Pencils down and dukes up: Two views of the growing anti-testing campaign among teachers. Is it for students or self-preservation?

crcted.0920 (Medium)Two views of the growing organized resistance to standardized testing:

From the Chicago Teachers Union, which is distributing an anti-testing petition today:

As part of its “Pencils Down” campaign against high-stakes standardized testing, the Chicago Teachers Union  will be among teachers, students, parents and education advocates nationwide standing in solidarity with Garfield High School in Seattle and all Seattle public schools refusing to administer the Measures of Academic Progress test. The coalition will petition local schools to limit Chicago Public Schools support for excessive standardized testing of students as part of a national day of action to support the Seattle MAP test boycott.

Organized by the “More Than a Score Coalition,” which includes the Chicago Teachers Union, Parents 4 Teachers, Parents United for Responsible Education and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, petitions will be circulated today at several CPS elementary schools and high schools asking Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Board of Education to limit standardized testing and provide more transparency about the cost, amount and stakes of the 22 tests now being used in CPS.

The petition was written by parents and other concerned citizens who are frustrated with the scale, expense and consequences of the testing regime in Chicago Public Schools and who do not feel that the Board of Education is addressing their concerns.

“Some kindergarten students are taking up to 14 tests per year,” said Anne Carlson, teacher, Chicago Public Schools parent and co-chair of the Chicago Teachers Union Testing Committee to the Board at its Jan. 23 meeting. “This is criminal.”

The Chicago Teachers Union Testing Committee is organized against the misuse of testing and supports groups of teachers who want to challenge the tests at the school, network, or district level. The committee is developing a “tool kit” of resources and action ideas to be distributed in addition to “More Than a Score’s” advocacy for:

• The elimination of standardized testing for Pre-K to 2nd graders

• The reduction of testing for older grades

• Ending the use of standardized testing to evaluate students, teachers, and schools

•· Full disclosure of the cost, schedule, nature and purpose of all standardized tests

“The culture of testing at our school creates a sense of stress and competition,” said Hannah Nolan-Spohn, a 5th grade language arts and social studies teacher at Deneen Elementary. “There is a lot of comparing scores, gossiping among students about who got what score, and stress around whether or not they grew enough.”

“We no longer teach—we just give assessments,” said kindergarten teacher Nancy Ocampo. “I do want to have my students exit kindergarten reading and with number knowledge, but more importantly, with a love for school and a love of learning.“That is the kind of school all of our kids deserve, not a testing factory.”

And for the other side.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Michael J. Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute contends that children are not the main concern of the anti-testing movement among teachers. “This is a skirmish about teacher work protections as our system lurches toward greater accountability. It’s no heroic effort to overcome the forces of evil,” he wrote.

Here is an excerpt of his essay. Please read the full piece.

Shame on the teachers of Garfield High. Shame on them for resisting a modicum of personal responsibility for student learning. Shame on them for obfuscating what their resistance is really about. And double-shame on them for likening their selfish crusade to the noble acts of resistance of the Civil Rights era.

Ostensibly, their protest is about the overuse of tests, the instructional time that those tests devour, and the culture of soulless data-driven instruction that animates today’s brand of school reform.Yet it’s hard to square their complaints with the actual test they decry, for the Measures of Adequate Progress is precisely the type of “good” assessment that many educators claim to favor. It’s instructionally useful; it provides instantaneous feedback to teachers and students alike; and it’s not used for high-stakes decisions on issues pertaining to students and schools.

The real reason the Garfield teachers attack the MAP, one must presume, is because it’s a small part of Seattle’s new teacher-evaluation system. (If students show low growth on the MAP for two years in a row, it triggers a “closer look” at their teacher by the principal — pretty benign by national standards.) That’s a smart move on behalf of district officials; because the test is “computer adaptive,” it can pinpoint precisely where students are on the achievement spectrum and can give teachers full credit for any progress they help their charges achieve over the course of the school year. (If a ninth grader moves from the sixth-grade level to the eighth-grade level, the MAP can detect it, while most state assessments cannot.)

