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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 112
    More: Scary, University of Denver, parents, standardized test, online school, report cards, school library  
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21833 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Mar 2014 at 1:11 PM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
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2014-03-10 01:23:36 PM  
11 votes:
You can mandate these stupid exams but not vaccinations?
How farked up is that?
2014-03-10 01:19:21 PM  
9 votes:

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.
2014-03-10 01:18:37 PM  
9 votes:
More parents need to stand up and start doing this. Standardized testing is bullshiat. The kids know it, the teachers know it, and it disrupts actual learning they could be doing.

On the plus side, I did get to literally fark around during the last two years of primary schooling due to this crap.
2014-03-10 01:16:56 PM  
8 votes:

Benevolent Misanthrope: 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.

1/10.  RTFA, asshole.


BM, I usually really like your posts, but hold on a second.

FTFA: "Deciding to opt my two daughters out of Colorado standardized testing seemed like a no-brainer. We aren't permanent Colorado residents-we're just here for one academic year1while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students. My husband and I see no educational benefit2to the tests. My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back3when taking Pennsylvania's standardized tests."

1: So what?  Are they in the Colorado system or not?
2: They go on to admit that they did no research beforehand and were using their gut decider-style.
3: Boo farking hoo.  Life is hard.  Overcoming anxiety is a life skill.

Her decision was whimsical at best, and has potential reprocussions for others.  Yes, standardized tests have gone way too far, butshe comes nowhere close to adequately articulating a reasonable argument for this action.  To the contrary, she explains why it's probably not such a great idea.
2014-03-10 12:58:32 PM  
8 votes:

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.


1/10.  RTFA, asshole.
2014-03-10 01:47:20 PM  
7 votes:

CokeBear: Teaching the kids to fight the power might be the most valuable lesson they ever learn.


I agree. I try to teach my kids to challenge everything, a little.

CSB

My daughter was 8 and the following conversation happened:

"What did you do in school today?"
"We learned about probability."
"Great! So if I flipped a coin, what is the probability that it will land on heads?"
"50% chance or one in two."
"OK, let's say I flipped the coin 100 times and it came up heads each time. What is the probability that it will come up heads the next time?"
"Pretty good."
"Oh? Why?"
"I know you Daddy, if you flipped a coin 100 times and it came up heads every time it has heads on both sides."
2014-03-10 01:24:21 PM  
7 votes:
"We aren't permanent Colorado residents-we're just here for one academic year"
"My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back "

I have some news for you lady.  Your constantly moving around for no real reason other than to make your resume look better as some sort of life achievement is doing FAR more harm than any standardized test every will.
2014-03-10 01:39:49 PM  
6 votes:
FARK's Hypocrisy

1) Parents who don't force their kids to do what is mandated by the schools are helicopter parents raising snowflakes.

2) The government is facelss machine that no one would show bow to.

3) People who do what is mandated for them are cookie-cutter people who live in cubicle farms and are miserable.

4) People shouldn't be forced to do things just because, and anyone who stands up to that is a hero.
2014-03-10 01:30:07 PM  
6 votes:

swaniefrmreddeer: Benevolent Misanthrope: 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.

1/10.  RTFA, asshole.

I did, and it seemed to be far more about mommy than her kids. I have a kid with anxiety issues, sheltering him would only make the situation worse. Life is hard, the sooner kids learn that lesson the better.


You're Canadian. You have no idea how useless these tests are. They are created to test the teachers and the school, and show nothing whatsoever about the student.

However, because they are so important, schools only teach what might be on the test. Critical thinking? There's not a bubble for that, so let's not bother.

Art, music, philosophy? Nope. That's not on the test.

And when the school does badly on the test, they have to spend a ton of money on outside "educational consultants", which takes MORE money away from the school.

No Child Left Behind may be Bush's WORST domestic failure.
2014-03-10 02:25:26 PM  
5 votes:

The My Little Pony Killer: It's almost as though people are choosing to ignore the fact that the standardized tests aren't the only way kids are being tested in schools...


It's not the kids being tested by the tests referred to in TFA.

SSB:  A 10 year old girl who plays basketball for me, friend of my daughter. etc., was recently telling me how "dumb" she was because she scores poorly on these "achievement" tests.  This is a girl who had two weeks earlier played the lead role as a newscaster in a school play, and delivered probably 2,000 words with poise and grace and as professionally as any real-life anchor you would ever see, except unlike a professional, she was not allowed to read any of the part from copy and had to do it from memory.  She used inflection to breathe life into the part, hit her dramatic notes and comedic ones, so that performance was not simply a matter of rote memorization.  It was truly impressive.

Yet this girl thinks she is dumb because she didn't score well on tests.  The class and school are both well above state averages, so even just considering the metrics of the test, the tests are not going to help her one bit.  All it did was to fill a very capable girl with self-doubt, and that's to say nothing of the hours and days spent preparing for testing rather than attention and instruction enabling her to use her strengths to master the material.  </SSB>

We're preparing a generation of robotic little test takers and in so doing, minimizing and dismissing traits that enable broader success later in life.  We're taking time away from curriculum to cover and re-cover materials that have already been mastered by the vast majority of students because the jobs of teachers and administrators are dependent on all of the kids delivering results for them. It's unavoidable that the stakes of the testing translate into pressure on the kids to perform on them, regardless of the lack of despite the lack of educational benefit. It's all thoroughly counterproductive to what the goals of education should be.
2014-03-10 02:07:48 PM  
5 votes:

TNel: Benevolent Misanthrope: Do parents have the right to opt their kids out or not? For now, yes. They shouldn't need a reason. I personally, after reading a lot of the literature, think that standardized testing merely perpetuates a broken system of education. If I had kids, I would probably keep them out of public schools and opt them out of standardized tests.

What would opting them out of the test accomplish?  Are you afraid that they are not up to par and want to stick your head in the sand about it?  It's not like they are going to change their entire curriculum because your snowflake doesn't want to take the test.


Because standardized tests don't test actual knowledge or ability to learn or think critically.  All they do is provide a stat for a school on how well kids take tests - and those schools are desperate to up those stats to get funding.

It's broken. Fix it.
2014-03-10 01:25:53 PM  
5 votes:
doyner:

FTFA: "Deciding to opt my two daughters out of Colorado standardized testing seemed like a no-brainer. We aren't permanent Colorado residents-we're just here for one academic year1while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students. My husband and I see no educational benefit2to the tests. My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back3when taking Pennsylvania's standardized tests."

1: So what?  Are they in the Colorado system or not?
2: They go on to admit that they did no research beforehand and were using their gut decider-style.
3: Boo farking hoo.  Life is hard.  Overcoming anxiety is a life skill.

