APS parent: Too much class time lost to testing

An Atlanta parent shared this letter he sent to Atlanta school chief Erroll B. Davis and Deputy Superintendent Karen Waldon expressing concerns over the system’s new Common Assessments, tests designed to gauge mastery of recently taught materials.

First and second graders take nine tests a year;  third and fourth graders take 24; fifth graders take 27; sixth graders take 29; seventh graders take 30; eighth graders take 34.

The parent wanted to know what other folks felt about these tests, which he feels divert precious time from instruction.

“Personally, I’m concerned about the volume of tests being put upon our teachers and kids. Maybe I’m wrong,  so I’d love your take as well as the opinions of your readers on how they will improve performance by our students and within APS overall,” he said.

Here is the parent’s letter:

Dear APS Superintendent Davis and Deputy Superintendent Waldon,

My son is 10 years old and likes school. He’s a good student – not terrific – but makes As and Bs in all his classes. He loves to read, enjoys school, and pays attention in class. Every Monday, he stays behind, while 18 of his 5th grade classmates go off to Challenge Program for the day.

On Mondays, because his school has a pull-out Challenge Program for gifted students, my son remains in class with 6 others to review material they’ve covered in prior weeks. There’s a good bit of reading (which he loves) and math that they discuss. No new learning is going on for him on Mondays.

Some ask me, and I’m sure you’ve wondered, “Why are you so concerned about these new APS Common Assessments?” It’s because they’re taking even more time away from my kid’s education.

If he takes 20 of these 25 question Scantron tests (10 hours), he loses about two full days of teaching. My son gets four full days of instruction each week (80 percent of a public education). Now, APS has decided to take even more instructional time away from my son with useless assessments?

Already, the scope of these tests has diminished. The “need” for the writing prompt part on the test has been minimized. The 48-hour turn-around of results is non-existent to improve student performance. These tests were pushed for by all four SRT directors and approximately 50 principals, most of whom are no longer in place. Deputy Superintendent Waldon has mentioned this was not her initiative but that she has to assess all programs. My hope is that she will decide if there is a need for testing, it might be done quarterly, and in a manner that is well supported by parents, teachers, and administrators system-wide.

Dr. Hart’s educated opinion of these assessments is that any data is good data. My opinion is that data that serves a goal should be considered the best use of time, money, and energy. Our students and teachers deserve this level of respect and attention. They do not need another useless initiative that gets in the way of improved teaching. This is why I so vehemently oppose their further implementation. What scares me most is that if these “diminished assessments” are allowed to continue this year, that it will be considered approval from the community for reapplying them next year and the next. That would be a huge waste of taxpayer money, employee time, and student energy. In the end, it’s about what moves the students forward in their education, isn’t it?

My job as a parent is to ensure my children are educated. Public schools are an arrow in my quiver of weapons against ignorance. They are not the only arrow, but my job is to make sure my children’s days at school are the best possible. I’ve entrusted my son and daughter to the local schools, and I believe that I should be involved to help schools succeed. These new assessments will not help any child succeed. So I will do what I can to try and rectify the situation. Writing you is one such way.

Please reconsider the Common Assessments currently in place and stop them. If some form of assessments are required, speak honestly with the community about how and why they should be implemented. Gather consensus and support from all stakeholders. Please don’t minimize the impact the four days a week have on my child’s education.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

65 comments Add your comment

polly ware

November 24th, 2011
5:13 am

Sometimes life is unfair and so too goes the labor market for those with out any degree get a degree from High Speed Universities love it

ScienceTeacher671

November 24th, 2011
6:41 am

Must be a state-wide thing. Who came up with this?

Our system has spent lots of money on special scantron machines, and on software to draw pretty charts from the test results, then we teachers had to spend lots of time to learn to use the software and to wait in line for our turn to use the scantron machine.

Then the pretty charts and graphs have to be hung on the wall, along with the examples of student work, word wall, standards, and essential question, because if they come to your room, it doesn’t matter how good the lesson is if your pretty charts aren’t up to date.

The common assessments could yield valuable information about which students need remediation in which areas, but (1) so do regular classroom tests, if you look at them, and so does regular classroom practice, if you pay attention, and (2) we hardly have time to “cover” all the standards thoroughly now, much less remediate.

teacher&mom

November 24th, 2011
7:55 am

@ScienceTeacher671: I agree!

