Archive for the ‘Standardised Testing’ Category

Just Because Standardized Tests Suck Doesn’t Mean We Have To (Photo)

May 10, 2016

standardized-desks

Today we started our wonderful standardized testing week.

As bad as they are, and they are bad, it gives us the opportunity to inject humor and fun into a potentially stressful week for our students.

Take this novel gesture by a teacher. I’m not sure I’m game to graffiti my classroom desks, but I’m sure the message was greatly appreciated.

 

 

Click on the link to read You Can Blame Me for My Students’ Standardized Test Scores

Click on the link to read Teacher Writes Truly Inspirational Letter to Her Students

Click on the link to read Redirect Your Frustrations About Common Core

Click on the link to read Perhaps There Should be a Standardized Test for Teachers

 

Advertisements

You Can Blame Me for My Students’ Standardized Test Scores

May 10, 2015

 

testing-pressure

On Tuesday my students begin their arduous week long testing regime. I hope they do well, but if they don’t you can pin the blame on me.

 

And while you’re at it …

 

  • You can blame me for running a happy and vibrant classroom
  • You can blame me for teaching to the curriculum instead of the test
  • You can blame me for challenging the achievers and assisting the strugglers
  • You can blame me for replacing any hint of bullying with unity and comoraderie
  • You can blame me for turning pressure and anxiety into confidence and determination
  • You can blame me for putting learning into perspective
  • You can blame me for regarding character and values as more important than test scores

 

So go ahead. Blame away!

 

 

Click on the link to read Teacher Writes Truly Inspirational Letter to Her Students

Click on the link to read Redirect Your Frustrations About Common Core

Click on the link to read Perhaps There Should be a Standardized Test for Teachers

Click on the link to read Reasons Why I am Forced to Teach to the Test

Teacher Writes Truly Inspirational Letter to Her Students

April 29, 2015

 

inspirational-teacher-letter

 

In a few weeks my students are going to be subjected to standardised testing. I am so inspired by this letter, that I want to write them one of my own.

 

 

Click on the link to read Redirect Your Frustrations About Common Core

Click on the link to read Perhaps There Should be a Standardized Test for Teachers

Click on the link to read Reasons Why I am Forced to Teach to the Test

Click on the link to read There is Nothing Wrong With Testing Young Children

Redirect Your Frustrations About Common Core

January 23, 2015

common core

Whilst the Common Core and standardised testing may grate, they owe their existence to the need for teachers to do their job satisfactorily. Instead of branding such initiatives as “child abuse,” consider that horrible teachers who are not held to some basic standards also perpetrate a form or “child abuse”.  As much as I can’t stand our standardised testing policies, I see it as an opportunity to showcase my students’ knowledge and ability to perform under pressure.

Shirking the issue altogether is simply not workable:

 

An 8th grade science teacher at a Long Island, New York public school is refusing to administer Common Core tests, comparing the state-mandated exams to “child abuse,” The Long Island Press reports.

Comsewogue School District teacher Beth Dimino belongs to the “Teachers Of Conscience Movement,” founded by a group of public school teachers in New York City who identify as “conscientious objectors” and say they’re concerned about “‘market-based” education reform and the “standardization of public education,” according to the Press. The Common Core sets national standards for maths and English and involves a series of mathematics and English language arts/literacy tests at the end of each academic year.

The standards have been controversial both for their perceived infringement on states’ rights by the federal government, which established the Common Core, and their implementation. Critics say the standards use confusing language and overly complicated methods to teach students.

“I believe that it is child abuse. I believe that giving these tests to my students makes me culpable in the abuse of children and I can no longer do that,” Dimino told the Press.

The local newspaper reports that Dimino has the support of Comsewogue superintendent Joe Rella, who also opposes the Common Core tests. Here’s why the two educations are fighting back against the state-mandated standards, according to the Post:

Dimino and Rella harbour a host of reasons why they’re so opposed to Common Core, ranging from what they deem as a lack of focus and an erroneous substitution for actual hands-on, in-the-classroom, traditional teaching, to myriad issues with the actual exams themselves, which utilise problem-solving and reason-centric approaches to not only answering but understanding subject material questions.

