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Fri Mar 15, 2013, 12:06 AM

Ohio 3rd graders who fail state test not promoted. But they CAN be promoted by not taking test.

There is so much wrong with that scenario. That is not how education should be.

Before I retired we were already having that discussion. It was painful. Some students who had already repeated 3rd grade were held back again. There was talk they would not be promoted the next year unless they passed the required test.

There are students who simply are unable to score high enough on a test. I saw honor students literally freeze and cry under such pressure. Some have learning problems, some have attention problems. Refusing to promote a student based on the single high-stakes test is ludicrous.

This article mentions that many other states are following Florida's policy on this 3rd grade retention. Ohio is one of them, but their policies would allow promotion of those who refuse to take the test.

Ohio Third Grade Reading Guarantee Could Allow Students Who Skip Tests to Be Promoted

The idea behind a new state law called the Third Grade Reading Guarantee was supposed to be simple: All third graders — except for those with disabilities or who are still learning English — must pass the state third grade reading test in order to advance to fourth grade.

But as written, the law allows third graders who don’t actually take the reading test to be promoted anyway, whether or not they can actually read.

That means that parents who are concerned that their third graders won’t pass the test — or parents who oppose “high-stakes” testing — could keep their children home on test days and skirt the law’s intent.


The article quotes the words of one mother from State Impact Indiana:

“They’re spending a month to two months of my daughter’s time where she’s bored to tears because she’s not learning anything — she’s at a gifted school,” (Indianapolis parent Merry Juerling) says. “It makes no logical sense. It wastes my child’s education time. It wastes the teachers’ time. It wastes the school’s time in tracking and preparing for this.”


And yet it continues. Arne Duncan never speaks out about foolish policies like this. They are in effect caused by programs he endorses, such as Race to the Top. Policies that depend on a single test to judge everyone and grade everything.

I believe if enough parents simply opted out of testing, they would be forced to change the policy. When I think back and realize how many hours of work we put into keeping our grade books accurate, keeping up with the latest ideas on what percentage was A, or B, and on down. They changed it a lot.

Those grade books as well as plan books were considered official records, kept on file by the county for years.

Yet they have no role now in determining a child's educational future, only the test does now in many states.

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Reply Ohio 3rd graders who fail state test not promoted. But they CAN be promoted by not taking test. (Original post)
madfloridian Mar 2013 OP
madfloridian Mar 2013 #1
reteachinwi Mar 2013 #2
madfloridian Mar 2013 #5
liberal_at_heart Mar 2013 #8
d_r Mar 2013 #3
madfloridian Mar 2013 #4
dsc Mar 2013 #6
ReRe Mar 2013 #7
reteachinwi Mar 2013 #52
Blanks Mar 2013 #9
theaocp Mar 2013 #10
Blanks Mar 2013 #11
madfloridian Mar 2013 #14
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #30
Blanks Mar 2013 #61
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #62
Blanks Mar 2013 #63
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #66
Blanks Mar 2013 #68
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #73
Blanks Mar 2013 #74
Reader Rabbit Mar 2013 #32
Blanks Mar 2013 #35
Reader Rabbit Mar 2013 #39
madfloridian Mar 2013 #40
Blanks Mar 2013 #43
Reader Rabbit Mar 2013 #49
Blanks Mar 2013 #60
reteachinwi Mar 2013 #53
Blanks Mar 2013 #59
reteachinwi Mar 2013 #54
Blanks Mar 2013 #64
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #65
Blanks Mar 2013 #67
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #69
Blanks Mar 2013 #70
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #71
Blanks Mar 2013 #72
LWolf Mar 2013 #38
LWolf Mar 2013 #12
Blanks Mar 2013 #13
madfloridian Mar 2013 #15
Blanks Mar 2013 #16
madfloridian Mar 2013 #17
Blanks Mar 2013 #18
madfloridian Mar 2013 #19
Blanks Mar 2013 #20
madfloridian Mar 2013 #21
Blanks Mar 2013 #22
madfloridian Mar 2013 #24
Blanks Mar 2013 #26
madfloridian Mar 2013 #27
Blanks Mar 2013 #28
reteachinwi Mar 2013 #55
Blanks Mar 2013 #58
LWolf Mar 2013 #29
Blanks Mar 2013 #34
LWolf Mar 2013 #37
reteachinwi Mar 2013 #56
Blanks Mar 2013 #57
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #44
Blanks Mar 2013 #45
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #47
surrealAmerican Mar 2013 #23
Blanks Mar 2013 #25
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #31
Blanks Mar 2013 #36
LWolf Mar 2013 #41
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #42
Blanks Mar 2013 #46
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #48
LWolf Mar 2013 #50
Auntie Bush Mar 2013 #33
TheBlackAdder Mar 2013 #51

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 12:19 AM

1. Just imagine the lessons kids learn from this policy.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 01:35 AM

2. The allure and narrowness of making a final judgement on a single measure

 

should be prima facie misguided. While randomly browsing I found this and it points to much of what is misguided about Walton/DeVoss/Gates/(Rhee )? reform.

“What matters, instead, is whether we are able to develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, and self-confidence. Economists refer to these as non-cognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us sometimes think of them as character.”


http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2012/10/28/what-kids-need-more-than-test-taking-skills-grit-and-character/

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Response to reteachinwi (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 02:26 AM

5. Great quote.

You know we were always told to analyze where the child is, start where he is, and take him as far as he is able to go. Now they want cookie-cutter kids that know exactly the same things, which is totally impossible.

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Response to reteachinwi (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 03:41 AM

8. this is how I've had to approach my son's education

they are completely failing to teach him academically, so I focus instead on the personality traits he is learning such as humor, determination, patience, and thinking outside the box (which I guarantee he did not learn in school. They keep trying to keep him in the box, but because of his autism he naturally thinks outside the box).

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 01:46 AM

3. I have a third grader

and I promise you, in that scenario I would keep him home. Why risk him not passing for one test? Even if you were really confident your kid was going to pass it why would you take any risk when there is no downside? People in Ohio are not thinking the way I think if they allow their kids to take it. What a bunch of wooie.