I believe this has as much to do with money as it does with improving education. Unfortunately, asking people to consider the money behind these decisions is like hitting your head against the wall. No one wants to follow the money and no one cares enough to investigate….as long as the machinery convinces the public that standardized testing is the answer to all our education woes, more and more class time will be devoted to standardized testing. And more and more money will be diverted from the classroom to pay for testing or test prep.

The APS parent who wrote the letter has every reason to be concerned. I teach high school. By the time they reach my classroom door, they are burned out on standardized tests but at the same time frustrated with anything but a multiple choice test.

Heck even China is decreasing the amount of standardized testing in their schools.

catlady

November 24th, 2011
7:56 am

Well, due to lack of money, our system has ended the use of benchmarking in the lower grades. So now, at the beginning of the year, we have no idea what the kids know, so no way to know if we are providing the remediation they need. Of course, I doubt it was because the tests were not showing we were making much progress–that the test results seemed to depend on how motivated the kids were that day. We have saved a lot of days for instruction, but what is instruction if you are teaching kids what they already know(unlikely), or what is far beyond their current skills? I guess it doesn’t matter–we are going to plow through the GPS and “expose” them to what they will see on the CRCT. Mastery? What is that?

As one who is charged with providing the remediation, I gave a test that covered what they were supposed to learn the year before. Then I hand graded it and did an item analysis. Very labor intensive, but I am working off of that and observations their teacher and I make. We seem to be making progress for over half of the students, for a few days, at least.

I understand the cry for less testing, but I have no problem with mini-tests that give the teacher information to use to plan. The rub comes when the lessons and their pacings are imposed from above, and not tailored to the needs of the students as determined on the tests.

Doris M

November 24th, 2011
7:57 am

Another one of the education initiatives that is a waste of money, waste of teacher time and waste of time for students. Let the teachers teach!

English Teacher CT

November 24th, 2011
8:32 am

The constant imposition of standardized tests can be exhausting for everyone involved and results don’t always offer new information. I’m not sure what my math colleagues are finding, but in the Connecticut middle school where I teach English I sometimes know the results before they are published. I got a thick folder of scores from the latest Edit/Revise test including a summary which indicated students need more work on concise writing, the correct use of colons and semi-colons, and on identifying sentence fragments. Since I spend most of my weekends grading their writing, I already knew that! Maybe more time in class could change those results.

d

November 24th, 2011
8:42 am

I find it interesting that in DeKalb, we are benchmarking in courses that already have EOCTs rather than in courses that have no testing at all. Why add additional tests (without any pretests) to the courses that are already measured rather than test in the other courses (World History, Civics, and Geography in the Social Studies department, for example) so that the US History teachers and Economics teachers have some information about the students coming in to their classrooms?

James

November 24th, 2011
9:06 am

Compare these multiple, internally-developed tests to some of the quarterly work done in other districts – http://apsassessments.blogspot.com/p/other-district-tests.html. Other districts may not be doing the best work but,if you think CRCT scores mean anything, their methods deliver better results than APS.

If these tests are to help kids, everyone needs quick results. Otherwise, it’s a waste. That’s why teachers grade each night and over the weekend – to know what the kids understand.

ScienceTeacher671

November 24th, 2011
9:23 am

Catlady, if I could get the 8th grade CRCT scores in a timely manner, it would tell me most of what I need to know, truthfully. If the 8th grade reading and/or math scores are below 830, whether due to lack of ability or lack of motivation, the student will struggle in my class. If the student was committee promoted, s/he will struggle mightily.

another aps teacher

November 24th, 2011
9:26 am

Back in the old days we used to give the students a battery of short tests and assignments the first week of school in addition to reviewing their pr folders to see where they were. A history of nationally normed standardized tests (ITBS) pretty much gave the overall picture and then the classroom assessments pretty much told you what you needed to know. All this with the constant testing and the pretty graphs (we’ve been doing those for years), and the essential questions, and all of that other stuff we didn’t need back when we were coming up is all smoke and mirrors to mask that the kids don’t know a lot. We need to stop messing around and teach the basics in the lower grades, and we need to teach the basics by rote memorization. Math facts, letters of the alphabet, phonics rules and the words that don’t fit the rules, spelling tests, handwriting (yes it is necessary-if for no other reason than it helps knit connections across the brain hemispheres allowing better expression of abstract thoughts), continents, map skills, etc. And bring back the grades of D and F. Some students (and their parents) need a little fear to keep them motivated. Happy Thanksgiving.

