Achievement Gap Closing!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by rachaelski, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Now, of course, we have to argue whether the kids are learning more or are simply becoming better at testing.
     
  4. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Then why does it still seem like the kids I see have such little knowledge in comparison to when I was in school? Not meaning to get into a huge debate (I know the OP was just trying to post good news), but when I see kids in HS who can't write a complete, grammatically correct sentence, can't tell time using a clock that's not digital, and can't identify the parts of speech, I don't think NCLB is succeeding. Maybe the achievement gap is closing, but I still feel like the achievement level is worlds away from what it was even 10 years ago!
     
  5. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Me giving the two of you raspberries! Focus on the good news! It's not perfect, but it's a start!
     
  6. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    MY kids did not know where the freaking North Pole is. I had to spend TWO class blocks on latitude and longitude because they could not understand the concepts. I felt like a total failure as a teacher, then was told by colleagues that this is NORMAL for them, at 15, to not be able to handle this stuff.

    Even after all of this, half of them still think 90 degrees north is a latitude line somewhere above the equator. They have no idea what the top of the globe is. They have illustrations in their textbook and I gave them some fabulous USGS handouts with very clear labels. AND I did a PowerPoint going through one by one.

    They also got very upset by a mapping question (during a map lap that required them to go around the room and look at ~15 different maps) that asked them to locate Egypt. Apparently nobody knows where Egypt is on a world map.

    But the one that made me want to cry is the question, using a National Parks Map, that required them to locate the Appalachian Mountains. They had no idea and were upset that they were being asked such a hard question. WE LIVE IN FREAKING VIRGINIA!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  7. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    That's part of the achievement gap issue...actually it's bigger than that. Social Studies gets neglected through elementary grades (and not necessarily at the fault of the teacher). Kids have no understanding of basic social studies skills. Kids really struggle with longitude and latitude. It's not your fault, nor is it theirs. It's just a difficult concept. Even at my current school, the best in the archdiocese academically, students struggle with SS. Our 8th graders could not correctly identify (or name) all 7 continents.
     
  8. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I think the problem with geography is that it's not part of a high stakes test. If it were, we'd have a curriculum to teach the kids how to pass that section, too.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Believe me when I tell you that this is a problem that predates NCLB, people: I deal with aspiring teachers, and sometimes it's purely terrifying.
     
  10. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Hmm. Yeah. I used to tutor people for the Praxis math. Scary indeed. Even scarier was their attitude (elementary teachers) that they didn't NEED all that math.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Absolutely!!!!

    Hi stakes testing is an attempt to FIX a problem, not the problem itself.
     
  12. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    I know what you mean. When I was going through my education courses, some of the people...you just had to shake your head, because upon meeting them the first thought that went through your mind was, "I don't ever want you teaching MY kid". Personally, the Praxis I was so easy (I thought), that if you can't pass it, maybe you should rethink your career.

    I agree with what other posters' said about it predating NCLB. I was just saying that I really wonder how successful NCLB is when students are still unable to perform basic skills - I was commenting on the fact that I think it needs to be revamped if students are still not learning the basics.

    Feel free to blow the raspberries. I think it's great that the achievement gap is closing. I also think that, whether or not the achievement gap is closing, students still aren't learning all that they should, for whatever reason.
     
  13. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Personally, my issues with the achievement gap deal with the population of students that I work with. I am a special education teacher. There will absolutely always be an achievement gap for these students. The whole idea of individualized instruction is based on that very premise. Yes we can narrow it, but it will never disappear entirely. And if it did, I would be teaching myself right out of a job...not something I wan to do, do you??

    All of our meetings, etc about achievement gap focus on the students with disabilities, with a very brief mention of the low SES population. I feel like I'm 2 inches tall in those meetings.

    I don't know what the answer is but I agree that kids seem to have lost some valuable learning along the way. There are things that I see in the standards that I didn't learn until college (or only after reading a 4th grade textbook), and yet I clearly remember being able to do certain things that HS kids can't.

    I also feel like a lot of excuses are made to try to justify the gap. I was going to be transferred (involuntarily) in the 1st district I taught in. I fully passed my praxis exams (every one with scores high enough for any state in the country, except OR) on the first try, even took more than needed. I held proper certification for the job, and I was going to have to give up desk, and prime spot in classroom to a teacher who had tried 3 times & still hadn't passed. (Deference was given to her b/c she had been there a year already, so I was going to have to move into her room in the corner.) That's wrong. I was the fully certified teacher, I should have been given the lead, and she should have been bumped to traveling status, IMO. So I left that district.
     
  14. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Closing the achievement gap has nothing to do with teaching yourself out of a job. There will always be special education, on both sides of the gap. The achievement gap is the disparity between achievement of white children vs. the achievement of people or color, which often translates to SES. As long as there is a gap in SES there is going to be an achievement gap. There will always be kids without books in their home, or kids who have parents who are at work and cannot help them with their homework.

    The goal is to narrow that gap through measures like improved teachers (and incentives for staying in the "rough" public school), extended days/school year (more time to catch up/less knowledge lost), and relationship building with teachers (positive role models for the students).