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Response to d_r (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 01:49 AM

4. I agree 100%

They would be staying home.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 02:47 AM

6. Trust me Ohio has had lots of dumb testing adventures

My personal favorite was a set of tests for either third or fourth grade (I can't remember which) but these were the first of their kind for Ohio and anyone who failed was supposed to have to either go to summer school, or repeat the grade. Now, for years, the big city schools with lots of minorities had students who didn't pass the 9th grade tests and had to not graduate and no one raised any stink. But the first year of this mandate middle class white schools had large percentages of students having to go to summer school, well that mandate lasted all of a week. The 9th grade mandate stayed of course, because it largely affected minorities and poor kids.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 03:36 AM

7. Here's a story...

... I have a son who was diagnosed with ADD when he was little. By the time he was a freshman in HS, he was off his meds. OK...we were a military family, so we moved around allot. In one school in SC he did real well. BUT, one thing I could ring their necks about was teaching the kids to do math in their heads. Anyway, by the time he was a freshman in HS, and he took algebra, he flunked it. FLUNKED IT! Because he seen no sense in showing his work. Why show your work, if you can do it in your head? The teacher just thought he was ignorant, I guess and never contacted me about it. He could take the test and write down all the correct answers, but would not show his work. Anyway, yes he had to take the class over, and made an A in it the next time because he stopped rebelling and showed his work.

When I was a kid, I was scared to death to take tests. I had absolutely no self confidence, due to things that were going on at home (mean stepfather.) But by the time I was in HS, I had gained confidence in myself and was on the Honor Roll and in the Nat'l Honor Society. Then when I went to college, the self confidence fled me again. It was topsy-turvey, from start to finish. I would take tests and think I aced it, but didn't, and times that I would think I failed it and aced it.

Tests can be excruciatingly horrible for some kids. But the whole entire class being held back? That is really bizarre. That's unheard of, isn't it madfloridian? There's something definitely wrong, and it isn't the kids. It's the test. Tests hanging over their heads, pressuring them. Pressuring the faculty.
NCLB is leaving all the children behind, if you ask me.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 06:25 PM

52. +1

 

Right brained kids are challenging to all of us left brained explainers.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 06:42 AM

9. These end of year tests should not be viewed as...

Tests for the children. Of course if a child fails the test; he/she should not be advanced to the next grade, but the teacher is the one being evaluated by the test.

If a child or two misses the test; no big deal. As long as the majority of the students are present to take the test; the teachers effectiveness can be evaluated.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #9)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 07:10 AM

10. Ah, one test to determine your career.

Who wouldn't want to be a teacher?

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Response to theaocp (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 07:48 AM

11. Do you think that's unique among educators?

Last edited Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:53 PM - Edit history (1)

I don't know of any profession where we just take their word for how good they are.

Do you?

One of my criticisms of the current education system is that most educators don't know what goes on in other professions.

The simplest, most straightforward way to evaluate an educator; is to test the individuals that they are educating. If someone knows a better way to do it; I'd like to hear it.

The problem is that educators seem to prefer being evaluated by their friends, or how much their students like them, or some other criteria that has nothing to do with teaching.

As a parent; I want to send my 3rd grader to school on test day because even if they get held back, at least a non-performer has been identified and that will improve the system.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 09:07 AM

14. Teachers are already evaluated several times a year. The reformers must love your words.

Rote and meaningless.

Your main assumption is that the quality of learning shows up on a multiple choice test. It doesn't.

Your other assumption is that all kids are equal in ability, they are not.

To pretend all are capable of passing the same test at the same point in time is ridiculous and harmful to the students.

However that is how must people at this forum feel. Our nation's schools are being destroyed so billionaires can profit.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 11:59 AM

30. That's a false accusation. Teachers ARE evaluated. Four times a year in my district.

This 'teachers aren't evaluated' meme is a right wing talking point. And it is 100% FALSE. Definitely shouldn't be posted here.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #30)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 02:07 PM

61. Who said 'teachers aren't evaluated'?

That's what this discussion is about. Teachers appear to be complaining about this relatively new 'outcomes based' method of evaluation.

I'm sure there's long been some kind of 'in house' evaluation, but I never said 'teachers aren't evaluated'.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #61)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 02:45 PM

62. "I don't of any profession where we just take their word for how good they are. "

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #62)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 03:01 PM

63. You feel that those two completely different statements are equal?

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Response to Blanks (Reply #63)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 03:34 PM

66. I don't see them as completely different statements.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #66)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 04:52 PM

68. Even with your typo?

I'm just kidding about the typo.

Imagine using my sentence in a conversation that you're having with your realtor or tax accountant and tell me how it's a slam against educators.

It's a generic statement about professional standards and client expectations. A slam against educators should at least contain the words 'educator' or 'teacher'.

I think the two statements are very different.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #68)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 11:08 AM

73. That was YOUR typo. I copied and pasted from your post.

Good grief. Just blame the teacher.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #73)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:51 PM

74. I stand corrected. Have a nice day. eom

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Response to Blanks (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 02:25 PM

32. " The simplest, most straightforward way" = false equivalence

Education and learning are neither simple, nor straightforward. I suspect your experience and training as an engineer prevents you from understanding that. There are few professions so diametrically opposed as teaching K-12 and engineering!

Here's the thing:

We are not talking about making widgets; we are talking about getting thinking, feeling, sentient beings to learn. It's not about the product teachers provide, it's about the connections they make with their students.

Case Study
My brother and I are only 18 months apart, so we often had the same teachers as we progressed through school. Almost without exception, the teachers who had the greatest impact on my learning were not the ones who had the greatest impact on his, and vice versa. In fact, even the only teacher we had the same opinion of—we both hated her guts—did not elicit the same academic performance from us. Both our emotional responses were the same—"I'll show you, you heinous bitch!"—but our behavior responses were exactly the opposite. My brother shut down and did the bare minimum necessary to keep himself out of trouble with our parents. I, on the other hand, pulled out all the academic stops and excelled in her class, so that I could spit in her eye (figuratively speaking, of course).

So even in a scenario in which two siblings (nature) have roughly the same home life (nurture), teachers will get vastly different results.

Students are human. Teachers are human. To evaluate either with an assessment that dissects and denies their humanity is not valid.

Epilogue: My brother is now an engineer, while I am a middle school teacher.

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Response to Reader Rabbit (Reply #32)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 03:52 PM

35. I believe students should emerge from each grade...

With a minimum level of knowledge in each subject.

Learning is a progressive process and it's a waste of time to advance students to the next grade if they haven't mastered the material that they'll be building upon in the next grade. This is why universities have prerequisites.

Your 'case study' does nothing to refute this. There is nothing in there to indicate that either one of you was incapable of passing an exam that tested for minimum standards. To imply that an exam that tests for the minimum level of knowledge necessary to advance to the next grade somehow 'dissects and denies their humanity' is quite frankly - a bit over the top and a little amusing.

