1. Creation of the Anxious Child

    cooperativecatalyst:

    I never saw a multiple choice test until I decided to become a teacher in America.  Having gone through the Danish school system, of course, there were tests but they happened at the end of the year and were written and oral exams, not just fill in the bubble and the machine will take care of the rest.  The first time I took a multiple choice test was for placement exams for my education degree, at first I thought it was fun, after all, all you had to do was fill in a bubble?  I didn’t have to explain or even comprehend, I could just guess?  Breeze through and forget about it all afterwards.  Throughout college I studied, after all, I am an overachiever and yet whenever I came across the multiple choice test my spirit instantly died.  I was glad that it didn’t affect my  teacher, only myself and my grade, because I would doubt myself so much on some of the answers, meant to be tricky, that often I wouldn’t even know what to put down even though I knew the material.

    We forget to think about how it must feel for kids to be solely responsible for teacher’s pay and jobs.  How must it feel for students that if they do poorly on a test it will directly affect the teacher that they love?  Kids are not stupid, they are aware of what is happening around us, how politicians and “reformers” are asking their test scores be part of something bigger.  For this text-anxious child that knowledge would have been the nail in the coffin.  People say that with this knowledge students will do even better because they will want to protect their teacher, to show off what they know.  No child goes into a test trying to deliberately fail, at least not most, and yet placing that pressure of someone else’s livelihood and dream is just too much for children to bear.

    What are we doing to the children of America?  What pressure are we placing them under?  How can we force them through more rigorous assessment to get them ready for the future when that could mean that their teachers no longer get to teach.  We worry that America is too anxious, too many kids are being diagnosed with anxiety and panic attacks, depression, and other pill-needing maladies.  And then we wonder what happened?  Why are all these children feeling so pressured?  Why can they not cope with “kid stuff” – well look at our schools and what we do to them.   Education is no longer for the kids, it is for the politicians.

    Cross posted on my blog

    Reblogged from: cooperativecatalyst
  2. Standardized Testing Stories - Google Docs

    Share the impact Standardized Testing has had on your Personal life, be it as a teacher, or taking one yourself. Share stories of your class or how they have changed your teaching or the impact on your students or own children. The more stories the harder it is for policy people to hide behind numbers and data.
     
    Please either post the link to your blog or your story below… I will put together a list. and repost on Tumblr and probably the Cooperative Catalyst as often as I can! We should start to speak up about standardized testing from a personal level and share the stories of the damage these tests are doing  to our children and our teaching.
     
    Remember to use the #standardizedtestingstories or #stopstandardizedtesting and #education…

    Add your name or web site, the name of the article/post and the website

    1. John t spencer:  10-ways-to-fight-standardization
    2. Miss Brave Teaches NYC: i-aint-taking-no-deep-breaths
    3. Youth Voices: Students: Too many tests given; no pay for performance
    4. Gabe Pressman Testing: A Poor Excuse for Education
    5. Two Teachers and a Microphone: "More Than A Test Score."
    6. John Merrow: A Test Question — Can You Spell ‘Blackmail’?
    7. Joe    Bower: Sample Testing                   



    John Merrow Asked these questions on his latest post… Add your answer below… Please also blog your answers… and add the link next to your answer here!

    1. How do we raise expectations?


    1. How do we get beyond the insult of ‘the basics’?


    1. How do we wean ourselves away from our addiction to more and more standardized testing?



    The floor is open for suggestions

  3. Sample Testing « Cooperative Catalyst

    cooperativecatalyst:

    People who need something quantifiably simple and repeatable to judge how well schools are doing find test scores to be remarkably convenient. Test scores can then be used to fill colour coded spreadsheets that act as a carrot for the successful schools and a stick for the under-performing.

    The problem is that even the most test-loving psychometricians know the limits of testing. They understand that even the best tests are merely samples of a larger domain and making inferences based on these tests must be tempered with the understanding that all tests have an element of error that must be compiled with multiple measures.

    The problem with census testing is that we get cocky and reckless with the results. Just because everyone writes the test that doesn’t change the fact that the test is still nothing more than a sample. Those who are not familiar with testing seem to think otherwise.