Veteran teacher, 2

November 24th, 2011
10:25 am

So, the kids are learning that everything that is learned is about a test-multiple choice at that!

The essential question (thanks to Dr. Phil): Hows that working for ya?

APS

November 24th, 2011
10:57 am

the number of assessments has been decreased markedly since rolled out in August.

Lulu

November 24th, 2011
11:11 am

I have to wonder why this parent considers review to be a waste of time. Review is an important part of the learning process, and seemingly helpful to the student in question since he is making decent grades.

As for testing, I think it’s important, but like others have said, the information gained from testing can be pretty redundant if you’ve been paying attention to your children/students, while data that could be useful is perhaps not being collected.

redweather

November 24th, 2011
11:13 am

I’ve heard of “hack” writers, meaning they do rather routine work. But I’ve never heard of a “hack” racist. So are there gradations of racism? Are there, for example, “hack” racists and “exceptional” racists? Just wondering.

redweather

November 24th, 2011
11:16 am

Scantron test results have value, but only if teachers use the results to reinforce learning outcomes. If they are just used to gather data, they are not much help.

pdawg

November 24th, 2011
11:19 am

Why don’t they go ahead and fire the cheaters?

These teachers are still on the payroll and will stay on the payroll for a year when they clearly knew they could and would lose their jobs.

School systems are broke and facing furlough days and these teachers continue to get paid without working because they cheated and thus far have gotten away with it.

Maybe their lawyers should have to pay their salaries rather than the public.

Memo to teachers: Cheaters DO prosper!!!

jdawg

November 24th, 2011
11:45 am

I love reading all of these solutions to fix a completely unfixable mess. Public schools will continue to be a mess as long as any government entity beyond the very local level is involved. The Doctor Spock generation is now fully and completely reaping what they have sewn. I work very hard and do without alot of luxuries in order to send my children to private schools. Every time I see or hear a discussion about public schools, I realize all of the sacrifice is worth it. Good luck, your child is going to need it.

Truth in Moderation

November 24th, 2011
12:07 pm

The real shadow government is not interested in educating your children. Public school is a cash cow for the .001%. They want to produce a nice supply of low wage earning debt slaves to service their global banking empire. Until you pull up the root, your efforts to improve education are USELESS.

catlady

November 24th, 2011
12:12 pm

Very true, SciTch. By the time I work with kids, they have failed the CRCT for 4 years in a row, yet here they are. One failure should really worry folks, but failing year after year and being promoted…what kind of an idea is that? Especially since the CRCT isn’t a tough test.

atlmom

November 24th, 2011
12:43 pm

I understand the parent’s complaint about challenge. However, my son is in challenge and the only day he really loves school is when he is pulled out for challenge. There is nothing stopping the teacher from implementing some type of creative teaching for the kids that are in the classroom. Just reading with them is not the way it has to be. However, from what I understand, the teachers aren’t really given any direction as to what to do when the challenge kids are pulled out. If it is only 2 or 3 kids pulled out, does the teacher do new stuff? that would make sense, but then the challenge kids would miss that. I was pulled out for two mornings a week for two years in elementary school, and I would say I didn’t miss so much…we worked on a lot of independent projects by 3rd/4th grade. So I just had to either work faster in school or do more at home.
But that is something for a parent of the children who are in the classroom to figure out and help with.
The whole model of our public schools is wrong. Electing a school board to oversee what is happening does not work. Anywhere we have seen it implemented. Let’s say that we get a board we ‘like.’ Who’s to say that in a few years, we aren’t back to one we don’t ‘like?’ They aren’t qualified…but those are the ones who run.
As for the testing…well, it’s craziness. They stopped testing first and second grades in my sons’ school because of cost. Hopefully the passes that GA got from the feds will allow them to stop testing more. It’s not like we don’t know all the results and where the good schools are. it’s not that tough to figure out.

Tony

November 24th, 2011
1:45 pm

This is an excellent example of how a good practice gets corrupted by those who over-interpret research. Common assessmemts developed by teachers in a school can be a powerful tool for teachers. Misguided administrators at work using “business” principles for “data driven” decisions.

RAMZAD

November 24th, 2011
2:02 pm

No one has ever lost money betting on the American capacity to insist that we can get a better horse by using the right hind quarter of a camel, the left hind quarter of a cow, the neck of a giraffe, the tail of a donkey and the brain of a mule.

One wonders why other countries, with far less money, a fraction of the know how and the profound inability to spell research can educate their young people to compete with and beat at at the games we invented.