In a position paper — formatted as an open letter to New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña — the Teachers of Conscience echo many of the complaints Dimino and Rella make about the Common Core:

We have patiently taught under the policies of market-based education reforms and have long since concluded that they constitute a subversion of the democratic ideals of public education. Policymakers have adopted the reforms of business leaders and economists without consideration for the diverse stakeholders whose participation is necessary for true democratic reform. We have neglected an important debate on the purpose and promise of public education while students have been subjected to years of experimental and shifting high-stakes tests with no proven correlation between those tests and future academic success.

What seems to be at the heart of the teachers’ opposition, though, is the sense that they were not included in the design of the Common Core standards, a subject they should arguably know more about than any other group.

“I’m not telling you that I’m opposed to raising standards, or making standards better,” Dimino said to the Press. “What I’m opposed to is not having any educators be part of the process of making those standards better.”

 

Click on the link to read Perhaps There Should be a Standardized Test for Teachers

Click on the link to read Reasons Why I am Forced to Teach to the Test

Click on the link to read There is Nothing Wrong With Testing Young Children

Click on the link to read The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing are Exaggerated

Perhaps There Should be a Standardized Test for Teachers

January 3, 2015

literacy

Of course I am not in favor of persecuting teachers even further by subjecting them to standardized testing, but you can’t help but shake your head at the lack of skills some of us possess:

 

Many would-be high school teachers reportedly have worse spelling skills than their prospective students, raising concerns within the education union.

The union is seeking to have entry standards on new teachers raised after a study revealed many teachers had trouble with spelling and had a limited vocabulary, News Corp has reported.

In a study of more than 200 teaching undergraduates, none were able to spell a list of 20 words correctly, with some not getting even one word right.

Among the more frequently misspelled words were “acquaintance” and “parallel”.

The university students also had trouble with word definitions.

Some believed “sanguine” was a type of pasta, while others defined “draconian” as having something to do with dragons.

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said it was evidence standards for new teachers needed to be raised.

The federal government will soon release a report in how to improve teaching standards.

 

Click on the link to read Reasons Why I am Forced to Teach to the Test

Click on the link to read There is Nothing Wrong With Testing Young Children

Click on the link to read The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing are Exaggerated

Click on the link to read Standardized Tests for Teachers!

Click on the link to read Oops, We Seem to Have Lost Your Exams

Reasons Why I am Forced to Teach to the Test

November 12, 2014

recess

I’d love to say, “Stuff the test!”, but I can’t.

Show me a teacher that loves standardized testing and I’ll show you a lemon with a state of the art car alarm installed in it. How I wish I could ignore the test and just concentrate on teaching the curriculum. But there are compelling reasons why I can’t and they are as follows:

 

1. The Unfairness of the Test – In Australia the school year starts in late January and finishes mid-December.  The testing occurs early in the year, somewhere between April and May. One would have assumed that since the testing happens e.g. at the beginning of Year 5, that the students will be tested up to the end of grade 4. That isn’t the case. The students are tested on skills up to the end of Grade 5. In other words, there are questions on that test that my students have never encountered and according to the curriculum aren’t expected to know for another 6 months!

 

2. The Wrong Teacher Looks Bad – So the test occurs early in the year, meaning I am reliant on last years teacher to ensure that skills are learned and standards are maintained. Logically speaking, since it is early in the year, if my students perform poorly it is more a reflection of years past rather than of me. Yet, when are the results sent to the parents? At the end of the year. So parents read the results and automatically heap blame on the classroom teacher. The fact the students sat for their exams early in the year would never occur to them.

 

3. The Deep End – Up until the 3rd grade there is no real formal testing in the classroom. Nothing that can be compared to the barrage that is standardised testing week anyway. So, it is my duty to prepare my students for what they are about to encounter. This involves, how to mark answers, correct errors, work within time constraints, fill in personal details and how to best go about answering multiple choice questions. To make matters worse, in Australia, the written English essay question (often a persuasive essay), is exactly the same for grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. This means that my grade 3’s have to tackle the very same question with the very same wording as a year 9 student!  How can I not prepare them for that?

 

4. The Consequences – I pride myself on teaching in a specific type of style. This is a style I have developed on my own according to my own unique teaching philosophy. It is a popular style with my students and so far has been endorsed by my parents, and then in turn my Principal. What happens if my students get mediocre scores? What’s the first thing that gets scrutinised? My teaching style. All of a sudden questions are asked. Perhaps he should take a more traditional approach? Perhaps his lessons are a bit light on for substance? He should refer to textbooks more often for his maths. Perhaps he should go back to the sanctioned readers and dispense with his class novels. I can’t afford such negative attention. To lose my style would drain me as a teacher and make fronting up to work so much less pleasurable.