What the teachers are really protesting, it seems to me, is the use of student test scores in educator evaluations.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

54 comments Add your comment

d

February 6th, 2013
11:13 am

I saw a clip today talking to students at Garfield High ( http://bit.ly/VDKfdy ) where the students are saying they don’t take the test seriously themselves because there is no reason for them to do well. How can such an assessment be used to evaluate teachers if the children themselves have no skin in the game?

Mountain Man

February 6th, 2013
11:27 am

Testing does NOT evaluate teachers, it only evaluates the STUDENTS.

d

February 6th, 2013
11:29 am

You know, Mountain Man, that reminds me of a conversation I had several years ago with my Economics students. The theme was pretty much: “We have to teach about incentives, and a student brought this topic up. The agreement in the class was, we know what we have to do to ensure we pass a class, but if it comes down to our test scores determining our teachers’ pay, we know where we can bomb on purpose and still be fine ourselves.”

Private Citizen

February 6th, 2013
11:30 am

What’s the problem with a once-a-year comprehensive test?

beteachin

February 6th, 2013
11:30 am

Teacher unions and The Huffington Post aside… Student LEARNING IS STUNTED when teachers design lessons solely to help students pass standardized tests. Learning and testing are not the same; passing a test does not prove than any learning has taken place. Failing a test does not prove that a student doesn’t know the material. Test scores do not prove that a teacher is effective or ineffective. Testing is not the answer! Study after study finds teacher quality is the number one factor in student success. Most teachers are prepared to accept that responsibility! Get rid of those who are not, and stop evaluating the rest of them to death. Hire good teachers and let them teach. If they can’t be trusted to help students achieve, then hire some who can.

Teacher

February 6th, 2013
11:31 am

Why are the two arguments mutually exclusive? Do we wonder if new armor technology is in the best interest of the soldier or United States power projections? No, because they can do both. What is best for teachers is ultimately best for students. The piece out of the Fordham Institute is clearly an attempt continue the vilinization of teachers by profit driven testing companies. How may people who are reading this blog, students excluded, have taken a multiple choice exam this week? And yet this is how we are to judge if students are “workplace ready”?

Mountain Man

February 6th, 2013
11:32 am

Does the numbers of crimes COMMITTED tell you how good your police force is? Does the numbers of fires OCCURRING tell you how good your fire department is?

Just Sayin

February 6th, 2013
11:36 am

@ Mountain Man Ummm that’s not quite true. It IS used in some school districts to evaluate teachers. Trust me. In many of the school districts in Houston, TX teachers have been fired due to low test scores.

Even if it did only evaluate students, it is commonly know that most students don’t take a test seriously if it’s not going to effect them moving forward. Heck many parents won’t even let their kids go to school on test and retest days.

d

February 6th, 2013
11:40 am

I would like to see the state move to a graduation portfolio. We could pay a stipend to teachers throughout the state (and drop the contract with Pearson) and have students submit portfolios – either physical or electronic – to be evaluated. We could set standardized criteria of what should be included. This would accomplish two tasks. First, we could see what students actually can DO with what they have learned. Second, if we see worksheet after worksheet and other lower level learning activities coming from particular teachers, we could then say that these teachers aren’t providing effective instruction to their students.

10:10 am

February 6th, 2013
11:50 am

Readers holding 12-month, real-world jobs see only the self-centered chutzpah of this handful of malcontents. And we wonder why the system hasn’t already filled those teaching positions with true professionals dedicated to serving kids, communities and the taxpayers.

Legislators: School choice can’t come soon enough!

Mary Elizabeth

February 6th, 2013
11:58 am

How much testing is done in schools throughout the school year should be a matter of balance. Most reasonable people would not object to a doctor running diagnostic tests to be able to analyze correctly the precise nature of the patient’s illness. Likewise, some degree of standardized testing must occur in order for teachers to analyze correctly their individual student’s correct instructional placement and their individual student’s rate of academic growth, as indicated over time through test results. Lack of growth, relative to other students of the same age group, has many reasons for being and some of these reasons are not related directly to the teacher’s performance. Some of these reasons could be learning disabilities, dysfunctional family environments which can effect a given student’s ability to focus, lower I.Q. in comparision with peers, physical difficulties such as inadequate hearing or eyesight which have gone undetected for years, and emotional, social, mental problems. Generational poverty can, also, effect learning.