Her decision was whimsical at best, and has potential reprocussions for others.  Yes, standardized tests have gone way too far, butshe comes nowhere close to adequately articulating a reasonable argument for this action.  To the contrary, she explains why it's probably not such a great idea.


While I agree with these points, they are counterbalanced by the fact that opting out was an option on the enrollment paperwork. Why make it an option, and then push so hard when someone takes that option?

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.
2014-03-10 01:23:57 PM  
4 votes:
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.

Bottom line is $$$$ for the school districts.
2014-03-10 01:19:03 PM  
4 votes:
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.
2014-03-10 03:47:55 PM  
3 votes:
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.
2014-03-10 03:06:32 PM  
3 votes:

TNel: teenytinycornteeth: Did you ever go to school? Take a standardized test? Did it really summarize everything you learned in a year? how did it do on judging your creative development? Your intuitive skills? How about approaching problems from different angles? How many questions did it have about debate or critical thinking? Art? Music? Literature? Kids take individual tests in their classrooms, that's how we know what they're learning. SAT, PSAT? Go ahead..I'm all for it. Four or more standardized tests a year with nothing but multiple choice answers? No thanks.

I guess it really comes down to what you want your kid learning in school. If you want your kid to learn exclusively how to follow directions and go with the mainstream, to know how multiple choice works and to master nothing but factual, rote answers like science and math provide, all this stuff is like manna from heaven. If you want a kid to be more well rounded, to be able to think about things from both sides, to solve problems creatively, to value social and psychological development as well as hard and fast data and don't forget those "stupid, useless" topics like art, music, literature, drama...then maybe not so much.

How long do you want these tests to be?  I'm sorry that Math, Science, and English are being pushed ahead of Art and Music but 99% of people will use those items way more often than the others.

So you have a problem with testing what kids know?


You should have worked harder on reading comprehension. I'll say it again.  KIDS TAKE INDIVIDUAL TESTS IN THEIR CLASSROOMS AS WELL AS BEING GRADED ON WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS. This is how we know how they are doing.  Or do you now ONLY believe in standardized results?  I should also mention that I am not against ALL standardized testing. Like I said, as long as colleges require SAT or PSAT scores, they'll have to exist, but when a seven year old is subjected to computerized standardized tests more than three or four times a year, it takes away from other valuable things she could be learning and it does nothing to benefit the student.
2014-03-10 01:40:28 PM  
3 votes:
Our state has done standardized testing for decades.  As far as I can tell, all it does is teach to the lowest common denominator and waste time.

To add to the matter, the tests were never the same.  Every year or so a problem would be found and tests would be changed, dropped, or new subjects were added.  Originally, it was a joke.  Teachers would make up fake pupils each year and fill out questions randomly for shiats and giggles.  Now their jobs are based on it.  Really?

As an example, I point to the last essay question on the Social Studies test: "What was the impact of this letter? [Nixon's resignation letter follows]".

How would you answer that?  Where would you start or end?  How open ended should you make it?  Would "He resigned and was replaced by Ford" be an acceptable answer?  Would you discuss the change in media's handling of the chief executive?  Would you discuss the paranoia of government at the time?

The tests were bad.  I had a number of people in my class who were national merit scholars, but did not score the highest ranking on the different subject tests.  They were just fatally flawed.  And we're gearing to make them have more influence on the schools.

I applaud her for taking her kids out of them for whatever the reason.  If more parents did this, we'd kick some sense into the politicians' sociopathic brains.
2014-03-10 01:39:10 PM  
3 votes:

The My Little Pony Killer: swaniefrmreddeer: Benevolent Misanthrope: 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.

1/10.  RTFA, asshole.

I did, and it seemed to be far more about mommy than her kids. I have a kid with anxiety issues, sheltering him would only make the situation worse. Life is hard, the sooner kids learn that lesson the better.

And yet, actually reading and understanding the article continues to go right over your head. Amazing.

Let me guess: your livelihood depends on standardized testing. If so, kill yourself.


Because "I try to not shelter my kids so they develop some sort of spine" (right or wrong as that approach may be) equals "my livelihood depends on standardized testing".

As doyner notes above,

she gave three reasons for opting her kid out of testing: one was meaningless ("we're just here for one academic year") and one was sheltering her little snowflake from the real world ("My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety"); only the third ("My husband and I see no educational benefit to the tests") has any real substance, and even then she admits that that reasoning was purely anecdotal and based on nothing factual ("we consulted our guts, not research").

She may have chosen the correct end result (or not), but her entire thought process -- her "logic" -- was so flawed as to be laughable. In that, she definitely taught her daughter a poor lesson: do what you feel is right; to hell with the facts. If you have a problem, don't try to conquer it: avoid it.

As Wikipedia puts it, "Standardized tests are useful tools for assessing student achievement, and can be used to focus instruction on desired outcomes, such as reading and math skills.[15] However, critics feel that overuse and misuse of these tests harms teaching and learning by narrowing the curriculum."

In that it is like Comic Sans: it has its place, and it has its use; the danger is in using it for everything and especially where it is inappropriate.

The vitriol in this thread is amazing ("Asshole"? "Go kill yourself"?) and I don't want to seem out of place, so let me end this with "You're kind of an ignorant twat."

:)
2014-03-10 01:24:22 PM  
3 votes:
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?
2014-03-10 01:21:13 PM  
3 votes:

ArcadianRefugee: FTA: while my husband and I definitely thought through our decision to opt our kids out, we consulted our guts, not research.

Imagine that: go into something half-cocked and then be bewildered when things go pear shaped.


Except, no one provided an adequate explanation of what her kids were getting out of it.  Isn't that the simple threshold?  Have a good reason to do things?
2014-03-10 01:13:55 PM  
3 votes:
People need to know when they are conquered. Now sit down and bubble in the responses because reasons.
2014-03-10 09:38:19 PM  
2 votes:
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 09:06:08 PM  
2 votes:

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 05:42:18 PM  
2 votes:

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 05:23:33 PM  
2 votes:
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 05:14:08 PM  
2 votes:

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 03:59:35 PM  
2 votes:

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.


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.
2014-03-10 03:51:17 PM  
2 votes:

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.


Not only incentive but time/money. In our school district the gifted kids and the remedial kids were catered to from the same budget, at the school my kids were in there were so many that were behind the curve they didn't have the resources to do anything extra with those ahead of it. It was one of the main factors in getting my kids to a different school.
2014-03-10 03:35:39 PM  
2 votes:
Long story short: Nothing actually happened.

