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Testing: A Modest Proposal; by former Asst. Sect'y of Education Diane Ravitch

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From flickr.com: no more tests 05.30.09 [150] | end of school
no more tests 05.30.09 [150] | end of school.... for the sum. | Flickr1024 -- 576 - 252k - jpg
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'The US is the only nation requiring standardized tests yearly from grades 3-8. The consequences attached to them stigmatize students, teachers, and schools. Teachers have been fired, &schools have been closed based on these test scores despite growing evidence that 'test-based accountability' is ineffective.There is a lobby that love$ testing: testing corporations & the Hedge Fund managers organization (Lots of money in test$!). The other is that our policymakers are still inhaling the stale fumes of  No Child Left Behind. It is hard to break away from a practice, even a bad one that has become ingrained-- and making money for privateer$ who take over 'failing schools.'  Standardized tests should not be used for high school graduation or for firing teachers or closing schools. Yet they are. Obviously, they are misused on a regular basis. So, I have a modest proposal.'

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At dianeravitch.net

 

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I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)
 

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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Here is the link to the search field at the Ravitch isite, where I entered "Standarzized Testing Failure". Below is one link of many that discuss thsee tests which are the 'ploy' responsible for making our public schools appear to be failing so they can be privatized.

William Mathis is managing director of the National Education Policy Center and vice-chair of the Vermont Board of Education. writes here about the inherent flaws of today's standardized tests.:"They claim to measure "college and career readiness." Yet, it takes no particular insight to know that being ready for the forestry program at the community college is not the same as astrophysics at MIT. Likewise, "career ready" means many different things depending upon whether you are a health care provider, a convenience store clerk, or a road foreman.

"The fundamental flaw is pretending that we can measure an educated person with one narrow set of tests. There is no one universal knowledge base for all colleges and careers. This mistake is fatal to the test-based reform theory.

"This is not to say that standardized testing should be eliminated. It is the single uniform measure across schools. But the very standardized attributes that make them valuable cause harm to those things that are truly important for our children, and our communities."

"If we redesigned our measures to address what our state constitutions and citizens tell us is important, we would concentrate on the skills that define success as a citizen, worker and human being. These which include clear and effective communication, creative and practical problem-solving, informed and integrative thinking, responsible and involved citizenship, and self-direction."

"This is not to say that standardized testing should be eliminated. It is the single uniform measure across schools. But the very standardized attributes that make them valuable cause harm to those things that are truly important for our children, and our communities."

Dr Ravitch offers this: I have only one disagreement with Mathis' keen analysis: "Given the pervasive misuse of standardized tests, our nation would benefit by having a moratorium on standardized testing of three to five years, during which time we might figure out how and when to use them, how to educate without them, and why test scores not the purpose of going to school.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 2:28:36 PM

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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Chris Churchill: For Better Schools, Ditch Standardized Testing

It's easy to think of things our kids would be better off doing. Learning reading, writing and arithmetic. Learning Urdu. Learning anything.

The tests are a time suck for teachers, too. They'll be watching over spiritless and possibly anxious classrooms of test-taking students when they should be, crazy thought here, teaching. We should want our schools alive -- with passion and joy, with laughter and curiosity, with play and learning.

Even if we swallow that baloney, there's remarkably little evidence that the national rise of high-stakes standardized testing has done anything to improve schools and learning. As far as I can tell, the only beneficiaries are the big bureaucracies that want more control over classrooms and the big corporations that provide the tests.

The tests certainly haven't benefited our kids, who, in many districts, are getting shorter recesses so teachers can spend more time in service to the looming tests. Or who, as many parents can attest, view testing days with anxiety and dread.

If the tests were just tests, they might be relatively harmless. But they epitomize something bigger: The madness that applies a production mentality to education. Everything can be neatly quantified, yes siree, not to mention automated, regulated and homogenized!

But children aren't widgets and schools aren't factories. You can't measure the success of a classroom with data points. Standardized testing tells us nothing important about how children experience school.

As most every parent and teacher knows, learning is about small moments and quiet victories. It's about relationships built on trust and even love. My God, is there anything more personal or magical or maybe even divine than teaching a small child to read?

There are things that can be measured. Teaching and caring for children are not among them.


Submitted on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 2:49:16 PM

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