To the extent that test results are used for diagnostic purposes, rather than as a threat to the job security of teachers, education will be better served. Undue stress, either for teachers or for students, is not conducive to a healthy educational environment.

Claudia Stucke

February 6th, 2013
12:04 pm

As a parent, grandparent, taxpayer, and former teacher, I’m fine with standardized tests as long as they (1) are part of a holistic evaluation of students and teachers and (2) evaluate what they purport to evaluate. Having administered many such tests, I am dismayed to report that some (especially the state-created tests, such as the CRCT) contain not only typos but outright erroneous information. (Trying to get these errors corrected was such an exercise in frustration that I finally gave up.) Sometimes, too, tests do not correlate to the mandated curriculum standards (e.g., QCC, GPS, and now Common Core); for instance, one year the high school science graduation test was composed largely of astronomy questions–when students had been exposed only to biology, chemistry, and (optionally) physics.

To complicate matters further, students don’t always take their testing seriously. They have several chances to take and retake SATs and graduation tests (which are now being replaced with End-of-Course Tests). If a test (such as the PSAT or even an Advanced Placement exam) does not affect their grades, students sometimes rush through it or even turn in an unfinished test. I still cannot believe how often I’ve had to wake sleeping students in the middle of testing. When I woke one senior for the third time during an AP exam last year, he growled at me to leave him alone. So I did. (Every time I tried to wake him, we distracted the students around him; and I decided that I couldn’t make him take the test, anyway.)

The whole testing issue is complex, and I certainly don’t have any answers; but we need to develop fair and effective measures of student progress and evaluate teacher–and curriculum–efficacy.

Centrist

February 6th, 2013
12:06 pm

There is certainly a happy medium and maybe a some testing could be reduced/ combined. But there is no doubt poorer teachers don’t want accountability and unions protect the 10% of misfits many times more than the 90% competent teachers.

d

February 6th, 2013
12:08 pm

I’m curious why people say we don’t have “school choice.” If you choose, and you have the funding, you may enroll your student at any private school, you may choose to enroll your choild in a parachoial school. You may choose to home school your child. If you choose, you may enroll your child in a public charter school. You may choose to purchase a home in a neighborhood near a higher performing school. If you choose to enroll your child in a public school, you choose to go with the one that you are zoned for. If you aren’t happy with that school, state law allows you to choose a different school in your district if the receiving school has room. School choice is here – and it is plentiful. There are, however, costs associated with every choice. Please don’t assume parents don’t have choice.

i agree

February 6th, 2013
12:10 pm

Testing is being used to evaluate teachers. Currently, younger high school students do not even have to pass a high stakes test to graduate like they once did. I would find it hard to believe they are going to want to take it seriously. The only ones taking it seriously are the teachers and the band of administrators who sit in the ivory tower and look to find fault with teachers.
Eliminating testing would save this state billions of dollars and return schools to actual teaching.

Just Sayin.....

February 6th, 2013
12:27 pm

Teachers will resist any efforts to measure their effectiveness. What’s new? They SAY that they are all for “fair evaluations”, but they will never accept any evaluation as “fair”.

mathmom

February 6th, 2013
12:31 pm

Having participated in GADOE workshops to review End-of-Course-Test (EOCT) questions for high school mathematics courses, I can assure all of you that the state’s official position is that the students can just work most of the questions backwards (substitute the answer choices into the questions) to see which solution is correct for each problem. Because the participants in these workshops often had issues with the wording, presentation, bias, content, or difficulty of many of the problems, we were given that advice often. It is not necessary for the students to be able to actually work many of the problems in order to pass the tests, but good test-taking skills are a necessity. Hence, lots of test taking practice is needed each year to be certain that the students have learned the necessary skills. We spend about 15% of the year on that.

cris

February 6th, 2013
12:36 pm

STOP THE PRESSES! I HAVE IT! Why don’t we assess students by having the teacher assign grades on a variety of assignments throughout the school year? Maybe an ITBS or SAT thrown in once every year or two years just to make sure we’re on the “same page”. This way students and teachers wouldn’t be stressed about ONE BIG test, but measure of learning would occur throughout the year and teachers would address trouble areas as they happen. But wait….we’d have to assume that teachers are professionals and know how, when and where to assess….and NO ONE wants that, right?

indigo

February 6th, 2013
1:01 pm

How many promising teachers and students have we lost over the last 10 years because of these incessantly innane tests?