Here's the thing. These tests aren't that big a deal; they're tests. I understand that there are a lot of things going on that threaten the current education system. Things like defunding schools and diverting money to charter schools. I don't have any kind of personal experience with that.

What I do have experience with; is disabled children. They can be excepted from the tests. It wouldn't be fair at all if a teacher had a bunch of disabled children and were expected to meet the same standards as other classes, but that's not the case. If that were the case; I could see educators fighting an unfair system that didn't make allowances for something like that. That's not what's going on here. What is going on here is that educators are getting together and deciding to fight something that isn't that big a deal and when you start fighting something that isn't that big a deal. It damages your credibility; when the time cones where you're fighting against something that is a big deal.

I mean seriously - these tests threaten our humanity? If you're going to take that position on 'a little year end test'; then when it comes to fighting against charter schools; you've used up about all the outrage a disinterested third party is in the mood for.

As a parent; I like the idea of year end tests for a couple of reasons. You'll have to use more than one personal case study that had nothing to do with year end tests to convince me that they are a bad idea.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #35)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 04:57 PM

39. Again, spoken like an engineer.

I knew any attempt to dissuade an engineer from the infallible efficacy of standardized tests was most likely destined to fail, but I had to make the attempt.

And yes, the tests threaten our humanity. Look at your own arguments. You trust a test score—an assessment that takes little more than two hours of a student's 180-day school year—more than you trust a teacher's evaluation of said student, formed over the course of an entire school year. That's dehumanizing.

You have read the explanations of a number of teachers here have more than several hundred combined years of experience, and yet you completely disregard their experience and professional expertise when they tell you that this type of thing won't and doesn't constitute an accurate measure of teaching or learning. That's dehumanizing.

You keep repeating that "these tests aren't a big deal," when those with professional experience with them tell you otherwise. You are unwilling to assign any value or credence to statements made by those with actual experience of this situation. That's dehumanizing.

Like those who keep perpetuating the idea that tests are the answer to our problems, you completely disregard the opinions of those who have had years of first-hand experience in these matters. If an oncologist diagnosed a patient with cancer and then recommended a treatment, the vast majority of people would follow the doctor's advice. When teachers tell people what is wrong with public education and make suggestions of what will and won't work to improve it, no one listens—just like you are not listening.

It's dehumanizing.

Also, your random use of semicolons is extremely confusing.

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Response to Reader Rabbit (Reply #39)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 05:59 PM

40. Amen.

And yes, the tests threaten our humanity. Look at your own arguments. You trust a test score—an assessment that takes little more than two hours of a student's 180-day school year—more than you trust a teacher's evaluation of said student, formed over the course of an entire school year. That's dehumanizing.


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Response to Reader Rabbit (Reply #39)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 10:07 PM

43. If I go to an oncologist and he/she...

told me that I have cancer. I'd ask how he/she knew I had cancer without having performed any tests; I don't care what they offer as an explanation.

If the majority of people would take the treatment advice of an oncologist who didn't perform a single test, then the majority of people deserve the dehumanizing chemo therapy that they'd get. I wouldn't be the least bit convinced by an oncologist who tried to tell me: 'those tests are unreliable, I know what I'm doing'.

Personally, I wouldn't listen to another word he/she (the oncologist) had to say. The disagreement here is in the method of diagnosis, but the real issue is that once I've determined that my doctor is a hack; firing him/her is no problem.

Unfortunately, a parent can't just fire professional educator after professional educator because they insist that tests are a bad idea. Eventually what's going to happen is these professional educators will be replaced by people who understand that we send kids to school so that they will learn. If kids are learning, there shouldn't be any problem with demonstrating somehow objectively (which means not the teachers opinion) that the child has learned.

The reason professional educators aren't put on a pedestal for their teaching experience is that we all teach and we all learn. I remember what it was like to learn difficult subjects like differential equations and engineering physics. When our experience is not consistent with what you are saying... Well lets just say you don't get a credibility bump. It isn't like structural analysis - something I know how to do, but you don't; it's something that we both know how to do (teach) and you are just trying to convince me that I don't know how. I teach all the time, I learn all the time and I test the people I am teaching frequently and expect to be tested when I am being taught - it just isn't that big a deal.

We took the professional educator's word in this country for how well our children were learning for a long time only to find that we were falling behind other developed countries in math, science and the proper use of semicolons.

If the statistics supported your assertion that 'we know what we are doing,' then I'd agree with you. In fact, I'd be glad to review any statistics that show improved learning by the methods that you are proposing, but when it comes to american student academic performance compared to other countries, it seems like we are just getting worse.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #43)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 02:18 PM

49. You do realize that...

...those other countries whose students' academic performance is supposedly better than our own don't inundate their children with standardized tests? And that they don't judge teachers' performance by student test scores? And that many of these nations' comparative data includes only those students on an "academic track," rather than all students, as American scores represent?

When American student performance is divided by the poverty level, American students lead all other nations:

&feature=youtu.be

The man in the video is Professor Michael Marder:

Michael Marder is a member of the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics, internationally known for its experiments on chaos and pattern formation, and for the last four years ranked #1 in the nation by US News and World Report. He is involved in a wide variety of theoretical, numerical, and experimental investigations, ranging from studies of plasticity and phase transformations to experiments on sand ripples at the sea bottom. He specializes in the mechanics of solids, particularly the fracture of brittle materials. He has recently developed numerical methods allowing fracture computations on the atomic scale to be compared directly with laboratory experiments on a macroscopic scale. He has been checking these methods through experiments and computations on single crystal silicon, and is preparing for low-temperature experiments.


I realize that you really, really want everything to be the fault of the teachers. You aren't alone. Teachers make a convenient scapegoat, and blaming them allows people to come up with simplistic "solutions" to a problem that is very complex. It also requires no sacrifice from anyone but the teachers. Like many Americans, you want a magic pill, and blaming the teachers and solving the problem with a few tests is that magic pill.

But this isn't Neverland, and magic pills aren't real.

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Response to Reader Rabbit (Reply #49)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 01:39 PM

60. I don't want it to be the teachers fault.

I want to identify the problem, and then fix the problem. I believe that there is a problem because of my own personal experience. I also think that just because a child is disadvantaged doesn't mean we don't have an obligation to educate them, and a system of evaluating the performance of their educators. We need to be certain that children are being educated whether they have 'involved parents' or not. Even though statistically they might get a better education with 'involved parents'.

I want people from every sector of society to be able to contribute the maximum amount that they are capable (or if they aren't ambitious the maximum amount they want to). That's going to happen by evaluating their potential at the earliest possible point in their life and continuing to evaluate them each step of the way.