 

I accept that by teaching to the test for a few months, I make myself a lesser teacher. But do I really have a choice?

 

 

Click on the link to read There is Nothing Wrong With Testing Young Children

Click on the link to read The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing are Exaggerated

Click on the link to read Standardized Tests for Teachers!

Click on the link to read Oops, We Seem to Have Lost Your Exams

Click on the link to read I’m Just Gonna Say It: Standardised Tests Suck!

Click on the link to read Too Many Tests, Not Enough Teaching

There is Nothing Wrong With Testing Young Children

July 17, 2013

testing

Whilst I am critical of the size and formal nature of standardized testing, I fully approve of assessing student development from a very early age. As long as the tests are conducted in a non-threatening manner and the results are used to assist the child rather than judge the quality of their teacher I have no problem with it.

Children’s academic ability could be tested as soon as they start primary school aged four or five under plans unveiled by Nick Clegg.

Pupils are currently tested at seven to set a ‘baseline’ for measuring their progress in school.

But details of plans to do this during reception year emerged in a consultation document launched by the Deputy Prime Minister, which also includes plans to rank primary school pupils against their peers across the country.

This would see primaries having to ensure 85 per cent of pupils are ready for senior school or risk triggering an Ofsted inspection.

Pupils could also be ranked against their peers across the country, being put in 10 per cent achievement ‘bands’, showing, for example, if they are in the top 10 per cent.

Click on the link to read The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing are Exaggerated

Click on the link to read Standardized Tests for Teachers!

Click on the link to read Oops, We Seem to Have Lost Your Exams

Click on the link to read I’m Just Gonna Say It: Standardised Tests Suck!

Click on the link to read Too Many Tests, Not Enough Teaching

The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing are Exaggerated

June 12, 2013

 

You only have to read some of my posts on standardized testing to be certain that I am hardly a fan, but as bad as they are, there are bigger detracting factors effecting education today than these tests. The rap song above which was recently released and is becoming popular among teachers is an example in point.

Click on the link to read Standardized Tests for Teachers!

Click on the link to read Oops, We Seem to Have Lost Your Exams

Click on the link to read I’m Just Gonna Say It: Standardised Tests Suck!

Click on the link to read Too Many Tests, Not Enough Teaching

Standardized Testing Sucking the Love Out of Teaching (Video)

May 26, 2013

 

 

Many teachers have had their love of teaching eroded because of the emphasis on standardized testing. The teacher featured in this powerful video above, uses YouTube to resign from a profession she once loved.

I found this quote to be most compelling:

“Raising students’ test scores on standardized tests is now the only goal. And in order to achieve it, the creativity, flexibility and spontaneity that create authentic learning environments have been eliminated. Everything I loved about teaching is extinct.”

 

Click on the link to read Teachers Who Cheat are “as Dumb as Hell”

Click on the link to read Standardized Tests for Teachers!

Click on the link to read Oops, We Seem to Have Lost Your Exams

Click on the link to read I’m Just Gonna Say It: Standardised Tests Suck!

Click on the link to read Too Many Tests, Not Enough Teaching

 

Teachers Who Cheat are “as Dumb as Hell”

August 30, 2012

Maths teacher Shayla Smith is accused of providing the worst excuse for allegedly giving her students the answers on their state exams – they were “dumb as hell.”

Atlanta math teacher Shayla Smith is accused of giving students answers to state exams because they were “dumb as hell.”

A tribunal hired to investigate a widespread cheating scandal among Atlanta Public School teachers and administrators is recommending that the school board fire Smith by not renewing her contract. She was a fifth-grade teacher at Dobbs Elementary School, and is one of about 180 Atlanta educators accused of various improprieties related to the administration of state exams — including erasing wrong answers on students’ multiple choice exams and replacing them with correct ones.

Dobbs fourth grade teacher Schajuan Jones taught in a classroom across from Smith, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. Jones testified during the hearing that she had overheard Smith speaking with a teacher in the hallway about administering a test for her students.

“The words were, ‘I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell,'” Jones said.

 

Click on the link to read Standardized Tests for Teachers!

Click on the link to read Oops, We Seem to Have Lost Your Exams

Click on the link to read I’m Just Gonna Say It: Standardised Tests Suck!

Click on the link to read Too Many Tests, Not Enough Teaching


%d bloggers like this: