Your Bullshit Tests Are Killing Education (Education Series Part 1: Multiple Voices):
From Facebook responses to the Rude Pundit's call for stories about how No Child Left Behind testing, currently going on around the country, is ruining the education system for teachers, parents, and students:
Sara wrote, "We spend about 6 weeks total in testing. That's 6 weeks I could be teaching chemistry and geometry. 6 weeks, a third of a semester wasted on test prep and testing and then make up testing. If we must test I say set up Saturday testing centers and pay folks minimum wage to proctor all the testing. That way I can go back to teaching actual content."
Blu said, "33 days of instructional time are 'devoted' to standardized benchmarks (pre-tests) and state mandated tests. Thirty-three in most school districts."
Meg added, "[In grades] 1-8: first two months of 'review' each school year followed by a benchmark test followed by three months of instruction followed by two more months of review for an end of year benchmark test. The last three weeks of school dominated by field days and assemblies, clean out your locker days, etc. For the kid who tested out of grade three years back, most of that time spent in the office for being disruptive because he's bored. Instead of teaching them to take tests, they should just be teaching each kid to their ability."
Ina said, "What I learned at a meeting on Friday is that children with cognitive disabilities also take the tests and have their scores averaged in. So even those kids who work with excellent teachers who enable them to make huge improvements in their abilities, they still don't even approach grade level work. So as more and more pressure is put on the test scores (the threats of taking over schools where the scores are lower), and especially using test scores in evaluating teachers, more and more teachers will fight to refuse to take kids into their classes who they know that even the best help cannot get them to grade level work. Another issue that others have pointed out is that the children who end up being 'left behind' in the teach-to-the-test classroom are the students who are ready to do above grade-level work. What a mess we've made."
You wanna know how much these tests are bullshit? Read the passage from the beginning of the 2009 Texas assessment test in reading for 6th graders. Did it? Now answer this question:
The author probably wrote this story to —
A. highlight the challenges of learning to play a sport
B. show the importance of communicating
C. describe a boy’s day from beginning to end
D. persuade fathers and sons to get along
The Rude Pundit's gonna pull rank here, since he's a professor, and say, "That's one bullshit question." The answer is B, but you could make a good case for D or A. But multiple choice is a cruel mistress. And "probably" is about as bullshit a word as you could use. Worthless. Just worthless.
More tomorrow. And keep on sending your tales of education system woes, especially regarding the standardized tests that are turning the kids into a nation of dumb automatons, to rudepundit-at-yahoo.com