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4 Replies to “Chad Aldeman On Annual Assessment”
Fourth and eighth grade achievement scores of black, Hispanic and low-income students have never been higher. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high. And researchers repeatedly link No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on traditionally underperforming groups to real improvements in schools around the country.
Black And Hispanic Students Are Making Meaningful Gains, But It’s Hard To Tell
By MIKHAIL ZINSHTEYN
Political leaders are fond of saying the United States is in an education crisis.
The U.S. is often shown to be losing ground internationally. We revisit a Sputnik moment every time international test scores are released, and some of the Sturm und Drang over our decline is a response to America’s middling ranking among other wealthy countries. However, the U.S. has historically underperformed on such cross-national comparisons. We came in 11 out of 12 on the first international assessment of math in 1964, for instance.
“People like the simple story,” said Jack Buckley, the head of research at the College Board, who previously led the U.S. Department of Education’s research arm. “And the simple story is we’re treading water while the others are pushing ahead of us. I think [that] is the narrative of the times.”
But the truth is more complicated than the image of a U.S. education system stuck in the mire. And by one important measure, the nation’s students have been improving at a steady pace for decades.
And look at this chart:
I’m amazed at how many seemingly intelligent people accept these tests as valid and reliable! Haven’t they read about the frenzied misuse and invalidation (as in cheating or “gaming”) of these tests over the last twenty years? These tests have told us NOTHING about the progress of our students and all research based on them is totally invalid.
As a mother and teacher I depended on the standardized tests each year to advise me on the achievement levels of my children/students, especially when compared to children of the same age throughout the country. However, if we want that kind of information we need to find a way to administer these tests in a way that preserves their validity and reliability.
My suggestion is for the US government to administer tests similar to the NAEP for the purposes of measurement and research (no peeking!). All other tests should be administered by teachers and schools and results should be available only to parents and teachers.
As for evaluating teachers, that will take other knowledgeable professionals who are familiar with the SCHOOL progress of every child in a teacher’s class. As of now, there is no two-dollar group test that can give us that kind of information.
The use of standardized testing seem to be driving our work field. With the implementation of Common Core and TKES, teachers are now being evaluated on how well each student progresses on these standardized testing. The problem that I have with this is that students have a lack of motivation to take these tests. When you are giving the tests at the beginning of April, students have many more things on their mind other than taking a standardized test all week. Another problem discipline among students who are taking the test. What if they refuse to take it? Will I be held accountable, because my student didn’t show progress? How will this affect my scores on my evaluation?
There are many questions I have with standardized testing to determine the future of students and teachers. As a student, I was not the one to perform well on test. I suffered from test anxiety and constantly worried about my performance. I did not always excel in every part of the test, but my grades were always above average. The methods that are being developed seem to put teachers in a lose-lose situation. I think our government should set teachers and students up for success.
Well, I’m always willing to listen but I hope motives aren’t askew. Chad Aldeman says a great deal about testing and the need for testing. He seems to equate the test with progress and learning. The blind spot that seems to always creep in to these conversations is that somehow, without the test, teaching and learning apparently grind to a halt. What I am seeing from the principal’s chair is a great deal of competition for students amongst public and private schools. There is an accountability factor built in that goes well beyond a test score.
That old dog Clinton probably has it right in thinking about a test each at elementary, middle and high school. Especially when looking at California high school, we have other metrics, including the High School Exit Exam (February of 10th grade), the PSAT (which we pay for) for all 10th graders in October, and the slew of AP exams all through high school that we encourage all to sit for. These kids are tested and retested. In good schools (and we have a preponderance of good to great schools), the students are learning and inquiring. They are not encouraged to love learning by standardized tests and despite Aldeman’s claims, they do not produce better teaching.
It might also be worth exploring more about Mr. Aldeman and the resources behind Bellwether Education Partners. He is quick to point out the “liberals” at the Center for American Progress, but not so clear about the motives of Bellwether. Common Core, whether you despise it or believe it is the new tonic of American education, has bred a mushroom cloud of non-profits, some well-meaning and some factories for test sponsors and the runaway profits of consultancy. Follow the link below but more importantly, check them out for yourself.