    Personally, I think we need to start at the very beginning. Get the younger kids in "the gap" those extra measures early on. Perhaps not an extended day, but certainly an extended school year. Teachers need to take advantage of programs like FirstBook, that gets books in kids hands to keep. After school programs that are academically based, homework help and discovery projects.
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    So what's changed between when I was in school (b/c I CAN name the 7 continents) and now? We didn't have all of the high stakes testing we do know, but we were required to test in 3rd and 10th grade.
     
  16. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    In my opinion, teacher quality is a HUGE issue. A to Z company excluded, there are a lot of BAD teachers out there.

    Secondly, the shift from a play-based K to an academic-based K seems to be a HUGE issue. In public schools, part of the battle is behavior and engagement. Kids, especially those coming from chaotic households, need to be taught to play and socialize. Kids are learning in K what we learned in 1st grade. We may assume that a year earlier of academic education would be good for the students and help close the gap, but the kids need to learn social skills! There is current research to support the importance of play-based education.

    Testing is important, but it has definitely impacted education in positive and negative ways. Those bad teachers I mentioned above are the ones who teach to the test (the bad way), do not focus on extending learning, and suck the creativity out of teaching and learning.
     
  17. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Well, I can only speak for social studies, but that HAS changed since I was in school (not terrifically long ago, but obviously prior to NCLB). As another poster said, social studies has hit the backburner. Our district no longer teaches a geography course at the middle school level, claiming "oh, other teachers should be hitting that stuff anyway".

    Then, to make that "better" [insert rolling eyes here], once the kids hit high school, the only required courses are US History, and US Government. NEITHER World History, or World Geography, are required anymore... so the kids can fit more math and English in.

    Now, I'm not against learning more math and English... but not at the expense of other equally important content. But alas, social studies isn't on our tests here. And so we regularly graduate students who have NEVER taken a geography course, and who haven't seen a world history course since they were 11. Yay for us.

    No wonder they can't find the continents. Nobody ever asked them to....
     
  18. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    That is a complete tragedy.
     
  19. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Obviously different locales have different definitions of achievement gap. Here absolutely every single PD/meeting about closing the gap focuses on students with disabilities. It's the focus when the report card comes back and that's the group not making AYP. The reference of 100% proficient is made frequently (spec ed students cannot be expected to be 100% proficient...if they were there WOULD NOT be a need for spec ed, and therefore WOULD NOT be a need for a spec ed teacher...hence my reference to teaching myself out of a job.

    Granted I do teach in a non minority location. Out of 1300 (K-12)students, we probably have less than 15 non-white. Definitely not a subgroup. Our spec ed population is much larger (with 60-70 students K-5 alone with IEPs), and most definitely a subgroup. We are in an economically disadvantaged area, but it's rural, not urban. Differences are there.

    Also, I did not read the article so I'm not making any references to it at all, just posting my personal feelings toward this trend in education.
     
  20. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    BTW, sorry Rachaelski, for somewhat turning this topic around.

    If teacher quality is a big part of the issue, then shouldn't we be looking at what has changed in the past say 20 years? Yes, we have wonderful things like differentiated instruction and technology. However, if the teachers are not as good as they used to be, why not? I'm not sure how old the Praxis is, but I am under the impression that it is not that old. If teachers before did not have any tests they had to pass in order to become teachers, one would think that now that we have them, we would be weeding out more of the bad teachers. Why not?

    I feel like, while NCLB is wonderful in theory, it's actually missing the mark. Instead, we should be researching why students are lacking in fundamental areas. Is it bad teachers? Is it the movement from play-based kindergarten? Is it too much high-stakes testing? Yes, there are factors that we can say definitely changed, society and parental involvement being among them. The question is, with all the efforts we are making, why are we still missing the mark? Even if we close the achievement gap, we still have students who lack fundamental knowledge and basic skills that 20 years ago they had. Shouldn't we be focusing more on why this is occurring across the board (and not just due to the achievement gap)? Shouldn't we be trying to fix the decline in education overall first, and then when we've figured out why that happened, trying to fix it AND close the achievement gap at the same time? Sorry for getting philosophical, but I think this is important.
     
  21. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    krysmorgsu,

    No worries, you make very good points. My teaching career began in public school, in a district that was about 87% minorities and about the same receiving free lunch. My school was 96% free lunch and 100% minorities. Today, I am teaching at a school that is known as the best catholic school in ABQ (middle/upper class white and hispanic students). My kids are, on average, about 2.5 years above their grade level in reading and math (whereas my previous students were 2.0 below grade level). The difference is astounding. What's the difference?

    Clearly, SES was a difference. My kids in Memphis were good kids who wanted to learn though. My current school has a great mix of veteran teachers and new blood. Teachers who want to be teachers. Those early childhood years are STABLE. Learning is made to be fun. Public schools are often a revolving door. Teachers need support and profession time. Teachers at this school get double planning time and free lunch time (usually 1 day a week teachers have lunch duty). Teachers have time to breathe at my current school. The school I was at last year I had breakfast duty, lunch duty, on top of 4 preps a day.

