant where the cooks are eating 75% of the food made to make sure it's good.

Wowwwwwwww.....

So first schools get the reputational crap kicked out of them because OVREPIAD TEECHUURS DO WHATEVUR THEY WANT and the party of "small government" demands massive state and federal testing programs to provide oversight (by non-educators), proof of results in the classroom, and control over the material being taught.

Then, once it's all in place, we get TEH SKOOLS SPEDN MOOR TIEM TESTIGN TEHN TEECHING!

I'm sorry Dafatone, I don't know your politics or if that was your intention with this post.  I'm sorry if I misunderstood or skewed your meaning.  Frankly, I didn't even intend to post ITT, it's too ripe for derpitude with no hope of insights.  But I have too many friends in the classroom and admin of K-12, and I'm tired of them being beaten up from the right and the left for things that they have little to no influence over.  Most of the educational folks I know are against standardized testing for empirical reasons... no wonder they aren't listened to, facts have no place in education policy decisions!


So uh... you're agreeing with me, but you're starting off by assuming I'm a right-wing asshole for no apparent reason?

That works.  We're in agreement.  Teachers are, by and large, good at what they do because they've been doing it for a long time, and experience makes a huge difference.  Letting teachers do what they do, and putting resources into training, supporting, and bettering them, would be a good effort.  Putting all of our resources into evaluating teachers because we absolutely have to hunt down the bad ones and get rid of them vilifies teachers and wastes students' time.

And yeah, non-educators making decisions is one of the biggest problems here.  Especially when those non-educators are bought and sold by Pearson.  Or are actually Pearson in the first place.
 
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