Private Citizen

February 6th, 2013
1:20 pm

Just Saying…, you left out the part about testing emphasis every single day on the announcements, through the speaker system, test themed pep rallies, test emphasis at every faculty meeting.

10:10 When you get school choice, you can hound the teachers at your choice schools, too, and project all manner of free-loader, lack of worth ethic, not being professionals, etc. and so on.

Private Citizen

February 6th, 2013
1:25 pm

One way to burn out kids and stimulate them to a lack of belonging is through repeated testing with hours-long lock-down conditions, stay in desk, can not pee, hallways silent, doors locked, and do it again and again and again and again during the school year.

Teacher Reader

February 6th, 2013
1:33 pm

I did my best teaching, when I could provide my students with an education and not focus on what was going to be on the test. When the district focused on the test, I know that the children had many gaps in their education. Also learning wasn’t fun or exciting. When I was able to teach and not worry about the test scores, my students enjoyed learning and had fabulous test scores to go with their love of learning.

Beverly Fraud

February 6th, 2013
1:37 pm

“…stay in desk, can not pee, hallways silent, doors locked, and do it again and again and again…”

Do forget if a child vomits you have to package the vomited test back up and return it.

mountain man

February 6th, 2013
1:43 pm

Hey, here is a novel idea: test the student at the end of the year, and if the student does not pass minimum requirements for that grade, RETAIN THE STUDENT and make them repeat the grade. THAT is what testing should be for. I would say use teachers’ grades, but we all know those have no correlation to mastery of the subject matter.

mountain man

February 6th, 2013
1:47 pm

“I’m curious why people say we don’t have “school choice.””

I’m curious as to why people say you don’t have the choice to live in a mansion and have a butler. If you have the resources, that is certainly a choice.

bootney farnsworth

February 6th, 2013
1:51 pm

almost nothing in education is about the students. just about zero.

its about empire building and career enrichment by the administrative elite. Petrilli knows this – he’s part of the problem, and talking bravely on something he knows he’ll never have to back up.

why? if evaluating us comes to pass, evaluating them will not be far behind. then the admin elite have no human shields to hide behind.

much ado about nothing continues to be made about how hard it is to remove bad teachers. what is always left unsaid is the real why. its not evil, nasty unions as much as it is patronage. its not what you know, it who you know…and what they have on you. admin types love to cozy up to poor teachers (and we know who they are) because they make great attack dogs.

George

February 6th, 2013
1:51 pm

Just Sayin you are a Dam fool teachers do not live with kids so how in the hell can they be responsible for their education.Okay if that was true why in the hell can they not stop kids from dropping out ,girls getting knocked up ,do their dam homework every night wear their uniform and follow rules.Dam I I can make them score on a test.People please do not cry RACISM because I am black.

mountain man

February 6th, 2013
1:52 pm

“Why don’t we assess students by having the teacher assign grades on a variety of assignments throughout the school year?”

And take a representative sample of the “c”s and see how many should have been “F”s. How many homeworks were given “C”s even though they were not EVEN COMPLETED. How many students who can’t do basic math “earn” passing grades in math?

bootney farnsworth

February 6th, 2013
1:54 pm

@ just

your comments illustrate why we’re reluctant to go along with “fair”. besides being profoundly subjective, we’ve little reason to think the “fairness” advocates will be “fair” to us

d

February 6th, 2013
2:23 pm

@mountain man – I agree with you on your 1:52 post. Too often we make children “feel good about themselves” and give them a false sense of security that they are doing well when they aren’t. Failure isn’t a bad thing *if* you learn from it!

beanster

February 6th, 2013
2:29 pm

“The culture of testing at our school creates a sense of stress and competition,”

And this is a bad thing? Welcome to the real world.