I hardly think these tests are a magic pill. I think these tests are a step in the right direction. I also hope that the system will be revised as it develops to take on the characteristics that educators who have valid criticisms would like to see. Unless the revision that they are advocating for is: 'trust me, I know what I'm doing'.

The only reason I am for the testing is so that there can be intervention in the event an educator is not performing. If someone thinks they're teaching but children in their classroom aren't learning, that needs fixed.

If there is lot of data that shows children from poorer neighborhoods perform badly, then we no longer need to test for that result. How about we come up with strategies for improving that outcome and develop a method of testing that determines if we are making progress.

I don't think the solution is going to be simple. That's what y'all are saying. I think it's going to be hard work. The biggest reason that its gonna be hard work is that the people we have put in place to make the changes - think it was working fine before.

I believe it can be better and I think testing helps make it better. That isn't the same as saying testing makes it all better.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #43)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 06:58 PM

53. When you are developing a new widget

 

you will test its performance. The results of the test will guide you in it's improvement. Check this out.

There is, however, someone who recognizes that the data is being misinterpreted.
<break>
While the overall PISA rankings ignore such differences in the tested schools, when groupings based on the rate of free and reduced lunch are created, a direct relationship is established.

Free and Reduced Meal Rate

PISA Score

Schools with < 10%

551

Schools with 10-24.9%

527

Schools with 25-49.9%

502

Schools with 49.9-74.9%

471

Schools with >75%

446

U.S. average

500

OECD average

493

http://nasspblogs.org/principaldifference/2010/12/pisa_its_poverty_not_stupid_1.html

There is lots of test data out there. A correlation can be found between child poverty and poor test scores. A correlation between a single teacher and poor test scores is very difficult to establish as education is a collaboration between educators, parents, administrators, school boards, and the whole community. Should we hold teachers responsible only, and not the rest of people who make a child's success possible? Should we hold teachers responsible for child poverty?

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Response to reteachinwi (Reply #53)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 12:52 PM

59. We should have a system that can objectively demonstrate...

that a child is making progress in the classroom. The kind of progress that parents and other members of society want them to be making.

Obviously children that don't have the potential or the resources can not be expected to make as much progress as children who do have the potential and the resources.

If we aren't giving them multiple choice tests; we still need criteria to evaluate them.

There is no getting away from the fact that we want more than the teachers word for how the child is performing. I don't think that's asking to much.

To answer your question 'should we hold teachers responsible'? Yes.

Teachers should be making a measurable difference. They should know what is being measured, and it should be fair, but they need to be held accountable for making a difference.

I think educators should have a say in what that evaluation criteria should be - except that it cannot be 'trust me'. There has to be some method of evaluation.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #35)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 07:44 PM

54. That is not my experience.

 

"What I do have experience with; is disabled children. They can be excepted from the tests. It wouldn't be fair at all if a teacher had a bunch of disabled children and were expected to meet the same standards as other classes, but that's not the case. If that were the case; I could see educators fighting an unfair system that didn't make allowances for something like that."

Every student must take the NCLB test. Accomodations can be made in a resource room, but if less than 100% of the students take the test there are consequences under NCLB.

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Response to reteachinwi (Reply #54)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 03:17 PM

64. There are portfolios for severely disabled children. eom

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Response to Blanks (Reply #64)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 03:34 PM

65. And there are many mildly disabled children who don't do well on these tests.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #65)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 04:38 PM

67. I'm sure there are.

And there could probably be a better system of exempting those children (or at least their results) from counting against the teacher.

My point is that there are provisions in place to exempt some children from the tests. I can understand fighting to get more children exempt from the tests, but not completely throwing out the tests because some children have a reduced ability to learn.

Again I'm talking about a system being fine tuned versus throwing out the entire system.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #67)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 05:35 PM

69. No there are no such provisions.

ALL are tested. ALL. One year a child in my school was in the hospital dying and we were penalized for not testing her. There are NO exceptions.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #69)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 08:04 PM

70. The rules vary from state to state...

I can assure you that my daughter has never taken a test, they do portfolios instead.

The way it's implemented in your state does not sound like it is fair, but it is up to the state to come up with the rules governing this.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #70)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 08:32 PM

71. No they don't vary. It's a FEDERAL law.

And those portfolios ARE assessments.

You really don't have a very good grasp of this topic.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #71)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 09:11 AM

72. My attorney/wife practices disability law...

and she is the one who told me what the law says. Feel free to prove me wrong by citing current law that supports your point.

Yes, the portfolios are assessments, and the requirements vary from state to state (like a lot of federal programs). They are not the same tests that the other kids take. That was my point.

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Response to Reader Rabbit (Reply #32)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 04:20 PM

38. Well done. nt

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Response to Blanks (Reply #9)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 08:25 AM

12. That illogic, in a nutshell, is why public education is on the ropes.

Standardized tests are designed to test the test taker. Using student test scores to evaluate teachers is misuse and abuse of the test. It's not a valid measure of what a teacher does.

Of course, making the test high-stakes for the tester is also misuse.

Ignorance isn't pretty.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #12)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 08:56 AM

13. How would you recommend evaluating educators?

Or is it ok to just keep sinking in comparison to other countries in education. Or are you one of those who don't believe we actually are sinking?

Rather than just define it as 'illogical'; why don't you take a few moments and explain what is illogical about testing students to evaluate teachers?

Public education is sinking because we have too many teachers that don't know how to teach. Clearly attempts to rectify that situation will always be met with derision from educators.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #13)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 09:17 AM

15. Public education is sinking because it is being defunded and dismantled.

While money is going to private companies. Public schools educate all students, not just the capable ones with good test-taking ability.

The charter companies and private getting taxpayer money do not, they just sent low performers back to public schools. Then they spout nonsense about how poor the schools are.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #15)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 10:54 AM

16. I'm sure that's a factor in some places.

That isn't universally true though.

Try seeing it from my perspective. Educators have been blaming parents and children for a long time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in a discussion that we had on a different thread; you suggested parents take some responsibility for their children not learning.

At what point is it realistic to expect that parents need to try to get change outside the system. As I've said before: I'm not involved in school reform in any way, but as a parent of 3 autistic children; I've been at numerous meetings with everyone from the superintendent down to the lowest aide on staff. In my experience; if you ask enough questions, they will lie to you. I understand that isn't representative of every district and certainly not every teacher, but it happens too frequently for my taste.

The system needs some accountability and it is difficult to obtain inside the system. These tests are used to allow children to transfer to schools that are failing (at least that's the way NCLB is supposed to work). It is not the best system, but something needs to be done.