    While it is true that I am not a proponent of testing, even I can see how moving from census to sample testing could be a step in the right direction. Here’s what I mean:

    When we hear the results of political polling, we would never say “well, if we have polling, why do we even need to bother with the election?” When it comes to polling, I think even the most uninformed understand that polls are merely samples of the entire population – polls may be informative but they are not a substitute for the actual election.

    If testing was done only by a sample of the population, I think it would be much harder for anyone to sell testing as a substitute for other more authentic and direct measures of learning. Sample testing would help us all to understand that the tool chosen to tell us about our schools cannot do what we ask of it.

    Reblogged from: cooperativecatalyst
  4. How do we raise expectations?

    How do we get beyond the insult of ‘the basics’?

    How do we wean ourselves away from our addiction to more and more standardized testing?

    The floor is open for suggestions (I’ve done the ranting).

    John Merrow, 

    What do you think Tumbler Teachers?  Love to have you add your answers to the Stop Standardized Testing and Standardized Testing Stories Google Doc…

  5. Dr. Polakow-Suransky said the challenge was to create an additional assessment that will ‘strengthen instruction.’

    I say he ought to examine the premise of the law and challenge it, because the goal ought to be to strengthen teaching and learning. This entire exercise strikes me as a ‘gotcha game’ whose outcome will undermine the teaching profession, increase disrespect among students for schooling, and take time away from teaching and learning. It will, however, allow students to strengthen their bargaining and blackmailing skills.

    Assessments can strengthen instruction, of course. Frequent school-based tests in math, for example, can pinpoint which teachers are having difficulty getting certain concepts across; they can then learn different approaches from their more successful peers. That’s not ‘gotcha’ testing but sensible assessment with an immediate feedback loop.

  6. If memory serves, years ago a group of students at a California high school deliberately filled in incorrect answers on a test the state used to evaluate its schools, thereby guaranteeing that the school would sink in the rankings. They were upset because the principal failed to bow to their demand for a smoking area or some similar privilege.

    Whether the principal was right or wrong is immaterial. What matters is that the state had put him in that position by creating a test whose results meant nothing to those being tested — but could lead to cash bonuses for schools doing well.

  7. New entry to the Stop Standardized Testing and Standardized Testing Stories page.

    Share the impact Standardized Testing has had on your Personal life, be it as a teacher, or taking one yourself. Share stories of your class or how they have changed your teaching or the impact on your students or own children. The more stories the harder it is for policy people to hide behind numbers and data.
     
    Please either post the link to your blog or your story below… I will put together a list. and repost on Tumblr and probably the Cooperative Catalyst as often as I can! We should start to speak up about standardized testing from a personal level and share the stories of the damage these tests are doing  to our children and our teaching.

    Remember to use the #standardizedtestingstories or #stopstandardizedtesting and #education…

    Add your name or web site, the name of the article/post and the website

    1. John t spencer:  10-ways-to-fight-standardization
    2. Miss Brave Teaches NYC: i-aint-taking-no-deep-breaths
    3. Youth Voices: Students: Too many tests given; no pay for performance
    4. Gabe Pressman Testing: A Poor Excuse for Education
    5. Two Teachers and a Microphone: "More Than A Test Score."

    More Than a Test Score - Two Teachers and a Microphone (by pedagogyforyourhead)

  8. The biggest losers of these new evaluation policies, in New York and beyond, will be students. A teacher will look at each student as potential ‘value added’ or ‘value decreased’—that is, as a potential increase or decrease on the score the teacher is ultimately assigned. With his or her job dependent on those students’ test scores, this teacher will now have a set of incentives and disincentives very different than in the past. For example, I was a Spanish teacher. If I were still teaching today and faced with evaluation by test scores, I would abandon the annual trip to the Goya exhibit and I would cut out the projects that furthered student growth and enriched their understandings of language and culture. How could I dare spend the time? Everything that I would do from September to June would be preparation for a test of dubious value so that I could keep my job.

    A highly accomplished principal, Carol Burris, wrote to explain that this policy would damage education and incentivize teachers to avoid students who might drag down their “effectiveness” ratings. She wrote

    A Dark Day in New York State - Bridging Differences - Education Week

  9. May 16, 2011, was a dark day in the history of New York state. On that date, the New York State Board of Regents, once known for careful deliberation and the integrity of its standards, approved a plan to evaluate teachers by their students’ test scores. Students’ scores will count for as much as 40 percent of teachers’ evaluations. This plan has neither research nor evidence to support it. The Regents are making a gamble with the future of educational quality and with the lives of the state’s teachers.
  10. Share the impact Standardized Testing has had on your Personal life, be it as a teacher, or taking one yourself. Share stories of your class or how they have changed your teaching or the impact on your students or own children. The more stories the harder it is for policy people to hide behind numbers and data.

