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Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:40 AM

 

Standardized testing has more to do with controlling teachers than it does with improving learning

TEACHERS AT Garfield High School in Seattle have taken a bold and historic action by collectively refusing to administer the state-mandated standardized assessment known as the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP)...The real purpose of the MAP test is not to measure student "growth," but to evaluate teachers... the attempt to quantify learning and teaching in a standardized manner is extremely expensive; takes up weeks and, in some places, months of time in school; narrows the curriculum; undermines the intrinsic joy of learning; and leads to a culture of corruption and cheating. As a measure of student learning, standardized tests are an extremely limited instrument. As a measure of teacher effectiveness, they are even more flawed.

IF ALL of this testing is so bad for teaching and learning, why is it spreading? The shift toward using student data to evaluate teachers is part of a larger trend of restructuring public education to align it with the rest of the economy. As one of the last heavily unionized groups of workers in the country, teachers stand in the way of privatization. And to the extent that they are self-governed, self-motivated and enjoy professional autonomy, teachers are a "bad" example for other workers...

The attempt to quantify and track every aspect of an employee's "performance" is not new. The biggest names in a variety of industries--Wal-Mart, UPS, Goldman Sachs and the Huffington Post, for example--have all transformed their operations to respond to "real-time" data and have the ability to monitor their employees and their output "by the numbers."

As teachers and school administrators are forced to focus more and more of their time on "the numbers" (test scores), they effectively help to train students (the next generation of workers) to internalize this new labor regime. Students learn that the tests themselves are the purpose of school. Even reading, which should be associated with joy, creativity, imagination and deep thought, becomes an activity that has only one, true purpose--generating a test score. Students internalize the idea that the tests are fair and scientific, and that their role, as students, is not to interrogate the tests, but to measure up against them.

And perhaps most of all, students learn to accept the idea that their fate should be linked to the tests. For low numbers, they can be held back from graduation; their teacher can be reprimanded, publicly shamed and even fired; and their school can be closed and even privatized. For high numbers, they can graduate, their teacher might receive a raise and praise, and the school will be allowed to exist for another year. Good things come to those who keep their numbers up; bad things happen to those who don't...

http://socialistworker.org/2013/01/17/teaching-by-the-numbers

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Standardized testing has more to do with controlling teachers than it does with improving learning (Original post)
HiPointDem Jan 2013 OP
NYC_SKP Jan 2013 #1
reformist2 Jan 2013 #2
madfloridian Jan 2013 #5
reformist2 Jan 2013 #7
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #9
PrezHillary2016 Jan 2013 #3
longship Jan 2013 #4
msanthrope Jan 2013 #6
LWolf Jan 2013 #8
bemildred Jan 2013 #10
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #11

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:42 AM

1. I would be inclined to agree. nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:51 AM

2. If this becomes the norm, some teachers will try to get all the good students - it will get ugly.


On a related note, it will have a hugely detrimental effect on collaboration and cooperation - instead of all the teachers wanting everyone to do well, it will pit them against each other.

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:23 AM

5. That's already been happening.

At our school classes were assigned at the end of the year. By fall the secretaries had honored parent requests with no real reasons to them....and it caused a screwed up mess.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:18 AM

7. I didn't think about the parents - the whole assignment process is going to get politicized.


Sounds like it's already a horrible situation for whoever's in charge of assigning students for the new school year.

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:37 AM

9. The capitalist way, turn half of the Proles against the other half.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:53 AM

3. Agree K&R

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:13 AM

4. No Teacher Left Unpunished! nt.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:50 AM

6. Socialistworker.org? WSWS had nothing? nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:25 AM

8. And it has since it became high-stakes,

first at the state level in the 90s, and then nationally under GWB.

This has been obvious to anyone paying attention. Unfortunately, either too many in the nation don't pay attention, or too many really hate teachers and public education, or both.

Otherwise they wouldn't be supporting and electing deformers.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:48 AM

10. Such "measurements" and "metrics" are inherently discriminatory, that's what they are FOR.

Last edited Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:04 PM - Edit history (1)

The object is control, empire building, not education.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:53 PM

11. +1

 

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