1. ailedubooks:

    What book should every Teacher read?

    @savytrufle said: Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade by Linda Perlstein

    Summery:

    A “vivid, unpredictable, fair, balanced and … very entertaining” look at how education reforms have changed one typical American elementary school over the course of a year (Jay Mathews, The Washington Post)

    The pressure is on at schools across America. In recent years, reforms such as No Child Left Behind have created a new vision of education that emphasizes provable results, uniformity, and greater attention for floundering students. Schools are expected to behave more like businesses and are judged almost solely on the bottom line: test scores.

    To see if this world is producing better students, Linda Perlstein immersed herself in a suburban Maryland elementary school, once deemed a failure, that is now held up as an example of reform done right. Perlstein explores the rewards and costs of that transformation, and the resulting portrait—detailed, human, and truly thought-provoking—provides the first detailed view of how new education policies are modified by human realities. 

    Find it here

    Have not read this one, but adding it to my summer reading list. Love books that showcase a year in the life of schools.

    -Adventures in Learning

    Reblogged from: ailedubooks
  2. Standardized Testing Is Blamed for Question About a Sleeveless Pineapple - NYTimes.com

    A reading passage included this week in one of New York’s standardized English tests has become the talk of the eighth grade, with students walking around saying, “Pineapples don’t have sleeves,” as if it were the code for admission to a secret society.

    The passage is a parody of the tortoise and the hare story, the Aesop’s fable that almost every child learns in elementary school. Only instead of a tortoise, the hare races a talking pineapple, and the moral of the story — more on that later — is the part about the sleeves.

    While taking the test, baffled children raised their hands to say things like, “This story doesn’t make sense.”

  3. What Would Gandhi Do? « Cooperative Catalyst

    I propose education civil disobedience. We should just keep our children home on testing days. Or if we must send them to school so we can work, teach them to refuse to take the exams.

    Yes, it can have a disastrous effect on a school’s AYP if not enough students take the exam. If it happens in one school no one will notice.

    If it happens in all the schools in a district people will begin to notice.

    And if it happens in a lot of districts our educational leaders will have a decision to make.

    They can try to enforce the laws and punish parents, students and schools for the boycott.

    Or they can take their ball of data and go away.

    At least for a while.

  4. When it gets to the point that 10 year olds are telling me they are worrying about test scores at night, before they go to bed, something is wrong with the system and the intent of the tests, in my mind. (Not that I don’t think something is wrong with the emphasis on multiple choice tests as the sole measure of their knowledge, anyway, but when it affects kids’ sleep, it’s really wrong!)
  5. Grit In The Gap: Obligatory rant against standardized tests

    polygonal-lasso:

    gritinthegap:

    Are these easy days for General Ed? Like, you just get to give them tests and watch them take it? Maybe the grass is just greener on that side, but let me just say, that testing season is absolute torture for Special Ed.

    Let’s take kids who can’t pay attention or focus for more than five minutes…

    I was just having this conversation today with a couple of the social workers in the school. Back in the 70s when children with disabilities started being “mainstreamed” (whereas they were routinely excluded from public education beforehand), the hope seems to have been that (1) it would force schools to provide proper accommodations for them, (2) give more power to parents in participating in those decisions, and (3) help people, especially youth, understand disabled persons such that they would be more accepted by society. Which, to some extent, makes sense.

    But at the same time, what we were wondering was if this you-are-just-like-everyone-else approach ignores some of the realities of these students’ conditions. We have a ton of IEP students in our school, and for a lot of them, they’re really not doing well, and they’re completely lost. It’s sad to watch. For a lot of them, I do think some sort of “self-contained” environment would be better for them. That being said, I would say the same for a lot of our non-IEP students that are struggling as well. I guess in the end, all kids could probably benefit from some regular individual attention and time when it comes to education.

    And I wonder, just generally, how good or bad it is to have IEP students clearly aware of their situations. As an example, I have a step-sister who has Down Syndrome, whom I will call Anne. My dad’s girlfriend also has a son with Down Syndrome, whom I will call Brandon. Anne has been fully aware all of her life that she has DS. She references it a lot and seems often to act within the boundaries of what we all think when we imagine DS. At the same time, Brandon, while somewhat aware of this, has always gone under the assumption that he is mostly like everyone else. He has three older, relatively successful brothers, and has always been allowed to do everything they can. But now, he is at a point where he wants to drive, like all of his brothers can. Because of the DS, he can’t. And it’s hard for him to understand why he can’t. Anne will never have this problem because she knows the extent of her disability. But for all we know, there are other things she could do that she doesn’t even attempt to do in recognition of possibly false limitations.

    (If anyone’s wondering, “Anne” will soon be graduating high school and is working with her family and school to find employment where she can gain work skills. “Brandon” has graduated and will be going to George Mason University. They have a program there for disabled students that his family believes will suit his needs while still giving him a college experience.)

    Neither of these situations is ideal, I don’t think. But then how do we design a system of education to strike a balance between the two? I don’t really know. Another toughie for the education log. 

  6. 10 Ways to Fight Standardization « Cooperative Catalyst

    Lunatic Approach

    1. Reconfigure your class: I use groups, allow for movement and create specialized centers that students can go to at any moment. My students paint classroom murals and works of art on classroom canvases. All of these are small, subtle steps toward humanizing our classroom environment.
    2. Teach the Reality of Tests: I tell my kids about the rigged system they are up against. Many of them have written letters speaking out against these injustices.
    3. Speak Out: I talk to parents, district office representatives and the larger blogging community about my feelings regarding standardization. I’ve written a book and a guest article for the Washington Post blog.
    4. Be Bold: When people told me that students needed to hand-write all drafts before using our classroom blog, I defiantly refused. When a curriculum specialist once told me that we couldn’t do a documentary, because it wasn’t “real learning,” I told her I would rather lose my job than give up the project. There is a time when teachers need to stand up and say, “Okay, write me up. Fire me. Go ahead. This is too valuable of a learning experience to give up.”
    5. Provide an Alternative: While it’s easy to bust on professional development, the lunatic can articulate a crazy vision of a better method of teacher learning (such as a PLN). Similarly, a teacher who hates standardized tests needs to have a list of alternative assessments that work better. In a Waiting for Superman world, it’s key that we create a non-standard, alternative story that will be more compelling, authentic and inspiring than what’s currently being peddled by the press.
  7. Standardized Testing Stories - Google Docs

  8. 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.

    I started this last year and wanted to invite more teachers and students and parents to share their stories.

    Leave a link or a paragraph….

    Or just share the tag!

    Agree or not, Standardized Testing is the focus of much of the next month of school for millions of teachers and students. Shining a light on what is happening in the classroom will help to paint a more full picture of the impact of standardized testing.

    I am just hosting this conversation, please feel free to adapt it or promote it any way you feel best serves it.

    -adventures in learning

  9. Grit In The Gap: Obligatory rant against standardized tests

    gritinthegap:

    Are these easy days for General Ed? Like, you just get to give them tests and watch them take it? Maybe the grass is just greener on that side, but let me just say, that testing season is absolute torture for Special Ed.

    Let’s take kids who can’t pay attention or focus for more than five minutes…

    Reblogged from: gritinthegap
  10. 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…

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

Adventures in Learning

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