Again, what system would you like to use to evaluate a teacher's ability to teach?

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Response to Blanks (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 11:05 AM

17. See my post above to you. Yes, parents DO have responsibility for their children learning.

But if you think retaining a 3rd grader until he can pass a single test will work, you do not know children, you do not know stress factors, and you have no clue about in-depth learning.

I have been down this road with you before. Not going there anymore. If you think one test should determine such factors, then I will never convince you otherwise.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 12:05 PM

18. Fair enough. I can agree to disagree with you.

We all come from different backgrounds. I'm not trying to antagonize you. I hope that I haven't angered you such that you ignore me or decide not to discuss other education issues with me. I respect your opinion even though I might not always agree with you.

However, if you think holding parents accountable for their children's education when they spend so much time in a school classroom is going to fly anywhere except in a group of educators; expect to be disappointed.

Sure, parents can be a pain (I know my wife and I are at school meetings), and I imagine a lot of parents have high expectations for their kids, but when we have children getting really good grades and then failing these high stakes test; don't you think there's something wrong with that?

As far as stress at taking tests; I know a thing or two about that (having failed a number of college exams myself), but I always tell people who are studying for the PE exam: you don't study for the PE exam, you train for it. It takes an entire day of concentrating on solving problems that you've never seen before. The training part is to work on similar problems (I believe that's in-depth learning).

We need to teach kids how to take tests by giving them a lot of tests. You probably don't agree with that, but one of the things that I got out of an engineering degree is the test taking attitude: tests aren't a big deal. Each of us have good test days and bad test days. That's how we need to teach kids. Teach em, test em, teach em, test em. Sometimes people think they understand something only to realize after having been tested on it; that they didn't understand the material.

I would have had an easier time in college if I had taken more tests in school. Surely teachers can test kids when they want feedback on whether the kids are learning, and whether the kids are good test takers in preparation for these high stakes tests. Identifying which kids need more preparation for the high stakes tests seems like a reasonable thing for educators to do in preparation for these exams.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 12:51 PM

19. Parents had their kids for years before they went to school.

The foundation is set at home.

Teachers and schools can be a big influence, but parents must be held accountable as well. Someone else used to always say that parents who were poor should not be held accountable. I disagree. Some very fine and wonderful kids grew out of the greatest depression ever and become intelligent educated adults. I speak of my mother and father, and their siblings among others.

You said:

However, if you think holding parents accountable for their children's education when they spend so much time in a school classroom is going to fly anywhere except in a group of educators; expect to be disappointed.


That is just nonsense.

You also said:

We need to teach kids how to take tests by giving them a lot of tests. You probably don't agree with that, but one of the things that I got out of an engineering degree is the test taking attitude: tests aren't a big deal. Each of us have good test days and bad test days. That's how we need to teach kids. Teach em, test em, teach em, test em. Sometimes people think they understand something only to realize after having been tested on it; that they didn't understand the material.


Wrong, that is not education. That is training for tests.

I have no one on ignore here.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #19)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 01:46 PM

20. I disagree about the training for tests comment.

Certainly it depends on the subject, and that seems to be where the disagreement comes in.

I can understand educators feeling that way about arts and English (as well as any other creative art), but when it comes to math, science and history; I think tests are the perfect way to evaluate knowledge.

Yeah, there are poorly written multiple choice tests, but if a multiple choice test is written well (as they are for engineering); they can tell a lot about the knowledge of the testee.

I think even with the FE FS PE and PS exams; they draw a conclusion just on the results of one exam; it probably isn't ideal. However, it is a level playing field and anyone willing to put the effort into it can succeed (assuming they were capable of graduating with a degree in engineering in the first place).

It appears to be the system that we are moving toward. I don't see a better system emerging, so we might as well start training our youngsters to excel within the system. Not training them to test well may be condemning them to a future without higher education.

As far as my comment about 'parent responsibility' being nonsense; I'd like to see that put to the test. How many here at DU do you suppose believe that when students fail in school; it is the parents fault. I'm curious; you may be right, but that isn't my experience. Perhaps we could put it to the test?

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Response to Blanks (Reply #20)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 01:58 PM

21. You are twisting my words around.

I think you are looking for an argument, and I am not giving you one.

You are misquoting me about the responsibility of parents. That makes us playing on two levels right there.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #21)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 03:26 PM

22. How is what I said different from what you meant?

I'm serious. I don't see any difference. It is not my intention to misquote you. I'm not looking for an argument.

It is my understanding that you think that parents should share in the blame/responsibility when children do not learn. If that's not what you are saying; them what is it you are saying.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #22)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 04:09 PM

24. You said, I quote:

As far as my comment about 'parent responsibility' being nonsense; I'd like to see that put to the test. How many here at DU do you suppose believe that when students fail in school; it is the parents fault. I'm curious; you may be right, but that isn't my experience. Perhaps we could put it to the test?


I never said it was the parents' fault. I don't think it is. But I think right now the only ones held accountable under the new reforms are the teachers.

In the case I mentioned about the 3rd graders being held until they pass, that is not even accountability. That is just ignorance on the part of the reformers on how children learn or don't learn.

I never said it was the parents' fault. I believe it must be a shared accountability...school, teacher, parents, students.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #24)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 06:11 PM

26. Perhaps if you didn't use 'that is just nonsense'...

As a response; I wouldn't make misinterpretations of your position.

It seems that you believe that the parents share in the failings of a child's education despite all of the man hours dedicated by the school district.

However, regardless of what your position is: what I was trying to say is: I don't think a large percentage of non-educators share your view. In other words: ask the question however you want. I'm curious to see how many people agree with your position.

That's my point: let's ask people here if they agree with you on however much blame you feel should rest with the parents.

I only mention this because you are constantly telling me how my positions are identical to the reformers. I think what you'd find with a survey of people's positions is that a lot of people are fed up with the school blaming the school's failings on the parents, and a lot of people who you agree with on other issues might actually agree that when it comes to education; something has got to be done.

As far as the 'ignorance' on the part of the reformers about these tests; as I've mentioned many times. Other professions have tests that they have to pass in order to practice in their profession. That's obviously the system that they're familiar with. When you repeat your criticisms of the testing system time and again; I don't think it's very persuasive because despite your certainty that it is just plain wrong. It seems to work everywhere else; why should we believe (particularly since we've all been children at one time) that the system that works in their profession would not work on children.

The burden of proof is on you. What are you claiming is different about a child's ability to learn versus an adults ability to learn?