Anything done in the city of Chicago should be used as an example for the rest of the country of what NOT to do.

Looking for the truth

February 6th, 2013
2:48 pm

No one I know minds evaluations. They are a fact of life, no matter your career choice (unless you’re self-employed). Usually, the criteria is spelled out – sales figures, loss ratios, profitability, etc. In education, there is no such criteria. Do you know your subject? Do you engage your classroom? Do your students perform well on these tests? Then, nothing to worry about.

A teacher friend told me her students have to pass the CRCT for promotion. That’s part of the reason they do well – both in class and on the test. No pass – no promotion. Incentivize test performance for kids and they will take it more seriously.

cris

February 6th, 2013
3:03 pm

@mountain man and @d:
This is how assessment should be done – how it was done before the testing craze hit in the 1980’s…if a teacher says a student hasn’t done the work or doesn’t understand the material, they should be held back (not a teacher call at this point- I could stand on top of Stone Mountain and announce to the greater Atlanta metropolitan area that certain students should not be “administratively placed”, would make no difference). Should they be held back for more than one year? Probably not, but they would need to take a serious look at what issues a child might have if they were going to be held back more than one year. I don’t know the teachers that you two base your opinions on, but I don’t see any of those where I’m teaching. You two are always hounding teachers about not wanting to be evaluated, not wanting to work, etc. You’re just as bad as the teachers that you claim are always whining.

Mountain Man

February 6th, 2013
3:28 pm

“Probably not, but they would need to take a serious look at what issues a child might have if they were going to be held back more than one year. ”

What if the child is absent from school more than 30 days during the year? Would you actually try to adress ATTENDANCE? That might require some intervention by a PARENT!!!! Can’t have that – it is always the school’s and the teachers’ fault.

Mountain Man

February 6th, 2013
3:33 pm

“You two are always hounding teachers about not wanting to be evaluated, not wanting to work, etc. ”

I never said that teachers did not want to be evaluated. I said that testing students is not an accurate way of evaluating TEACHING. Testing students measures student LEARNING. If I gave a teacher a classroom full of donkeys, then at the end of the year, tested the donkeys and they had not learned their ABC’s, would you say that the teacher was “not effective”? Worse yet, try teaching donkeys that are not even in the classroom, that is even HARDER.

What I have said before is that a teacher evaluation should have two parts: knowledge of the subject matter (easy enough to test), and adequate delivery of the subject matter in a way that the students can understand. If these two are good, then you have an decent teacher. His/her students may STILL not learn a dam thing because of reasons beyond the teachers control (such as attendance).

Mountain Man

February 6th, 2013
4:23 pm

“A teacher friend told me her students have to pass the CRCT for promotion.”

Where in the heck does SHE teach? Must be a private school. I don’t know of any public schools that systematically retain students who fail tests, but please enlighten me.

Jerry Eads

February 6th, 2013
4:24 pm

PC, do you READ here? you should know the answer to that question by now.

(1) The tests the state administers have one thing in common with the space program: Low bid. That should tell you something about quality. (2) The state tests measure primarily low level skills and do not adequately measure the capacity of average and above average students. They are called MINIMUM competency tests for a reason. (3) The process used universally (called “Modified Angoff”) to determine the “pass level” of the state tests is quite arbitrary and has no meaning whatsoever in terms of how well a student might succeed in the future. It is literally nothing more than a guess by a few teachers in a room how many questions a student should answer.(4) ONE test is inherently not very reliable. It is ONE sample of knowledge on ONE day for a few hours out of the 8,760 in a year. Teachers are assessing each and every student dozens of times a day, day in and day out. A TEACHER knows FAR better than anyone else how a student is doing. (5) Even if the state tests DID measure the full range of achievment (and they do not), high-performing kids know quite well how much they have to work to “pass.”

State decision-makers are forever under the delusion that students try their best on these tests. Many no doubt do. Many do not. ONLY when every student has a healthy home life, has had enough to eat, hasn’t been shot at the night before, hasn’t been bullied on the way to class, and actually cares about taking the test would such test be a reasonable measure of the student’s actual knowledge, much less the teacher’s expertise.