What is so tough about taking young people into our classrooms and training them to think and articulate about biology, mathematics, physics, languages, social behaviors? But noooooo…we have warped the mission into “Challenge Programs, Common Assessments, Annual Yearly Progress, “good and bad data,” and a mountain of bureaucratic gibberish, and self serving career whoring initiatives that keep our young people dumber than dirt and academic bureaucrats beating their chests all the way to the bank.

Don’t worry, be happy! Chinese are now talking better English than us. There is a Chinese sweat cubicle with each of our names wedged into the entrance partition.

extend the school year

November 24th, 2011
2:04 pm

we are competing in a global economy. kids need to be in school for 10 months a year at least. Give em June and December off.

catlady

November 24th, 2011
3:21 pm

I, too, thought the parent’s devotion of two of the paragraphs to her child not being pulled out for challenge significant. Is it the testing or the “loss” of the day on Monday?

say what?

November 24th, 2011
5:48 pm

Kids no longer need reading skills and comprehension skills if we continue with the testing trajectory. We teach kids testing strategies if they do not understand what is being asked of them. So what is the point of teaching if it all boils down to multiple choice questions, and seeking the best fit answer.
DCSS has now become the benchmark epicenter, and it still has little improvement. Benchmarks, pre-test, post-test, quizzes, chapter tests, CRCT, Renzuli, ITBS, writing exams- its enough for kids to give up on learning. Guess they are smarter than we think they are.

AJinCobb

November 24th, 2011
6:39 pm

I like the calm and reasonable tone of the parent’s letter. However, this assertion doesn’t make sense to me:

“My son gets four full days of instruction each week (80 percent of a public education).”

I believe the school would say that the writer’s son is getting 100% of a public education. The fact that new material is introduced on only four out of five days each week does not mean that the students are getting 4/5 of an education. If the writer’s son was in a class that included not a single challenge student, or if the challenge program were to be canceled, does the writer think that in either of these circumstances, an additional one day per week of new material would be added to the curriculum?

This point aside, I do think the writer and other parents are right to be concerned about the amount of instructional time lost to assessments.

Today's students...

November 24th, 2011
6:40 pm

…are over-tested. Ask any Clayco teacher what goes on ALL day Friday. Test after test after test. Use every spare minute to remediate for those tests. Prepare your test, and then teach to it all week long. Madness. I’m surprised there aren’t more student and teacher burn outs than what I’ve observed.

Teach To Reach

November 24th, 2011
8:00 pm

These test are useless. They are not indicative of achievement, just memory. A perfect example of “Banking Education at it’s worst. I”m sure Alfie Kohn would agree.

Dr. West

November 24th, 2011
8:11 pm

Test only on what is worth knowing.

Lee

November 24th, 2011
9:29 pm

Of course, the biggest test comes after graduation, when the “Honors” student who made straight A’s for twelve years goes off to the university and struggles mightily. Why, because while typical public school was busy trying to bring the lowest quartile student up to a minimum standard, the high achieving publics and privates were teaching at a pace and level commensurate with their ability level.

This parent shouldn’t worry about the time being lost to testing – it is a drop in the bucket. No, what the parents of the top two quartile students should worry about is the lost instruction time due to the discipline problems, lost instruction due to a special ed student who soils his diaper twice a day, lost instruction because the teacher is having to “differentiate” their instruction due to the students who should have been retained in the previous grades, etc, etc, etc.

ScienceTeacher671

November 24th, 2011
9:37 pm

@another aps teacher, 9:26 a.m. – very true, very true!

And @catlady, you’re right, the CRCT is not a difficult test. I wish parents understood that passing the 8th grade CRCT does not necessarily mean that students are actually “proficient” at doing, or even able to do, 8th grade work.

Fred

November 24th, 2011
10:59 pm

What is a Challenge Program and a ‘Challenge program for gifted students?”