    Please either post the link to your blog or your story on the Google Doc (Click though)… I will put together a list every couple of days and repost on Tumblr and probably the Cooperative Catalyst!

    We should start to speak up about standardized testing from a personal level and share the stories of the damage these tests are doing  to our children and our teaching.

    Remember to use the #standardizedtestingstories or #stopstandardizedtesting and #education…

    Add your name or web site, the name of the article/post and the website

    1. John t spencer:  10-ways-to-fight-standardization
    2. Miss Brave Teaches NYC: i-aint-taking-no-deep-breaths
    3. Youth Voices: Students: Too many tests given; no pay for performance
    4. Gabe Pressman Testing: A Poor Excuse for Education
  11. Students: Too many tests given; no pay for performance | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper

    Good collection of students giving their options about testing! Remember to add your story to the Standardized Test stories google doc!

  12. Standardized Testing Stories - Google Docs

    Share the impact Standardized Testing has had on your Personal life, be it as a teacher, or taking one yourself. Share stories of your class or how they have changed your teaching or the impact on your students or own children. The more stories the harder it is for policy people to hide behind numbers and data.

    Please either post the link to your blog or your story below… I will put together a list. and repost on Tumblr and probably the Cooperative Catalyst as often as I can! We should start to speak up about standardized testing from a personal level and share the stories of the damage these tests are doing  to our children and our teaching.

    Remember to use the #standardizedtestingstories or #stopstandardizedtesting and #education…

    Add your name or web site, the name of the article/post and the website

    1. John t spencer:  10-ways-to-fight-standardization
    2. Miss Brave Teaches NYC: i-aint-taking-no-deep-breaths
    3. Youth Voices: Students: Too many tests given; no pay for performance
  13. miss brave teaches nyc: I ain't taking no deep breaths

    This brought me to tears. I encourage all Tumblr teachers to share their testing stories, be it from their class or their own person stories from testing… Please use the #Standardizedtestingstories or #StopStandardizedtesting or something along those lines… Feel free to add your link to this google doc and to share doc with anyone you know.

    THE TEST is almost upon us!  Recently I met with my principal to discuss what grade I’d like to teach next year.  After many, many hours of soul-searching I had listed second grade as my first choice on my preference sheet, but there may not be an opening, so I then spent many, many hours agonizing over whether I’d rather move to first grade or stay in third.  My principal asked me to be “completely honest” about my reservations in third grade. 
    “Well,” I said, “I’ve never done test prep before, and I’ve never had a class like this before, so getting this class through test prep has been…”
    He finished the sentence for me.  “Get me the hell out of third grade?” 
    Bingo!  I have not enjoyed doing test prep – what teacher does, really? – but I also do not believe, as some teachers do, that a solid curriculum is enough to prepare eight-year-olds to take their first standardized test without any additional “test-taking” support.  One of the highest readers in my class has committed a bubbling error on every single practice test we’ve taken.  Another one of my highest readers has raised her hand during practice tests to ask to see a dictionary.
    Then there’s Marco, an IEP student who’s reading below grade level (not dramatically, but still), whose main issue with THE TEST is just plain stress.  During countless practice sessions, I’ve turned around to find Marco with tears streaming down his face, shaking his paper at me in frustration.  Because Marco’s IEP grants him modified promotional criteria, there’s little danger that he’ll have to repeat third grade even if he does fail the test (which – fingers crossed! – probably won’t happen anyway).  But Marco doesn’t know that, and he’s starting to crack under the pressure of day after day of reading test passages that are just a little too hard for him. 
    I’ve been working on some coping strategies with him, like: If a question is getting really hard, just turn your paper over for a few seconds and take some deep breaths before you go back and read it again.  But the other day, I saw Marco’s fists starting to clench in anger.  When I got there, before I could even say a word, Marco looked up at me, waved his paper in my direction and angrily blurted: “And I ain’t taking no deep breaths!”
    Oh, THE TEST.  May our pencil points stay unbroken, our bladders empty, and our minds calm!

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