Most know: I made these things for a living for 15 years. I ran another state testing program. I have some idea what these tests look like and what they can and cannot do. And should and should not do.

Assessment of kids in school is of course absolutely desirable and necessary. It’s what teachers do constantly. But what we’ve done with once a year minimum competency testing has been – with many dozens of well-done research studies to support the argument – egregiously harmful to schools, schooling, teachers and, most importantly, students.

MAYBE the testing coming down the pike with Common Core will begin to abrogate some of the damage we’ve done to our kids (and our country) over the past 30 years with this kind of testing. It’s truly time for some common sense. I dearly hope these teachers can begin to dissipate the nightmare.

Jerry Eads

February 6th, 2013
4:26 pm

MM, It’s the LAW that student have to pass these tests to be promoted in certain grades.

Mountain Man

February 6th, 2013
4:33 pm

“MM, It’s the LAW that student have to pass these tests to be promoted in certain grades.”

So, Jerry, You are saying that students in these grades are NEVER “administratively placed” in the next grade? That students who have repeaedly failed the GHSGT are not given “waivers’ and given a diploma? This conflicts with information I have been given from a knowledgeable source.

rural juror

February 6th, 2013
5:04 pm

I just checked out the site “Thomas B. Fordham Institute”. It is a conservative non profit think-tank organization based out of DC. Now I understand why they would be opposed to what the teachers think about the testing.

d

February 6th, 2013
5:31 pm

@cris – Like mountain man, I am very very very confused as to where I ever said I don’t want to be evaluated. I don’t want to be judged based upon a test where the students have so little skin in the game that they don’t take it seriously, but I have frequently said I wanted more than GTEP gave me. I have also said that we need to reexamine how we evaluate student learning – namely show me what you can do. There’s too many ways to trick a multiple-choice standardized test.

Mary Elizabeth

February 6th, 2013
6:44 pm

In my 16 years in supervising that the Nelson Reading Test was administered to all incoming 9th grade students in my suburban high school, of approximately 1,800 African-American students, I found that curriculum teachers were invariably surprised to learn of the range of reading scores of their students. Approximately 500 students were tested yearly in 9th grade. The range of test scores for those students, yearly, was from 4th grade reading level (in vocabulary and comprehension) to grade level 16 (senior in college level). Approximately half of the 500 students were reading on 6th grade level, or below, in 9th grade, annually. Teachers were not aware of the extent of the range of reading variances among their students until they received this precise data for each of their students. They were able to more effectively address the wide range of differences among their students once they had this knowledge. I encouraged each teacher to record the grade level equivalent in reading comprehension scores (Ex.: 5.2 or 13.4) beside each student’s name on their class rosters in their grade books, so that they could see, at a glance, where each student was functioning in reading, at that point in time. I believe that that knowledge, of precise reading functioning, would help many more teachers to adjust their instruction in order effectively to help many more students within their curriculum areas, especially if teachers were to be trained in reading-in-the-content-area techniques.

In that most high schools do not give annual Nelson Reading Tests to all of their students, administering a yearly standardized test, in which reading (and mathematics) grade level equivalents, or percentile levels, are determined and recorded for each student, could serve the same insightful instructional purpose as did the administration of the Nelson Reading Tests, in my experiences, if those standardized test results are properly utilized for instructional purposes.

I agree, however, that testing should not overwhelm the school’s agenda, nor redirect curriculum to make it more mundane, nor place undue stress on students or teachers. I, also, believe that testing should be done for diagnostic purposes and not for punitive purposes that would effect a teacher’s job security.

Private Citizen

February 6th, 2013
8:01 pm

Mary Elizabeth, just for fun, what are you doing quoting the book of Exodus?

Exodus 5:2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”

Exodus 13:4-6 4 Today, in the month of Aviv, you are leaving. 5 When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites—the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey—you are to observe this ceremony in this month: 6 For seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the Lord.
______________

Jerry, no one seems to be addressing the multiplicity of testing, when testing becomes the culture of the schoolhouse, before, during, after, rinse and repeat. You say there is much damage danger! danger! in annual comprehensive test. I guess I do not see the problem, like an annual physical from a doctor. In my opinion, a test of this type should be paid for once and owned by the state or the fed. But in my dreams, right? There would considerable economic efficiency in centralised digital curriculum, at least for the basics. In my dreams that this would be done in an efficient quality manner, a resource for all schools and students, so simple with digital means of distribution.