The end.
2014-03-10 03:21:18 PM  
2 votes:
Alternative theory:  Her kid is average, and it's mommies disappointment at the solid C's that causes the anxiety, not the test taking itself.
2014-03-10 03:08:24 PM  
2 votes:

ElLoco: TNel: ElLoco: I can sum up the school's side of that entire episode with one quote from the article:

"Joyce Zurkowski, the executive director of assessment, explained to me that, in Colorado, as long as a school has 95 percent participation, a kid's opting out has no effect at all on school funding."

If people wonder what was going through the minds of the school's administration... that was it. Funding.

God forbid they want to keep money coming in.  When your boss gets upset about something do you up and leave or do you stay because of the funding?  Money drives all.

I'm neither condoning nor condemning the school's actions. People are making up a myriad of ridiculous reasons on why they tried to prevent the opt-out. I simply boiled it down to the lowest common denominator. Money. Kid's don't participate... school can lose funding.


Yeah, that's how I feel too. My feeling is that a few parents do this every year. If the school didn't convince them (harass them) to take the test than enough would opt out to fall below the 95% rate discussed in the article. What's not made clear (and it's a little strange, that the author didn't research that) is what that would mean. How much funding would the school lose? Is the school in danger of losing all if its funding? If so, the reaction by the principals make sense (Though, seems like honesty would be best there, if they said, "Well, if less than 95% of students take the test then the school would lose funding, That'd be a pretty damn compelling argument to allow a kid to take a test that doesn't really harm her in any way). There was a story in the Wall Street Journal that said that a " ... school has missed out on hundreds of thousands of dollars of state aid and teacher bonuses pegged to improvement. ", because more than 8% of students didn't take the test,

Personally, I'm not clear why it such of big deal that the daughter not take the test, but I suppose once a parent says, "it's not necessary" and the school just gives a bunch of garbage reasons without any real justification, then why would the parent be any more willing to let the child take the test. Again, if the WSJ article is accurate, than I'm sure the school is fearful of a snowball effect where one kid not taking the test leads to more down the road. Which is a totally reasonable concern, but why not just tell the parents that?
2014-03-10 02:37:46 PM  
2 votes:
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::.
2014-03-10 02:29:59 PM  
2 votes:
This article should be renamed, "The adventures of the woman who doesn't know how to gracefully end a phone call with a pushy person."

Because, if you get down to it, the whole article is predicated on the fact that the woman in question could not tell the principal, "I appreciate your input but we've already made up our minds, have a nice day," and thus interpreted the school as being maniacal about it.
2014-03-10 02:13:27 PM  
2 votes:
My 2c...

It sounds like she didn't care much until she ran up against resistance, and then she turned a choice made mainly for convenience turned into one she stuck to because of principles.

It sounds like the school cared too much, particularly when they told this woman the testing was optional.

I am impressed with the school's dedication to the educational experience of the children. I am sure they are similarly motivated in all cases where a student may not receive the fullest educational benefit possible.

The district needs new enrollment forms. If a form gives an option to 'refuse testing' when that option doesn't exist the form isn't 'confusing' - people can understand it just fine, it's 'wrong'.
2014-03-10 02:11:22 PM  
2 votes:
I don't really get it. I think part of the protest is the outrage educators have about the growing movement to apply objective measures to their work.

I have a son who very possibly went to the high school she writes about (there are only 3 in town). He was never very motivated for these tests, but I told him that he could make use of them as practice for the ACT/SAT tests. Plus, the results are used to rate job performance of the staff at his school. He's had some outstanding teachers and the principal is awesome. I pointed out a few cases where they'd really worked specifically for him, and a few for the students in general. So he took them seriously and did his best.

The tests are not perfect measures of a school's performance and never will be. There aren't any perfect measures in my job either, but the days of having no objective criteria are gone from public schools with good reason.
2014-03-10 02:02:52 PM  
2 votes:

jst3p: I am not defending standardized testing, but I don't see how you get stressed about them


Test anxiety is  very real and putting the pressure on kids as early as 3rd grade (in Colorado - earlier in other states sometimes) can do harm. TCAP testing started today for my son and last night while a group of basketball parents were having drinks, it was the talk of the table - including earlier bedtimes to rest up and ways to reduce stress for the kids who feel they have to do well on everything they do.

My kid doesn't care at all about TCAP. He'll score just fine. He's actually happy during TCAP time because for two weeks, he is likely to not have any homework in any other class, lest the kids not get enough rest.
2014-03-10 01:47:07 PM  
2 votes:
She didn't know much about standardized testing, saw it was voluntary and opted out, she saw it as no big deal.  Then she got pressured to change her mind.  At that point, she stopped being a mom and turned on lawyer mode.  To her, changing her decision was equal to losing the argument and the principal getting his way.  This had nothing to do with standardized testing, it was all about her own personality trait of not wanting to give in.
2014-03-10 01:44:18 PM  
2 votes:
Teaching the kids to fight the power might be the most valuable lesson they ever learn.
2014-03-10 01:32:29 PM  
2 votes:
I never understood the hate for standardized tests.  Professional tests, certification tests, etc. are standardized.  Either you know it or you don't.  That is assuming the test itself isn't wrong, flawed, subjective, etc.
2014-03-10 01:26:11 PM  
2 votes:

doyner: Benevolent Misanthrope: 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.

1/10.  RTFA, asshole.

BM, I usually really like your posts, but hold on a second.

FTFA: "Deciding to opt my two daughters out of Colorado standardized testing seemed like a no-brainer. We aren't permanent Colorado residents-we're just here for one academic year1while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students. My husband and I see no educational benefit2to the tests. My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back3when taking Pennsylvania's standardized tests."

1: So what?  Are they in the Colorado system or not?
2: They go on to admit that they did no research beforehand and were using their gut decider-style.
3: Boo farking hoo.  Life is hard.  Overcoming anxiety is a life skill.

Her decision was whimsical at best, and has potential reprocussions for others.  Yes, standardized tests have gone way too far, butshe comes nowhere close to adequately articulating a reasonable argument for this action.  To the contrary, she explains why it's probably not such a great idea.


Do parents have the right to opt their kids out or not? For now, yes. They shouldn't need a reason. I personally, after reading a lot of the literature, think that standardized testing merely perpetuates a broken system of education. If I had kids, I would probably keep them out of public schools and opt them out of standardized tests.

To my mind, though, the story is more about the attempt at a zero-tolerance policy toward non-conformity, not the test itself.
2014-03-10 01:24:08 PM  
2 votes:
The author kind of rubs me the wrong way on this, but I'm not a fan of how far standarized testing has grown into being the nearly sole metric of value when it comes to educating our kids so maybe I'm relunctantly on her side?
2014-03-10 01:24:03 PM  
2 votes:
A child is being left behind!!
2014-03-10 01:20:19 PM  
2 votes:
I got this EXACT same run around when trying to opt my child out of ISAT (illinois equivalent). The ISAT is being phased out, and is in it's final year. My son is in 5th grade and would do 5th grade testing, but he's been doing 7th and 8th grade course work all year with great success. Why the hell would I want to test him at the 5th grade level?