Patrick Crabtree

November 25th, 2011
1:21 am

Don’t blame teachers for all the testing. We feel the same. Testing has its role, but excessive testing proves nothing. Most ‘experts’ (they got degrees to get out of the classroom because they couldn’t handle it and want to tell us who can how to teach) come up with some lame brain idea that sounds good and because it sounds good, it is good although the research does not bear it out. Can anyone see the hidden agenda? There is a big push to privatize. Why? Let’s see: the ‘haves’ will continue to get the best and the ‘have nots’ will get the scraps and businesses will get the unskilled workers they can pay peanuts so they can ‘compete’ wiht the global market. Hmmmm. A permanent underclass. And they have the public believing teachers are the cause and they are incompetent. Can people see beyond their noses?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 25th, 2011
4:40 am

A belated HAPPY THANKSGIVING to Maureen and my blogger-friends whose enlightened comments and brave actions fan the flames of Hope for and Faith in a better educated Georgia tomorrow.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

November 25th, 2011
7:38 am

At least we have one concerned APS parent. Any others? *crickets*

Teacher needing anger mgmnt

November 25th, 2011
8:20 am

Read the Smithsonian Magazine’s September 2011 article on Finland.
For fans of data and charts, the story includes a graphic representation of the number of standardized tests American students complete, on average, compared to children in the number one ranked country…12 to ZERO. Wasted money, wasted time, wasted energy, an a misplaced priority on quantifiable data. The International Society for Technology in Education evangelizes six standards that focus on higher order thinking skills, project based, authentic learning. There is NO TIME to do THIS work in our schools, thanks to pre-tests, post-tests and Scantron data. Ugh.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 25th, 2011
8:26 am

TNAM,

Have you made an appointment with John? Messaged him on FB?

And don’t tell me that Dr. Barge won’t listen.

Who is John Galt?

November 25th, 2011
8:47 am

Cohn’s Law: The more time you spend in reporting on what you are doing, the less time you have to do anything. Stability is achieved when you spend all your time reporting on the nothing you are doing.

Woody

November 25th, 2011
9:02 am

This sort of frequent assessment belongs at the teacher level, not the administrative level. In fact, all teachers should assess as they go, and many good teachers do this dynamically as they teach. I appreciate that administrators don’t want to wait until year-end to find out that students are or are not learning, but the only option to waiting until it’s too late to find out that students are failing, is to interfere in the teaching process to the extent that teaching is obstructed.

Lib in Cobb

November 25th, 2011
9:02 am

If the playing field was level, the required testing may have more validity. The students of a very poor district/school are being compared to a wealthy district/school. That is the issue which makes the playing field uneven. The wealthy kids have a more stable home life, dad is not beating the crap out of mom, food is plentiful, kids have computers and beds, mom and dad are not locked up, the student speaks English fluently, the wealthy kids have tutors and on and on and on.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

November 25th, 2011
9:52 am

Lib in Cobb

November 25th, 2011
9:02 am

My heart is bleeding. Im about to cry. :(

AJinCobb

November 25th, 2011
12:10 pm

The Smithsonian Magazine story on Finland’s educational success (link posted by Teacher needing anger mgmnt, a few posts above) includes the following:

“It’s almost unheard of for a child to show up hungry or homeless. Finland provides three years of maternity leave and subsidized day care to parents, and preschool for all 5-year-olds, where the emphasis is on play and socializing. In addition, the state subsidizes parents, paying them around 150 euros per month for every child until he or she turns 17. Ninety-seven percent of 6-year-olds attend public preschool, where children begin some academics. Schools provide food, medical care, counseling and taxi service if needed. Stu­dent health care is free.”

However, we want to think we can emulate the Finnish educational success by cutting back on standardized testing. If the majority of Americans favor the Dr NO approach to poor families, they should stop fantasizing that there’s any meaning in comparing our educational outcomes with those of countries like Finland.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

November 25th, 2011
12:24 pm

FINLAND? BAH! Im sure the Finns would welcome those of you that are inclined to take advantage of their austerity/welfare programs.

Delta is ready when you are!

Ole Guy

November 25th, 2011
12:25 pm

Let’s take a “devil’s advocate” look at this test mania. Other than the mandated scantron testing, what other means are employed to ensure students’ grasp of material? Back in the dark ages, in both high school and in college, the Monday morning pop quiz was a dreaded, yet effective, means of ensuring the kid kept his head in the game.

During my somewhat abreviated sojourn in the classroom, I was struck with the undeniable reality that public education has become an almost exclusively passive activity, as opposed to the “drill-and-repeat” methodologies of yesteryear. Perhaps this (ostensibly) over-testing just may have an upside component, creating, within students’ psyche, the need to keep up with assignments. While teaching, I wrote DAILY ASSIGNMENTS on the board, requiring ALL students to WRITE those assignments in their NOTEBOOKS. Much of the following day’s classroom activity was expended insuring that assignments had been accomplished. Much to my chagrin, there did not seem to be much concern (outside of the classroom, much less during classroom time) beyond the passsive nature of expecting to be entertained. Add to this the number of parents who would call/”bump into me” after class in search of the assignments which “little Johnny had lost.