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Response to Blanks (Reply #26)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 07:37 PM

27. Hey, post a poll. I am backing off.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 08:44 PM

28. What do you want it to ask?

I don't want to misrepresent your position.

Also, be advised, I've never started a thread at DU (except the mandatory one after 10 posts) so if I start a thread; don't be surprised if it just floats to the bottom with no response.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #26)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 08:06 PM

55. Piaget

 

"The burden of proof is on you. What are you claiming is different about a child's ability to learn versus an adults ability to learn?"

Buy this book and read it. I wish you would decide to teach for 3-5 years in a public school. You seem passionate about teaching and your understanding of education is rudimentary. Go get your certification and teach. You would learn much and hopefully enjoy it.

http://www.lavoisier.fr/livre/notice.asp?ouvrage=1193341

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Response to reteachinwi (Reply #55)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 12:28 PM

58. My wife and I have discussed me teaching.

I'm sure I would enjoy it (and that I would learn much), and I might try it yet. The biggest issue is that I have my engineering and surveying licenses to maintain and I'm concerned that at my age (52) if I get away from the industry for too long, I might not be able to get back into it. Especially if I don't maintain my professional development hours. I don't want to risk having to re-take the exams because they are very difficult.

I'd like to teach during the school year and do a little engineering and surveying over the summer, but I'm already spread pretty thin with my severely autistic daughter and I'm not even working right now. If I was able to get in with a small engineering firm where I was just helping with overflow, I might give it a try.

I'll look at the book that you've referenced, but my reading has gotten to the point where I only read in small bursts and typically when I'm looking for something in particular. It's difficult for me to set aside the time to read a book from cover to cover.

Perhaps you can just give me the highlights.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #13)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 11:27 AM

29. Start with this:

Evaluate what I do, not what someone else does.

Recognize that people aren't standardized factory parts, and that they can't be measured like those parts.

Recognize that there are a myriad of factors that affect so-called student "achievement" as measured on a standardized test, and that what teachers do are only a part of that picture, making attempts to use those scores to evaluate teachers invalid, to say the least. Recognize that there are many kinds of achievement that are not measured on tests.

Recognize that there are many things that teachers do, and that students do, that can't be measured on a standardized test.

Now look at what I actually do.

Do I treat my students and families with respect? Do I work to make connections with them and build positive working relationships?
Do I use a variety of tools and strategies to meet student needs? Am I flexible?
Do I hold my students to high expectations, and then support them in every way reasonable in their efforts to meet those expectations?
Have I created a positive learning environment? Do students and parents come to me confidently with questions, concerns, and needs, like active partners in the process of learning? Are they engaged?
Do students demonstrate learning in a variety of ways, of which standardized tests are a small part?
Do I have a good relationship with my colleagues, with all the stakeholders in the building that make a school a positive place to be?

If you think we are sinking, it might be helpful to compare our education system to some of the best in the world. Start with Finland, which has a system diametrically opposed to ours. They respect teachers, they pay them well, they give them healthy, supportive working environments, and they treat them like professionals.

"Public education is sinking because we have too many teachers that don't know how to teach" is a blatant falsehood. Maybe it's based on ignorance. Maybe it's based on something worse. If you really want to engage in a respectable debate about public education in this country, educate yourself about it.



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Response to LWolf (Reply #29)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 03:00 PM

34. It's perfectly reasonable to evaluate someone's results.

For educators the bottom line is this: are the kids learning in the classroom. As a parent that's the only result that I care about.

Merely claiming that what I have written is 'a blatant falsehood' isn't enough to disprove the statement. Point me to a study that refutes it, and I'll agree with you, but too many schools are producing high school graduates without the necessary skills to join the workforce and too many schools have a lot of students failing these high stakes tests for me to agree with you without some evidence to the contrary. I'll believe educators know how to teach when you can point to a study that shows that the children in their classroom learned under their tutelage. I don't know how you do that without testing the kids before - and then testing them after.

I recognize that there are a lot of factors involved in evaluating an educators professionalism; I hope that we can trust their fellow educators (and the university) to not allow educators to exist in the system that do not meet those requirements.

There's a process for identifying individuals who are not meeting minimum standards and reporting them to a professional standards board. After a bad result you can report an engineer, an attorney, a doctor etc. to an oversight board if they're doing something unethical - for disciplinary action. The boards don't typically evaluate each individual professional under their authority - without a complaint; clients report abuses, but the boards don't seek out individuals who are in violation of ethical standards. My point is this: we shouldn't have to evaluate an educator on their ability to meet minimum standards; that's something that we should be able to trust the system for. The things that you describe as things 'you actually do' are things that I consider meeting minimum standards. If an educator is not doing those things; there should be a professional standards board to report bad behavior. Evaluating the professionalism of an educator is not something all parents are capable of; the parents who can - may be too busy.

I completely agree that we don't pay educators enough. Paying teachers more would probably solve a lot of the problems that we have with the current system. I wish school districts would shift a lot of their transportation budgets into teachers salaries and spend some effort optimizing education expenditures, or look at other areas that the schools spend money on; to shift those monies into teacher's salaries, but we spend a lot of money on education and not all of it goes toward education. Appropriate expenditure problems vary from district to district. I'm sure that in some districts the educators are paid well and the students are passing these tests, but that is not universal. I know that there are failing districts because my local school district is failing.

You've done nothing to convince me that there is a problem with testing children to evaluate whether a teacher is teaching. I don't believe that the current 'testing' system is where it needs to be for a couple of different reasons. I doubt that the material that we want each child to be familiar with at the end of each grade is standardized and I doubt that information is disseminated to each educator so that we can be certain that the teacher knows to include it in their lesson plans and hit that information again for review prior to the test.

I understand that the way that it is currently implemented may not be fair, but it's a reasonably new system and it will take a while to get to a point where the kinks are worked out. Parents shouldn't have to be hyper-involved in the education of their children. A system that is designed for extensive parent involvement is unfair to the families that have to work multiple jobs, it's unfair to single parents, and it's unfair to professionals who have to work a lot of hours.

I expect that it's fairly common for teachers to give kids good grades that have parents that are active in the school. Then after getting good grades all year; the child fails the high stakes test, and everyone is mystified at how such a smart kid can perform so poorly. A kiss ass parent is not a substitute for a child that is engaged in the classroom and parents shouldn't have to be involved at all to know whether the teacher in front of their children is a competent educator (a report that is mailed would be adequate). I think annual end of year testing will move us closer to that end result, and frankly, I don't understand why educators are so opposed to the tests.