His school threatened everything they could. Unexcused absences, not letting him even roll next year, holding him from extra curriculars. I had to have my lawyer call the school board to stop the harassment.
2014-03-10 01:20:06 PM  
2 votes:

swaniefrmreddeer: Benevolent Misanthrope: 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.

1/10.  RTFA, asshole.

I did, and it seemed to be far more about mommy than her kids. I have a kid with anxiety issues, sheltering him would only make the situation worse. Life is hard, the sooner kids learn that lesson the better.


And yet, actually reading and understanding the article continues to go right over your head. Amazing.

Let me guess: your livelihood depends on standardized testing. If so, kill yourself.
2014-03-10 01:14:23 PM  
2 votes:
Not sure I agree that skipping tests will help the daughter's test taking anxiety, but whatever.

Outragey Slate article is outraged.  Shocker.
2014-03-10 01:13:55 PM  
2 votes:

Benevolent Misanthrope: 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.

1/10.  RTFA, asshole.


I did, and it seemed to be far more about mommy than her kids. I have a kid with anxiety issues, sheltering him would only make the situation worse. Life is hard, the sooner kids learn that lesson the better.
2014-03-10 12:48:51 PM  
2 votes:
"Voluntary" has been a synonym with "mandated" for a long time in China

I really don't think we should be using the Chinese as our guides for political advancement.

//Not serious post
2014-03-10 10:05:33 PM  
1 votes:

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 07:11:54 PM  
1 votes:

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 06:35:15 PM  
1 votes:

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 05:50:25 PM  
1 votes:

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 04:46:10 PM  
1 votes:

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 04:32:39 PM  
1 votes:

mikemil828: So according to the Fark consensus:

1. Standardized tests are useless.
2. Kids should go through them anyway because they are also useful.

Well, which is it Fark?


Standardized tests are getting out of hand but this woman is not the right person to make the argument because she applies the academic rigor of toddler playing with its own feces.
2014-03-10 04:21:11 PM  
1 votes:

Alphakronik: I wonder who mommy will try to sue when her precious snowflakes find out that the "opting out" is on their permanent school records and follows them to college, limiting their options?


Have you even been to college? As long as you can find money and aren't a total screwup they'll take you.
2014-03-10 04:07:45 PM  
1 votes:
TFA: we currently live in Boulder, one of the most liberal, individualistic towns in America

Your assumption that those two naturally go together was your first mistake.

scotchlandia:
Government says "this is optional."
Some citizen says "okay, then no."
Government: "WTF? I told you this is optional, now comply."
Citizen "No thanks, not my thing."
Government "Okay, we were kidding about the optional part. Your children are 'truant, they will have consequences.'"
Citizen "Wait just a damn minute."
People on Fark: "Snarky 'snowflake' comments, why doesn't this legal professor just shut up and do what she is told? It's not like her children are really her children. What is she trying to prove by questioning that optional program that farks you over when you opt out? Everybody should just be the same and never question authority!"


and img.fark.net
2014-03-10 04:04:25 PM  
1 votes:

So, the moral of the story is "she's an idiot."

No, seriously. She opted her kid out of the testing before she bothered to research the possible results of her actions? She "stood on her principles", only to discover that not only does her "principled", short-sighted decision have little impact on what she wanted to accomplish, she also succeeded in screwing not just her two kids, but potentially all the other kids as well, and then had the gall to be surprised by this "revelation."

And she's a lawyer? Sheesh. Here's a thought - research first, and then act. Don't make huge, short-sighted assumptions based on incomplete information, only to be surprised by the consequences of your actions later.
2014-03-10 04:00:44 PM  
1 votes:

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."
2014-03-10 03:59:01 PM  
1 votes:

letrole: Good teachers like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.

Bad teachers don't like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.


Even though this is a trolly post to get responses, I am going to bite with an honest question. In most schools, students are divided pretty randomly into classes so the whole spectrum (below proficient, approaching proficient, proficient and advanced) would expect to be represented in a classroom and the results of the tests might (erroneously) lead to the conclusion that the teacher was somehow responsible.

In some schools, children are grouped in a method called "cluster grouping" which puts all the identified gifted students into one classroom rather then spreading them out among all four/five classes in a given grade. The students are then assigned to a teacher with specialized training in gifted education. In this schoolwide method, the teacher with the gifted cluster group is going to have a higher percentage of students testing advanced on the state mandated standardized tests. Most likely the children in that class would score proficient or advanced without any teacher intervention, so in a school method like that, you really would not be able to tie test scores to any sort of teacher evaluation.
2014-03-10 03:33:50 PM  
1 votes:

brap: I really kind of missed what the point of this whole exercise was. It's also sad that public educators have to grovel to people that are benefiting from an education and refusing to participate in something that, fairly or not, really does affect school funding.


Really? This has to be explained?
Government says "this is optional."
Some citizen says "okay, then no."
Government: "WTF? I told you this is optional, now comply."
Citizen "No thanks, not my thing."
Government "Okay, we were kidding about the optional part. Your children are 'truant, they will have consequences.'"
Citizen "Wait just a damn minute."
People on Fark: "Snarky 'snowflake' comments, why doesn't this legal professor just shut up and do what she is told? It's not like her children are really her children. What is she trying to prove by questioning that optional program that farks you over when you opt out? Everybody should just be the same and never question authority!"

/Yeah, cranky Monday for me too. Whatevs
2014-03-10 03:30:56 PM  
1 votes:

namegoeshere: So she opted he kids out for no reason other than she felt like it, and what happened was... nothing? A couple of phone calls and emails? Some AWing on Mom's part?

Jeeze, Overreactionmitter, from the headline I was expecting CPS involvement or an educational neglect charge at least.


Happened in Colorado. Massachusetts would have seperate the family.
2014-03-10 03:29:54 PM  
1 votes:

OccamsWhiskers: I don't really get it. I think part of the protest is the outrage educators have about the growing movement to apply objective measures to their work.

I have a son who very possibly went to the high school she writes about (there are only 3 in town). He was never very motivated for these tests, but I told him that he could make use of them as practice for the ACT/SAT tests. Plus, the results are used to rate job performance of the staff at his school. He's had some outstanding teachers and the principal is awesome. I pointed out a few cases where they'd really worked specifically for him, and a few for the students in general. So he took them seriously and did his best.

The tests are not perfect measures of a school's performance and never will be. There aren't any perfect measures in my job either, but the days of having no objective criteria are gone from public schools with good reason.


