Saturday, October 28, 2006

Standardized Testing Is Not An Impediment to Good Teaching

I, too, have posted (a long time ago!) on Jesness' article about Jaime Escalante, the one linked in this post from Parentalcation. I really like Parentalcation's conclusion:

Jamie Escalante’s whole program was geared around teaching his kids to pass a standardized test. Testing does not and should not be deterrence to outstanding teachers; instead it should serve as a measurement stick for successful teachers to use to judge their performance.


Hear hear!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tests are not about the teacher's performance, they are about the student's performance. To students standardized tests are at the bottom of the testing barrel. Why do students feel this way? They see no personal benefit from these tests. Other than the exit exam, these tests are taken to serve the teachers, administrators, and rate the school overall, but the students have no motivation to do well on them. Consider they are already dealing with: practice SAT tests/books, SAT's, practice PLAN tests/books, ACT, SAT 11 subject test prep book practice, SAT 11 subject tests, AP test prep books, AP tests, tutoring for these various tests and classes, and all of the individual tests and finals for each of their solid classes. For students they really are one more annoying exam, and one with no perceived personal benefit. I know the school benefits if the students do well overall, but that is far too abstract a concept for most students.

Darren said...

That's why, come April, I'll be asking you to do your best on those tests out of respect for me, because I think they're important.

If I've done a decent job forging relationships with my students over the course of the year, doing it for me should be a little less abstract than doing it for the school.

Lillian said...

Research proves that testing is directly related to comprehension. Frequent testing is better than lecturing, because it allows for self-correction. The pre-test/post-test strategy increases proficiency.
Test preparation booklets have greater results than many test prep courses. The student takes the pre-test, and then goes over the explanations for correct answers. The students do better on each subsequent pre/post test, and even if they don't, they are getting authentic practice in test taking stratgies.
I've never understood what the big deal is about 'teaching to the test'. I'd rather think of it as knowing what will be assessed, and then learning how to pass it.

Race car drivers study and know every detail of the track before they run the race.

parentalcation said...

If the students understood that what ever aspects of the tests that they were to do poorly on, they would receive additional remedial teaching, then they would have a stake in the results.

No student wants to go over the same thing over and over again. In some successful charter schools, periodic tests are used to measure how the students learned the required information. If they were weak on say the 7 times tables (I am using a 3rd grade example), then they would be required to have further instruction on that subject. If the students demonstrated mastery then they would move on.

Additionally, the sort of attitude that you refer to is a "high school" attitude.

There is probably some sort of consolidation that could be done with the various tests out there, but my original point still stands.

p.s. the sort of students who would have this attitude about testing are probably the sorts of kids who have simular attitudes towards homework and other school work.

Anonymous said...

parentalcation said...
the sort of students who would have this attitude about testing are probably the sorts of kids who have simular attitudes towards homework and other school work.

parentalcation should look up the the stories of students around the country who are opting out of state testing or deliberately failing the tests in protest. They are among the best and brightest students in America who resent classroom focus in standardized testing.

The leading school in the Sacramento Area, Davis High School, is looking to opt out of state testing schoolwide.

Many top-flight private schools are moving away from AP and IB testing regimes.

rightwingprof said...

"deliberately failing the tests in protest. They are among the best and brightest students"

Screwing yourself "in protest" is something only a stupid person would do, not the "best and brightest."