As I’ve often indicated, kids need to have the fires of urgency under their six…perhaps this test mania may just be the ticket.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

November 25th, 2011
1:36 pm

@Old Guy: “As I’ve often indicated, kids need to have the fires of urgency under their six…perhaps this test mania may just be the ticket.”

Except that there is no real consequence for the students if they do not do well on these tests. It doesn’t affect them much at all… even failing the CRCT rarely results in actually being retained (in my experience). These days, even curriculum unit assessment are supposed to be regiven until the child passes, so why bother studying the first time? You get a second change, and maybe even a third!

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

November 25th, 2011
2:08 pm

“If the majority of Americans favor the Dr NO approach to poor families…”

Like the poor families at the Hosea Feed the Homeless debacle? The ones driving from near and far in their SUV, Cadillacs, Pontiacs, Land Rovers, Hummers with all their finery and nails and weaves and wigs and high heels in order to get in on the free haircuts, clothing and 3rd rate delicious turkey & dressing with all the fixins, dinner extravaganza?

Those poor families? As Mr Mackey so often says, “Drugs er bad mmmKay…”

Ole Guy

November 25th, 2011
6:48 pm

Love Teaching: Therein lies the overiding problem…we discuss, analyse, disect, and rediscuss the individual issues to the point of absurdity, expecting each and every problem to be solved in the complete void of other issues. I certainly do not intend to “preach to the educational choir”, however, it is no mystery that all these issues are interelated, like that tangled mess of Christmas Tree light bulbs (particularly the series wound wiring where, when one light goes out, they all go out…ya gotta “solve” one problem, a busted light, in order for the whole system to work…BUT WHICH LIGHT GETS FIXED?).

IN CONJUNCTION with the issue of testing, multiple second chances must be concurrently addressed. Perhaps if the educational bean counters were to announce “THERE WILL BE ONLY ONE STATE-PAID OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE THESE TESTS…ADDITIONAL TESTING WILL BE AT PARENTAL EXPENSE”. You can damn well bet that parents would start taking a keen interest in their KIDS’ urgency toward testing, and toward school work.

Grade retention needs to come back into the scope of EDUCATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY. If enough kids are held back a grade or two, parents will slowly begin to realize that the educational system is through pissing around with mediocrity. Those “fires of urgency” will begin to take on new meanings.

If these complex issues are not going to receive any greater attentions than political grandstanding, we might as well forget the whole thing and let generation after generation go through the motions of passive attendance. We listen to the political gladhanding on the necessesities of preparing for the 21st Century, global economy, etc, ad nauseum…but without the FULL AND COMPLETE support of leaderships, at both Federal and State levels, it’s all just so much hot air (do you sense another round of “TEACHER CORPS, TAKE COMMAND OF YOUR PROFESSIONS”?).

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 25th, 2011
6:55 pm

Talk is not a poor substitute for action. It is NO substitute for informed, determined action.

Prof

November 25th, 2011
8:06 pm

Teachers on this blog have been telling us for some time just what “I Love Teaching” said at 1:36: students can take tests over and over until they pass. Social promotion, remember? Made legal by the Ga. State Legislature in 2008.

I remind you all of my proposal on an earlier blog that some enterprising state legislator introduce a House Bill that will abolish what is known, I believe, as “committee promotion.” (A student will be promoted if the majority of a committee made up of the teacher, principal, and parent decide this should be done–no matter what the student’s test scores, attendance record, or course grades might show.)

One usually needs a rationale for introducing legislation, especially if it is amending or eliminating previously approved legislation; and the 2011 revelations of Atlanta’s cheating scandal should be sufficient to demonstrate the immediate need for restoring promotions based upon the student’s actual grade-level knowledge of the subject matter.

Would this “informed, determined action” be possible, Dr. Craig Spinks?

other Lulu

November 25th, 2011
8:26 pm

Former Middle and high school teacher: Amen to pdawg and Lulu. For the majority of students there is benefit in repetition, repitition, repititioon! This, at the same time, bores and turns off the best and brightest. Thus the Mon. situation makes sense. One solution would be to test the teachers more and the students less but the teachers’ unions fight this tooth and nail. When I taught we took the national exam which identified weak teachers so they could get remedial help. There is much to be said for returning to that system but in today’s ethical climate it too would need keen scrutiny.