Do you have objective criteria for your job that is mandated by legislature, then created by a separate for-profit company with no oversight from your own company (and that also makes substantial campaign contributions to the legislators who mandated it in the first place)? Then, are decisions about whether to fire you or give you a raise made at the CEO level for you in particular?

Or do you have a boss and HR that makes those decisions, based on day-to-day interactions with you personally and internal reviews, with the occasional blanket lay-off handed down from corporate whenever the budget gets trimmed because the share price drops?

The second option is how it used to be for teachers, the first option is what it has become.

Most people (teachers included) have no problem with objective evaluations, but the way we are trying to implement them is insane.
2014-03-10 03:27:27 PM  
1 votes:

TNel: teenytinycornteeth: Don't forget teaching the test my friend! Here are the ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES to use in the classroom when preparing for standardized testing. Practice Tests, Reading about the test, learning how to pick the best multiple choice answer. You really think it's just an hour and half? And all of this test prep is not learning about the material ON the test, but how to manage the format and the questions.

So tack on a day if you want per test it's still 2% of the time in school.

I think that the people that don't want the tests are afraid that their kid won't do as well as they think they should.


In 4th grade my daughter had the highest English CSAP score in the school. It was kind if funny, we were moving the following year and her school called hoping that it was a mistake.

I don't dislike them because I am afraid my kids wont do well, they both excel in school.

I dislike them because of the environment they create. You clearly don't understand the impact "teaching to the test" has. It changes the entire dynamic of the entire school year. I don't get too worked up about it because we provide a home environment that is stimulating and we focus on what we believe their school is short on. But I do think it is a toxic system and if you think that it only changes 2% of their time in school I think you underestimate the overall impact it has.
2014-03-10 03:25:38 PM  
1 votes:

teenytinycornteeth: TNel: teenytinycornteeth: You should have worked harder on reading comprehension. I'll say it again. KIDS TAKE INDIVIDUAL TESTS IN THEIR CLASSROOMS AS WELL AS BEING GRADED ON WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS. This is how we know how they are doing. Or do you now ONLY believe in standardized results? I should also mention that I am not against ALL standardized testing. Like I said, as long as colleges require SAT or PSAT scores, they'll have to exist, but when a seven year old is subjected to computerized standardized tests more than three or four times a year, it takes away from other valuable things she could be learning and it does nothing to benefit the student.

I look at the tests as Finals.  You get a printout grade of what they know up to that point along with the weekly tests they normally take.  I don't see any issue.  State testing starts at 3rd grade here, which would make the students atleast 9.  So the hour and half long test 4 times a year so 6 hours of testing out of 1000 hours of being in school is too much?

Don't forget teaching the test my friend! Here are the ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES to use in the classroom when preparing for standardized testing.  Practice Tests, Reading about the test, learning how to pick the best multiple choice answer.  You really think it's just an hour and half?  And all of this test prep is not learning about the material ON the test, but how to manage the format and the questions.



Testing in Kindgergarten - Chicago Reader

Another good read with the following interesting facts:

"When all is said and done, kindergarteners will have spent up to 60 days of class time-or a third of the school year-taking various standardized tests"

"This year CPS has added a new test to the array already faced by grammar school students: the REACH. It comes on top of the TRC, the MAP, the EXPLORE, the ISAT, and DIBELS. Two of these are teacher accountability tests. Two are diagnostic. And the others are a combination of both. One way or another, they all cover the same ground. It's good to be a standardized-test salesman."

How much knowledge do we really need to test kindergarteners on that it requires up to ten tests a year and a third of their school time?
2014-03-10 03:23:50 PM  
1 votes:
Look, standardized testing sucks. Not just because it's a test, but because if you were ever allowed to peek behind the curtain at the questions themselves, you would be standing there like students staring blankly at a bubble sheet, scratching your head.

I was lucky enough through an acquaintance of mine to look at one of these standardized tests. They're ridiculous.

The wording of the questions is generally so atrocious, even on the factual questions, that you wonder if half of the difficulty of the question is the language obscuring what the question is actually asking. A lot of times, the wording of the question relies on a presupposed curriculum that is completely ignorant of what the technical correctness of the question and answer.

I should say that teachers are largely forbidden to ever share this information, and besides the integrity question, I half wonder if that is because people would be outraged of the crap that masquerades as legitimate tests of student knowledge.

If I had the opportunity, and children, I'd probably opt them out too. Outside of HR, written drivers tests, primary school, and secondary school, real life rarely tests you in the same manner standardized tests.

Seriously, if you had to go back and take one of these wastes of paper and money, how many of you could say you've retained enough through your school career to be able to excel?
2014-03-10 03:18:04 PM  
1 votes:

TNel: teenytinycornteeth: You should have worked harder on reading comprehension. I'll say it again. KIDS TAKE INDIVIDUAL TESTS IN THEIR CLASSROOMS AS WELL AS BEING GRADED ON WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS. This is how we know how they are doing. Or do you now ONLY believe in standardized results? I should also mention that I am not against ALL standardized testing. Like I said, as long as colleges require SAT or PSAT scores, they'll have to exist, but when a seven year old is subjected to computerized standardized tests more than three or four times a year, it takes away from other valuable things she could be learning and it does nothing to benefit the student.

I look at the tests as Finals.  You get a printout grade of what they know up to that point along with the weekly tests they normally take.  I don't see any issue.  State testing starts at 3rd grade here, which would make the students atleast 9.  So the hour and half long test 4 times a year so 6 hours of testing out of 1000 hours of being in school is too much?


Don't forget teaching the test my friend! Here are the ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES to use in the classroom when preparing for standardized testing.  Practice Tests, Reading about the test, learning how to pick the best multiple choice answer.  You really think it's just an hour and half?  And all of this test prep is not learning about the material ON the test, but how to manage the format and the questions.
2014-03-10 03:17:37 PM  
1 votes:

letrole: Good teachers like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.

Bad teachers don't like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.


You almost got me to bite. Impressive effort, you are going to get some responses from some pissed off teachers.
2014-03-10 03:15:22 PM  
1 votes:
Good teachers like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.

Bad teachers don't like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.
2014-03-10 03:11:42 PM  
1 votes:

JohnHall: Personally, I'm not clear why it such of big deal that the daughter not take the test,


My opinion:

It wasn't that big of a deal but once the administration pushed back a little super mom lawyer decided that compromise was weak and didn't want to back down.
2014-03-10 03:07:25 PM  
1 votes:
In 10th grade, the first half of the year, English class gave me the most classwork and study and homework... then the state said no standardized testing this year for that class for some reason... second half of the year was the easiest class I've *ever* had... teacher just stopped teaching us at that point and basically every day we wrote in "journals" that she never even collected or read.  All she cared about was teaching us the test, and with no test, she didn't even teach us at all...
2014-03-10 03:06:56 PM  
1 votes:

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.