Private Citizen

February 6th, 2013
8:07 pm

And by the way, I do not want you evaluating me if you do not know this poem.

Concerning My Neighbors, the Hittites
By Charles Simic

Great are the Hittites.
Their ears have mice and mice have holes.
Their dogs bury themselves and leave the bones
To guard the house. A single weed holds all their storms
Until the spiderwebs spread over the heavens.
There are bits of straw in their lakes and rivers
Looking for drowned men. When a camel won’t pass
Through the eye of one of their needles,
They tie a house to its tail. Great are the Hittites.
Their fathers are in cradles, their newborn make war.
To them lead floats, a leaf sinks. Their god is the size
Of a mustard seed so that he can be quickly eaten.

They also piss against the wind,
Pour water in a leaky bucket.
Strike two tears to make fire,
And have tongues with bones in them,
Bones of a wolf gnawed by lambs.

(excerpt) http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171691
_____________________

Unfortunately, evaluations are often more about the intent of the evaluator than the work being evaluated.

Jerry Eads

February 6th, 2013
8:31 pm

Don’t be silly, MM. There are allowances in the law to enable kids to move on. SOMEBODY knew the tests are worthless.

Jerry Eads

February 6th, 2013
8:49 pm

Good poing, PC. No, no harm in an annual test, as long as everyone understands that a single test may well not by itself be an accurate indicator of a child’s performance.

We used to administer national norm-referenced tests every year to every kid in the state. There was some use to that. As every test publisher states clearly in every piece of lit they print (before they take your check), the results from ANY test should be considered ALONG WITH OTHER INFORMATION. The ugliness of what we do is con an unsuspecting gullible naive public (you) into believing that some one single minimu competency test is some sort of gold standard. That’s a bald-faced lie, and state governments across the country have been getting away with that lie for over 30 years.

Again, I have some hope that the tests being developed for the Common Core, administered multiple times through the year, might provide some useful information FOR TEACHERS TO HELP KIDS, which the current batch do not. At all. To paraphrase the old adage, you can weigh the pig as much as you want to, but if that’s all you do, it won’t gain an ounce. The state’s minimum competency tests are nothing more than pig scales.

Jerry Eads

February 6th, 2013
8:49 pm

oops, good point.

Mary Elizabeth

February 6th, 2013
8:56 pm

@ Private Citizen, 8:01 pm

“Mary Elizabeth, just for fun, what are you doing quoting the book of Exodus?”
=========================================

I found your question to me creatively playful and humorous. Thanks for the chuckle!.

Btw, notice how physicians can now pull up, on their computers, a patient’s developmental history in a matter of seconds. I would hope that educators would soon be able to do the same with their students so that their instruction would become more targeted to the actual instructional (or functioning) levels of their students, regardless of their assigned grade levels. If that state-of-the-art educational delivery system were to be implemented throughout Georgia, perhaps, then, nearly one-third of Georgia’s students would not fail to graduate with their peers.

Mary Elizabeth

February 6th, 2013
9:32 pm

Post Script to my 8:56 pm post:

I recognize that in an ideally designed continuous progress, mastery learning instructional format not all high school students would naturally graduate from high school within four years. Some may take longer than four years, and some may take fewer than four years, to fulfill the requirements for high school graduation. However, as things stand today, it appears that many students who fail to graduate within four years have simply been lost in the system (i.e., claiming to transfer from one school to another and never show up) and have, in fact, dropped out of high school, in part, because their correct instructional levels were not adequately addressed when they were attending school.

Private Citizen

February 7th, 2013
5:31 am

physicians can now pull up, on their computers, a patient’s developmental history in a matter of seconds. I would hope that educators would soon be able to do the same with their students so that their instruction would become more targeted to the actual instructional (or functioning) levels of their students

Mary Elizabeth,
If Arne Duncan had this priority, he might have some credibility or legitimacy.