It isn't that I don't appreciate that educators are up against an insurmountable struggle, but this 'end of year testing' seems like a logical method of evaluation (at least in theory) and it seems that if teachers embraced the system and tried to involve themselves in its implementation; that it could develop to a point where it is a tool that educators could use to identify weak areas and strengthen those areas.

I'm not being sarcastic or combative; I really don't understand why educators are so opposed to what is essentially the system used extensively in a lot of professions.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #34)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 04:18 PM

37. It doesn't really matter how many

words or paragraphs you use to state something incorrectly. It's still incorrect.

It's perfectly reasonable to evaluate someone's results. What a student does, though, is that student's results...not mine. I don't control students; I don't control all the factors that affect their test results. Therefore, it is not perfectly reasonable, or statistically correct, to use their results to evaluate me.

That's a simple fact. If you are really trying to understand, digest it.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #34)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 08:49 PM

56. Many of the students I taught were in 10th grade.

 

"It isn't that I don't appreciate that educators are up against an insurmountable struggle, but this 'end of year testing' seems like a logical method of evaluation,"

The NCLB test was given in the first two weeks of November, after my students had been in 10th grade for ~9 weeks. Much of the material on the test was taught after the test was given. It made no sense. Evaluate me on my effectiveness, I'm ready for that. Play games with public education? I'll fight back.

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Response to reteachinwi (Reply #56)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 11:51 AM

57. That makes sense to me.

I completely agree with you. The educators need to be informed about what they are supposed to be covering and if they are not, then I hope everyone balks at that.

I understand your position and I can see why you would fight that system. That's the kind of thing that I would expect to happen in a 'new' system and as a parent, I would stand with you to fight it. At the same time since NCLB came out of the Bush administration, I expect it to have problems.

I also think that there's a difference between the kind of testing that needs to occur in elementary school and in high school, and that may be part of what the dispute has been in this discussion.

It is different to test the younger children (when they are still learning mostly language) and testing older students that are learning math and science. I can see how elementary school teachers might think that it isn't fair to give these kids multiple choice tests, but we are moving to a world where a lot of professions are required to pass a multiple choice test and whether one agrees that this is a good system or not, it isn't going away and that is reason enough (in my opinion) to start working on a child's test taking skills as early as possible.

I think we need to get away from a system where the only feedback that we get comes from the classroom teacher. A single personality conflict in an early grade can completely ruin a child's educational future, and a child that doesn't have much potential can be promoted beyond their abilities because a teacher in an early grade likes them.

We need an objective evaluation from someone not involved with the child at all.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #13)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 10:27 PM

44. we aren't sinking in comparison to other countries. i've posted multiple times on the problems

 

with those international tests and the misrepresentation of results.

1. The US was never a leader in international test comparisons, not even when it was leading the world in science and technology. We have always been middling on them.

2. The tests in part compare apples to oranges.

For example, Shanghai is a high scorer on those tests. Except it's a Chinese city, not a country.

And a city with some unique characteristics, to wit: it's a very wealthy city, far more so than china as a whole, and academic elites are actively recruited to live there. Most of the grunt work, though, is done by migrant workers from the sticks, whose children until recently (and by recently, I mean a couple of years ago) were BARRED from attending school there through the hukou (family registration) system, and who still have difficulty accessing any education at all.

Similar situations obtain in many asian countries.

3. Another apples to oranges element is the difference in mandatory a/o free education. For example, in china education is mandatory only to 9th grade, and even then, it's not free, though there are some subsidies for the poor. Twenty percent of chinese students don't even complete 9th grade, and only half of chinese students even *enroll* in their equivalent of high school. So already you've got a sample biased for wealth, social position, & urban residence.

4. So far as western europe goes, we're comparing between countries where child poverty is (or was, before recent financial difficulties) basically in the low single digits to one where it's about 25%. Poverty *always and everywhere* = lower academic performance, ergo when 5% of one sample comes from poverty and 25% of another sample does, all else being equal the second sample will score lower.

These are just a few of the problems with those international comparisons.

They do not represent any evidence that the us is 'falling behind' the rest of the world.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #44)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 10:30 PM

45. Could you provide a link? eom

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Response to Blanks (Reply #45)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 12:48 AM

47. I'm not going to go and look for a link for each one of those claims again; if you're interested

 

you can do it yourself.

But I'll do one just to prove I'm not talking through my hat:

We know that China is a master of turning out sparkling economic statistics. Some of those are real and deserve congratulation — China's economy is indeed on a meteoric rise. But many others are not so real, gamed by bureaucrats whose careers are tied to certain short-term statistical yardsticks, or as a result of our ignorance of how China functions.

Cepeda is right in pointing out that the contrast of the U.S. scores with Shanghai's is not totally appropriate: It is comparing the entire U.S. population — including many who are on free or reduced-price lunches — with China's cream of the crop, the Shanghai kids.

Even more important, but far less-known, is that in Shanghai, as in most other Chinese cities, the rural migrant workers that are the true urban working poor (totaling about 150 million in the country), are not allowed to send their kids to public high schools in the city. This is engineered by the discriminatory hukou or household registration system, which classifies them as "outsiders." Those teenagers will have to go back home to continue education, or drop out of school altogether.

In other words, the city has 3 to 4 million working poor, but its high-school system conveniently does not need to provide for the kids of that segment. In essence, the poor kids are purged from Shanghai's sample of 5,100 students taking the tests. The Shanghai sample is the extract of China's extract. A fairer play would be to ask kids at Seattle's private Lakeside School to race against Shanghai's kids.

Kam Wing Chan is a professor in geography at the University of Washington. His research focuses on China's migrant labor and urbanization.

http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2013808513_guest03chan.html



And as proof of how the media plays it:

How Shanghai’s students stunned the world

Students in this booming Chinese city shocked the world last year when they beat every other country on international exams, but Chinese educators say their success is no fluke.

“If you are a hard-working, diligent student you will succeed," said Qiu Ying Li, who has been teaching English for 20 years. "This is the secret for all Chinese students.”

At Shanghai’s Yucai High School, students put in 12-hour days – nine hours before dinner plus three after they eat. Homework is assigned every evening, even for weekends, as an essential part of students’ learning activities. And kids study during summer and winter breaks to get ready for high-stakes college entrance tests.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44642475/ns/nbcnightlynews/#.UUVLozdppkg



You won't find the facts about how Shanghai's residents are a selective elite compared to china as a whole, more so than in rich US cities because to get permanent residence in Shanghai is easy for chinese elites but near-impossible for, say, a chinese peasant. It also omits the facts about how migrant children are not allowed to school in the city and consequently not tested.