True, at least in Florida about a decade ago. I was enrolled in the IB program, which has its own end-of-year tests to determine if you had enough knowledge to receive an IB diploma. In the middle of studying for and taking the IB tests, the school wanted us to also take the AP tests with the reasoning of 'just in case you don't receive your IB diploma, you'll still receive some college credit (from the AP test scores) for your efforts'. I had no interest in taking two different sets of tests that tested knowledge in different ways (thus requiring different studying methods) and opted out. For weeks, I was harassed by the administration and several teachers because of my decision. It finally came out that the school received money for each AP test taken, regardless of whether the student passed it or not, and that the AP test scores factored into a teacher's annual evaluation.

/Earned my IB diploma, TYVM.
2014-03-10 03:00:20 PM  
1 votes:

jfbnr24: jst3p: I am not defending standardized testing, but I don't see how you get stressed about them

Test anxiety is  very real


I know,  I just don't know how anyone gets anxious after being told that it wont affect their grade.
2014-03-10 02:58:08 PM  
1 votes:
When I was in school the standardized tests had no effect on your grade. We just guessed and sped through it as fast as possible to get a longer lunch break. I doubt I ever got better than 25% on those tests.  Instead of opting out, just encourage your litter to spoil their tests and mess up the statistics.
2014-03-10 02:56:54 PM  
1 votes:

teenytinycornteeth: 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.

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 ...

Did you ever go to school? Take a standardized test? Did it really summarize everything you learned in a year?  how did it do on judging your creative development?  Your intuitive skills?  How about approaching problems from different angles?  How many questions did it have about debate or critical thinking? Art? Music? Literature?  Kids take individual tests in their classrooms, that's how we know what they're learning.  SAT, PSAT? Go ahead..I'm all for it.  Four or more standardized tests a year with nothing but multiple choice answers? No thanks.



Tying funding to standardized tests also creates a toxic environment that encourages behavior like this:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/memo-could-revive-alle ga tions-of-cheating-in-dc-public-schools/2013/04/12/9ddb2bb6-a35e-11e2-9 c03-6952ff305f35_story.html

Teachers in 18 District classrooms cheated on high-stakes standardized tests last year,
2014-03-10 02:53:24 PM  
1 votes:

kvinesknows: PanicMan: 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?

As an Army brat, I never went to the same school two years in a row until 11th grade (10th and 11th in same building).  I actually freaked out a bit, I had spent my whole life being the new kid, I had no skills of how to handle familiarity.

So I guess the answer is, lots of kids go through this.

and if your dad(mom?) had a choice.. would they have uprooted the family every couple years?

my guess is no.,


I was a Navy brat--moved every 3 years myself.  The fact that we were transient had no bearing on whether or not I took a damned test.  The "we're only here for a year" argument is the weakest of her reasons.

So what if they move a lot?  It's completely irrelevant.
2014-03-10 02:52:45 PM  
1 votes:
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.

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 ...


Did you ever go to school? Take a standardized test? Did it really summarize everything you learned in a year?  how did it do on judging your creative development?  Your intuitive skills?  How about approaching problems from different angles?  How many questions did it have about debate or critical thinking? Art? Music? Literature?  Kids take individual tests in their classrooms, that's how we know what they're learning.  SAT, PSAT? Go ahead..I'm all for it.  Four or more standardized tests a year with nothing but multiple choice answers? No thanks.

I guess it really comes down to what you want your kid learning in school.  If you want  your kid to learn exclusively how to follow directions and go with the mainstream, to know how multiple choice works and to master nothing but factual, rote answers like science and math provide, all this stuff is like manna from heaven. If you want a kid to be more well rounded, to be able to think about things from both sides, to solve problems creatively, to value social and psychological development as well as hard and fast data and don't forget those "stupid, useless" topics like art, music, literature, drama...then maybe not so much.
2014-03-10 02:43:37 PM  
1 votes:

Albinoman: 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?

I went to 10 different schools from K-12. You definitely learn to make friends more quickly and you get to see a lot more variety of people and classes. It's not really that bad.


I never went to the same school two years in a row until High School. I disagree, it sucked.
2014-03-10 02:42:27 PM  
1 votes:

doyner: Benevolent Misanthrope: 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.

1/10.  RTFA, asshole.

BM, I usually really like your posts, but hold on a second.

FTFA: "Deciding to opt my two daughters out of Colorado standardized testing seemed like a no-brainer. We aren't permanent Colorado residents-we're just here for one academic year1while I'm a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students. My husband and I see no educational benefit2to the tests. My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back3when taking Pennsylvania's standardized tests."

1: So what?  Are they in the Colorado system or not?
2: They go on to admit that they did no research beforehand and were using their gut decider-style.
3: Boo farking hoo.  Life is hard.  Overcoming anxiety is a life skill.

Her decision was whimsical at best, and has potential reprocussions for others.  Yes, standardized tests have gone way too far, butshe comes nowhere close to adequately articulating a reasonable argument for this action.  To the contrary, she explains why it's probably not such a great idea.


Actually, absence of the stimulus can help reduce fear\anxiety if it's done calmly. Confronting it  isn't always the best solution. So unless you can provide some other reason the children (both children, not just one) should take the test--because it's a big waste of time and, as the mom points out, measures something she already knows--there isn't a valid reason for this test to be taken.
2014-03-10 02:41:04 PM  
1 votes:

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?


I went to 10 different schools from K-12. You definitely learn to make friends more quickly and you get to see a lot more variety of people and classes. It's not really that bad.
2014-03-10 02:31:10 PM  
1 votes:
Don't you love it when people in school are like, "I'm a bad test taker"? You mean, you're stupid. Oh, you struggle with that part where we find out what you know? Oh. No, no, I can totally relate. See, because I'm a brilliant painter, minus my God-awful brushstrokes. Oh, how the masterpiece is crystal up here[points to head], but once paint hits canvas, I develop Parkinson's. I apologize if there's a Parkinson's painter in the audience. I assume you do your best work in the morning. Probably gets abstract by noon.

/Daniel Tosh
2014-03-10 02:20:50 PM  
1 votes:

Okieboy: I was expecting a thrilling finish to this exciting read....nothing.


/who the hell cares


FTFA:

The last phone call I received was from the Dean of Students at Harvard University. The middle school's vice-principal's daughter had once dated the nephew of the cousin of the daughter of the Dean, and so the vp had contacted the Dean for assistance.

