Today in our department meetings we looked that the "blueprints" for the state standardized tests--in particular, what percentage of what topics make it onto the standardized tests.
Long-time readers of this blog know that I am an ardent supporter of standardized testing. However, when the tests or the testing regime are freakin' stupid, I'm not going to give the system a pass. And that's what we have, at least on our California math tests.
We have very specific, measurable, challenging standards for each course. In theory, our standarized tests are supposed to test knowledge of those standards.
The composition of two tests amazes me. 92% of the Algebra 2 test comes from Algebra 2 standards. What comprises the other 8%? Probability and Statistics. Why would we test students on material they haven't even been taught?
But wait, there's more. I teach a course called pre-calculus, which, according to the state standards, combines the trig standards and the math analysis standards. So what test do my pre-calculus students take? If you guessed trigonometry, you'd be wrong, as there is no trig test. Students in courses above Algebra 2 take the Summative High School Math test, which combines topics from Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Probability and Statistics. Why? And if, as some want to do, I'm to be evaluated on my teaching ability as measured by standardized tests, shouldn't the tests cover material that I'm supposed to be teaching?
Only bureaucrats could come up with something so stupid.