It omits crucial facts that the average american doesn't know, and they're omitted because the media is pushing the meme that US education is weak in comparison, as well as the meme that china is superior and is a threat to us scientifically and economically.

And this is typical of 99% of media coverage on the topic.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #9)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 03:55 PM

23. I'm not following your line of reasoning here.

You claim that the test is not really for evaluating the students, but students should not be advanced if they fail it. Isn't that the very definition of evaluating the students?

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #23)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 05:39 PM

25. Sort of.

My understanding of the tests under NCLB is that schools that do not produce students with passing grades are required to inform the parents that the school is not performing to standards and the parents are supposed to have the option of sending their children to a different school.

When the children have reached a certain level in a previous grade and then are unable to achieve an understanding of the material at the current grade; it makes sense to hold them back (or evaluate what might have gone wrong).

That's not evaluating students; that's evaluating schools. The threat to hold the children back is designed to upset parents and ask that the whole system be discarded. So, no, they are not being evaluated; they are being punished for having poor educators.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #25)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 12:01 PM

31. Because the only reason children fail is because they have bad teachers?

What garbage.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #31)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 04:15 PM

36. The way we learn that a child is failing...

Is when they fail a test. If we don't test children; then how do we identify which children need more intervention?

If the only tests that a child takes; are the tests given by the teacher - and graded by the teacher; what guarantees do we have that the teacher is not taking the child's shortcomings into account when grading the test.

We need standardized tests prepared and administered by an outside entity to evaluate the child (and if the child has a learning disability we know not to count it against the teacher). We need to identify those areas that need more emphasis the following year. We need to be able to identify subjects that aren't being covered adequately in the classroom that was tested.

There are a lot of reasons I can think of how the education system benefits from having year end tests. The only argument against them seems to be that teachers have a strong emotional response to having their teaching ability evaluated.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #36)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 08:22 PM

41. Some education on the history of standardized tests might be indicated.

That was part of my undergraduate studies. I understood the function of standardized tests before the high-stakes testing movement, which is why I knew, from the very beginning at the state level, before it ever went federal with NCLB, that it was a problem.

I even, when high-stakes standardized tests were introduced at the state level, contacted one of my old professors, the one who taught my psychological testing course, to ask him about it. He agreed that the way the tests were being used were not statistically valid.

When I've pointed this out to administrators, they are quite patronizing, assuring me that the "test gurus" "know their stuff," and that WE "can't be expected to understand how all those complicated formulas work. We just have to trust that they do." I heard this in the early 90s as the state-level testing programs took off. I heard it last year from one of the few small groups creating VAM formulas for today's test scores. They didn't have an adequate, or really any, response when asked why some VAM formulas give widely different results from others, and how it can be anything but political to reward and punish based on a formula that can be "adjusted" to give the results that are politically advantageous to those at the top of the testing heap.

Before the current testing deforms, we always gave a standardized test once a year and reported those results to parents. They just weren't high-stakes. They were one of many ways to evaluate students, all of which added up to a more complete picture of student achievement than a single standardized test score can provide.

Of course, it was understood that student "achievement" was exactly that; what the student achieved through his or her efforts. Our job? To give abundant opportunities to achieve, and abundant support in those efforts. It's the students' job to achieve, and "student achievement," however it is measured, is exactly that. A measure of how well they did THEIR job.

The idea that test scores identify school failure fails to acknowledge the outside factors that are greater predictors of standardized test scores than anything a teacher or school does: parent SES. That was true in the early years of standardized testing, and it's true all these decades later.

When every child is born into, and raised in, the same healthy, nurturing, intellectual environment to grow neural connections and develop healthy social and emotional selves, when every child gets the same home advantages, when every classroom and system is set up to provide the richest, most advantageous environment and opportunity, then you will see children and schools and teachers that don't "fail." Until you are willing to address the outside factors that create learning gaps, then all the blaming of teachers in the world means nothing.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #41)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 09:15 PM

42. +1

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Response to LWolf (Reply #41)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 10:34 PM

46. What is parent SES? eom

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Response to Blanks (Reply #46)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 01:06 AM

48. socio-economic status. It's the best predictor of student performance out there. Not only in

 

the US, but in every country in the world.

It's true everywhere that on average:

1. Children of the rich test best.
2. Children of the middle-class test middlingly.
3. Children of the poor test worst.

and the US actually does better at educating the poor than most of its peers (based on standardized test results). But it also has *more* poor than most of its peer countries, both in total and percentage wise.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #46)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 05:54 PM

50. socio-economic status

Parent education and income levels are better predictors of standardized scores than anything a teacher does.

The testing "gurus" get around this by constantly pointing out that the teacher is the greatest factor WITHIN the system, and ignoring the greater factors from without.

And, frankly, even in the most vibrant classroom, with the most dedicated teacher, learning is not going to be a priority for some students. Take this year, for example:

I've got one student who has already attempted suicide, and has run away once. You think he really cares what we're reading, or whether his grammar is correct?

Another has been cutting, and is only at school 2 days a week, at most. Add to that the fact that she is a sped student, who struggles through learning, having to work twice as hard and twice as long to make the same progress as a regular ed student...her family is getting help with food deliveries. We're trying to get her to school. When she doesn't make the same growth this year in crisis as she did last year without the crisis, is that really because I'm not competent? Really?

I have 7 sped students in middle school operating at a 1st grade level. They get plenty of help and support. Is it going to be my fault that they are not at grade level by the end of the year?

I have 5 students who suffer from anxiety attacks. Two of them shut down and don't function. Three of them just don't come to school very much.

I have a girl whose estranged parent's restraining order, in place for physical abuse of her whole family, was just lifted by a judge. She's afraid to go out the door after school for fear that parent will be waiting. So she stays at home with the doors locked.

I could go on; I could fill this post with examples, just this year, of crisis and dysfunctions originating outside of school, whose solutions are beyond my control. They are on the increase, as always when there are extended economic crises in families.

We have every resource and safety net we have access to working on these problems, but they aren't enough. I take home the faces and hearts of too many children in crisis every night. They rob me of sleep and peace of mind. I worry about them, and do my best to make the classroom a safe, positive place for them.

I don't, though, blame them when they don't value or make the best use of their learning opportunities.

That doesn't stop the blame game, of course. The ignorant are always ready to jump in and blame me, the teacher, for all manner of problems. Test scores are only the tip of the iceberg.



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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 02:32 PM

33. I agree...If no one showed up there would be NO one to test!

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 05:57 PM

51. The Old Computer Adage: "No Doc, No Problem!" nt

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