The Dean was very clear in her insistence that my daughter take the test, and her reasoning grew more antagonistic. My daughter would end up a meth addict, she said. Pregnant at 15, destined to live under the George Washington Bridge and selling her body to keep her fix on. She'd have piercings in her face done by a transient with a dirty syringe, and they'd become infected and start weeping vile-smelling pus into her filthy dreadlocks. She'd get ingrown toenails and lick ketchup out of the discarded packets on the ground by the Sabretts carts. Her vocabulary would disintegrate into street slang consisting of, "A'ight?" and "Y'knowwhatI'msayin'" and "Ya hear me, dog?"

And that became too much for me to bear. I'm a strong, educated woman with great posture and a killer smile. I eat school administrators for lunch and laugh at their threats against my family. But the thought of my daughter uttering the word "A'ight" when asked if she wanted another crumpet with her tea was too much to bear. I went home that very day, pried the phone out of my girl's perfectly polished nails, and marched her right back to school...but not before getting a copy of the test into her hot little hands. There's no way I'm going to let my girl be a FAILURE.
2014-03-10 02:20:01 PM  
1 votes:

iheartscotch: triplenickel03: 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?

The same kind that bouces their kid in and out of school about 7 times a year-alternating between home schooling and traditional schooling while they gallivant around the country on archaeological digs. I witnessed it.  But then again it was Texas, where anything goes.  Christ all mighty, either take them out and home school or leave them in. Not frigging both when you don't feel like home schooling this week.

Was your dog's name Indian?


Dammmmmmm auto-correct!

Was your dog's name Indiana!
2014-03-10 02:19:15 PM  
1 votes:

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?


As an Army brat, I never went to the same school two years in a row until 11th grade (10th and 11th in same building).  I actually freaked out a bit, I had spent my whole life being the new kid, I had no skills of how to handle familiarity.

So I guess the answer is, lots of kids go through this.
2014-03-10 02:18:03 PM  
1 votes:

what_now: No Child Left Behind may be Bush's WORST domestic failure.


The very definition of irony: It was written by Ted Kennedy.
2014-03-10 02:08:25 PM  
1 votes:

jst3p: CokeBear: Teaching the kids to fight the power might be the most valuable lesson they ever learn.

I agree. I try to teach my kids to challenge everything, a little.

CSB

My daughter was 8 and the following conversation happened:

"What did you do in school today?"
"We learned about probability."
"Great! So if I flipped a coin, what is the probability that it will land on heads?"
"50% chance or one in two."
"OK, let's say I flipped the coin 100 times and it came up heads each time. What is the probability that it will come up heads the next time?"
"Pretty good."
"Oh? Why?"
"I know you Daddy, if you flipped a coin 100 times and it came up heads every time it has heads on both sides."


I hope my daughter reads me that well
2014-03-10 02:05:19 PM  
1 votes:

doyner: Benevolent Misanthrope: Do parents have the right to opt their kids out or not? For now, yes. They shouldn't need a reason. I personally, after reading a lot of the literature, think that standardized testing merely perpetuates a broken system of education. If I had kids, I would probably keep them out of public schools and opt them out of standardized tests.

To my mind, though, the story is more about the attempt at a zero-tolerance policy toward non-conformity, not the test itself.

I'm not disagreeing with you.  I just thought the name calling towards swanie was a bit much in defense of a pretty weak argument by the author.


Understood.

I apologize, swaniefrmreddeer.  Dick move on my part.
2014-03-10 02:04:33 PM  
1 votes:

Darth Macho: Go ahead, take your child out of the system. The world of tomorrow can always use another barista.


Given that quite a few people that have helped our society make leaps in technology or science dropped out of something, I find your statement amusing.

When school becomes just 'doing time' to get your degree and you do not leave to pursue your dreams you will just die a little everyday.
2014-03-10 02:01:13 PM  
1 votes:
I can't imagine why there wa$ $uch a fury.

She's lucky she didn't get a Family and Children's Services referral.
2014-03-10 01:54:10 PM  
1 votes:

dwrash: Get in line good citizen and STFU!  It's the new mantra of the left.those in power.


FTFY
2014-03-10 01:52:50 PM  
1 votes:
What gets me from all this was the principal running after them as they were about to drive away. Even cult members and sales pitches from MLMs aren't that insistant.
2014-03-10 01:52:15 PM  
1 votes:
Things No Child Left Behind did right:
Special Education Students that are behind the curve get the personalized instruction that they need, and forces the regular teachers to actually help ensure that they are learning.
The Special needs students also get to be included in the regular class room more frequently, and are shown by example normal social interactions every day.

Things No Child Left Behind did incorrectly:
Everything else, including creating behavioral disorders as a special needs category.

I like taking tests(especially standardized ones), but I don't like how they're being made mandatory. If you're a parent, you should be able to have a say in what your kid has to do, within reason.
2014-03-10 01:40:42 PM  
1 votes:
I can sum up the school's side of that entire episode with one quote from the article:

"Joyce Zurkowski, the executive director of assessment, explained to me that, in Colorado, as long as a school has 95 percent participation, a kid's opting out has no effect at all on school funding."

If people wonder what was going through the minds of the school's administration... that was it. Funding.
2014-03-10 01:39:38 PM  
1 votes:

KyngNothing: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/201 3 /07/living_with_anxiety_and_panic_attacks_academia_needs_to_accommodat e_mental.html

The author's other slate article...


Well shiat. I don't need to read the article to know where that is going. My dad was a college professor. It got worse in the 90s when lots of kids would tell him "i don't test well." His response was "well, there are a lot of tests in college and life, so I guess you need to cope somehow."
2014-03-10 01:39:36 PM  
1 votes:

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.


Shame on her for earning money to pay for food, chothing, and shelter for her children.
What a monster. As is everyone else who has ever moved for a job, and disrupted the lives of their delicate little hothouse flowers.
2014-03-10 01:36:36 PM  
1 votes:
4.bp.blogspot.com
2014-03-10 01:35:43 PM  
1 votes:
Smeggy Smurf: I never understood the hate for standardized tests.  Professional tests, certification tests, etc. are standardized.  Either you know it or you don't.  That is assuming the test itself isn't wrong, flawed, subjective, etc.

Not surprised given your posting history. My beef with them has been mostly covered already and you either didn't read them or just don't get them.

You may not agree with them, but criticisms of standardized tests are easy to find:

http://fairtest.org/whats-Wrong-standardized-tests
2014-03-10 01:34:31 PM  
1 votes:

doyner: 2: They go on to admit that they did no research beforehand and were using their gut decider-style.



There is no educational benefit to the student with these sorts of tests. It's merely a metric to evaluate how well the school meets a certain criteria.
2014-03-10 01:32:36 PM  
1 votes:

what_now: swaniefrmreddeer: Benevolent Misanthrope: 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.

1/10.  RTFA, asshole.

I did, and it seemed to be far more about mommy than her kids. I have a kid with anxiety issues, sheltering him would only make the situation worse. Life is hard, the sooner kids learn that lesson the better.

You're Canadian. You have no idea how useless these tests are. They are created to test the teachers and the school, and show nothing whatsoever about the student.

However, because they are so important, schools only teach what might be on the test. Critical thinking? There's not a bubble for that, so let's not bother.

Art, music, philosophy? Nope. That's not on the test.

And when the school does badly on the test, they have to spend a ton of money on outside "educational consultants", which takes MORE money away from the school.

No Child Left Behind may be Bush's WORST domestic failure.


Have to agree. Last night my GF was preparing bags of fruit snacks for her sons class today because they have a rotation of moms to provide TCAP snacks this week. Why isn't their comfort as important when they are actually learning shiat?
2014-03-10 01:31:35 PM  
1 votes:

bighairyguy: Her response should have been, "well, she has these testing anxienty attacks and marks about one third of the answers as "E", and skips all the other questions.  Would like to take a minor hit on the participation percentage or a big hit on the score average?"


When my son was doing the standardized testing, I told him it was all a joke as the school spent hours and hours teaching the test.

How to handle it?  "Hell kid, have fun.  Mark up the test all you want to fark with the results.  The only one who benefits from it is the school, not you."
2014-03-10 01:31:14 PM  
1 votes:

Benevolent Misanthrope: Do parents have the right to opt their kids out or not? For now, yes. They shouldn't need a reason. I personally, after reading a lot of the literature, think that standardized testing merely perpetuates a broken system of education. If I had kids, I would probably keep them out of public schools and opt them out of standardized tests.

To my mind, though, the story is more about the attempt at a zero-tolerance policy toward non-conformity, not the test itself.


I'm not disagreeing with you.  I just thought the name calling towards swanie was a bit much in defense of a pretty weak argument by the author.
2014-03-10 01:27:49 PM  
1 votes:
The author is an attention whore
2014-03-10 01:27:24 PM  
1 votes:

The My Little Pony Killer: wxboy: The My Little Pony Killer: More parents need to stand up and start doing this. Standardized testing is bullshiat. The kids know it, the teachers know it, and it disrupts actual learning they could be doing.

Perhaps, but as the article notes, protesting the system by opting out (unless you can get pretty much everyone to do it) only serves to hurt the school financially.

The big problem is in tying school funding with standardized testing, both participation and achievement.  Opting out won't correct this.

Going along with it out of fear of the schools not receiving funding doesn't help it either. It only holds people hostage to a broken system.


There are other ways to do it.  If you can get ALL the parents at a school to opt out, then you send a message that will be heard.  Coordinate that with a media campaign and contacting legislators, and you might accomplish something.  A few parents pulling their kids out quietly doesn't do squat.
2014-03-10 01:27:19 PM  
1 votes:
And who gets text anxiety about a test that doesn't affect your grade?

I am not defending standardized testing, but I don't see how you get stressed about them.
2014-03-10 01:27:12 PM  
1 votes:

Tax Boy: If only there were some way to overcome anxiety by practicing that thing you were anxious about....

Perhaps with test anxiety, taking practice tests might help? Like for example, taking a stupid meaningless standardized test as practice for tests that actually matter?

Mollycoddled kid is mollycoddled.


It's almost as though people are choosing to ignore the fact that the standardized tests aren't the only way kids are being tested in schools...
2014-03-10 01:24:32 PM  
1 votes:
Her response should have been, "well, she has these testing anxienty attacks and marks about one third of the answers as "E", and skips all the other questions.  Would like to take a minor hit on the participation percentage or a big hit on the score average?"
2014-03-10 01:23:19 PM  
1 votes:

wxboy: The My Little Pony Killer: More parents need to stand up and start doing this. Standardized testing is bullshiat. The kids know it, the teachers know it, and it disrupts actual learning they could be doing.

Perhaps, but as the article notes, protesting the system by opting out (unless you can get pretty much everyone to do it) only serves to hurt the school financially.

The big problem is in tying school funding with standardized testing, both participation and achievement.  Opting out won't correct this.


Going along with it out of fear of the schools not receiving funding doesn't help it either. It only holds people hostage to a broken system.
2014-03-10 01:22:09 PM  
1 votes:

The My Little Pony Killer: More parents need to stand up and start doing this. Standardized testing is bullshiat. The kids know it, the teachers know it, and it disrupts actual learning they could be doing.


Perhaps, but as the article notes, protesting the system by opting out (unless you can get pretty much everyone to do it) only serves to hurt the school financially.

The big problem is in tying school funding with standardized testing, both participation and achievement.  Opting out won't correct this.
2014-03-10 01:21:49 PM  
1 votes:
FTA:

My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back when taking Pennsylvania's standardized tests.

When I answered that I very much appreciated her call but was going to stick by my decision, she offered several reasons why my daughter should take the test.
 First, taking TCAP (, the relatively new set of state standardized tests) would help my daughter on the ACT. Huh. Given that she's only in seventh grade, I wasn't buying that one.

It is pretty well documented that taking tests makes you better at... tests.  And yes, starting earlier will help.  So, while the author pats herself on the back for biting her thumb at the testing industry, her daughter will suffer for it.  Especially for someone who may have previously experienced anxiety.  My money is that pressure came from Mom & Dad to begin with.
2014-03-10 01:19:45 PM  
1 votes:
FTA: while my husband and I definitely thought through our decision to opt our kids out, we consulted our guts, not research.

Imagine that: go into something half-cocked and then be bewildered when things go pear shaped.
2014-03-10 01:19:36 PM  
1 votes:
If the test is truly irrelevant enough to skip why not treat it as practice for dealing with test anxiety? Or use it to teach your kid that sometimes in life you have to jump through bullshiat hoops just because?
2014-03-10 01:19:24 PM  
1 votes:

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.


Pretty much. Her reasons for not having the children take take the test are stupid. Who cares if they are only in the schooldistrict for a year? So what if your child has anxiety? Just have them study and participate. If the children truly are such strong students it shouldn't matter if the test is standardised or not.
2014-03-10 01:18:26 PM  
1 votes:
So the outrageous actions the school took were... asking her nicely, lots of times?

 - Opting out of testing does not seem like a way to reduce test-taking anxiety. And yes, if that is your reason, taking more tests IS likely to help on future standardized tests (like the ACT, as someone from the school mentioned).
 - Opting out of test day does nothing to address most, valid concerns about standardized testing as overarching control of modern schooling. They're still in the same classes, with the same teacher, going over the same material. This seems... pointless?
2014-03-10 12:56:04 PM  
1 votes:
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.
 
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