    My current school does Iowa testing every year, from 3rd grade on. I suppose that parallels with high stakes testing (at least from student perspective). However, that testing is not the focus, the kids are.

    You are right, we have a lot of problems to fix. All which you mentioned and also the disparity among stakes. After teaching in Tennessee, Ohio, and New Mexico I can tell you that there is great variety in what was expected of our students. They are the innocent victims here. If you put a publicly educated kid from Ohio, Tennessee, and New Mexico against each other and gave them a standardized test, there is a remarkable difference between the rigor of the Tennessee test and Ohio (haven't encounters NM yet). The TN kid would not be able to compete.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, everyone, pick up your rocks.

    I think we need to look at tenure.

    I've seen too many teachers who rest on their laurels because they can. They know that, as long as they keep their hands off the kids, they have a job for life regardless of their performance in the class. As a result, they no longer put in the effort they showed those first three years. And for the kids who end up in their classes, that's a problem.

    I think we need to place a far greater emphasis on content mastery in our teachers as well. Teachers should know a whole lot more about any topic they're teaching than their students. To me that seems to be an incredibly obvious point. Yet often we find that it's not the case, and that frightens me a LOT.

    I think that education has to be the primary focus of the classroom. I read a lot about lots of other priorities. Our kids are there to be educated. All the other stuff is secondary. So, yes, I'm very much in favor of a "return to basics." As much as I want my children to love their classes, I'm much more in favor of them getting a great education. It's about education, not entertainment. If that means less community building and more grammar, then I can live with that. Fewer parties and more memorization of times table, fine.

    I think that memorization has become a bad word, and I don't understand why. Sure, it's boring. Again, I can live with that. But there remains a body of knowledge that kids should know at certain ages. And understanding that letters compose words is nice, but you've also got to get the whole ABC sequence. Understanding that multiplication is repeated addition is great, but it won't help you factor unles you know that 6x7=42.

    I look back to my own education-- classes of 53 for my first 8 years, no technology at all, no hot lunches, a parking lot as a playground-- and I pity the kids of today. They're receiving a grand entertainment, but so many are not receiving an education. They don't know a noun from a verb, they have no idea of the "big picture" beyond their own backyards. They think that proofreading means hitting the "spellcheck" button on their computers, and are unable to entertain themselves if they aren't connected to something electronic. Far too many have lost the ability to think .. to put together old ideas in a new way.
     
  23. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Alice, I agree with you on most points...besides the grammar issue. A publicly educated kid all my life, considered "gifted" from an early age, I did not have a true understanding of what a "verb" or "noun" was until I was in my first year of graduate school in a Vietnamese class. Sure, I could underline a verb and noun in a sentence, but I could not tell you what it is. Today, I teach grammar in context--talk about an interesting sentence, identify what we like about it, and a natural conversation about that sentence happens.

    I am all about memorization, especially at basic levels of math, but not for education as a whole.

    The "other stuff" you mention is important, especially if you are in public schools. I have now experienced the public/private difference, and there is a great difference in behavior and engagement (many reasons, but I think the main one is parent involvement or appreciation) in the types of schools. I don't have to engage my students today the same way I did in public schools (I still do to some extent, because I think it is important)- my kids are much more self-motivated. In many public schools, you have to show the kids WHY they should want to learn. It doesn't have to take a long time, but a 5 minute lead in.

    I think we are often speaking of the same thing in different ways. When you walk into my classroom, the kids are working before the bell rings, and we do not waste a minute in the classroom. The kids are working all the time. However, I allow them opportunities to choose their journey - writing topics, reading books, and even their seats.
     
  24. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Oh, and I definitely agree about the teachers getting comfortable and stagnating. Education changes, much like the factory technology for building a car changes. As a teacher, we also have to be learners. It burns me up when teachers don't bother to keep themselves invested in educational methods and thought.
     
  25. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Where I attended K-12, these were the required courses for history:
    World History
    US History I (Colonization to End of Civil War)
    US History II (Reconstruction to wherever the teacher can get to (Usually WW2))

    A geography class was never offered.

    First time I had to do geography of any sort was last spring in one of my college history courses.
     
  26. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    They do not know geography. I had a junior one time that told me she spent the weekend in the Pacific Ocean. We live in Louisiana and this was Monday and she had been in school on Wednesday so I decided to probe a little more. She was actually in the Atchaflaya Basin at her grandparent's camp. She had slways thought that it was the Pacific Ocean.
     
  27. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Alice and Rachaelski, you both make very good points. As someone who is highly grammar oriented, it's not that they don't know technical terms that bothers me. It's that they don't understand the difference. If it was only a matter of me saying, "This is what a noun is. Here are some examples," and they got it, I'd be fine with it. The problem is that they don't get it: they don't truly understand the difference. They can't recognize the difference between grammatically correct and incorrect sentences. I'd be ok if they could recognize what's wrong, even if they couldn't articulate it in the correct terminology. The problem is, they can't even do that! As another Latin teacher once said to me, "Grammar is everything. If you don't understand it, how can you write well? Or speak well? In otherwords, you can't communicate effectively without it." Call a noun a thingamabob for all I care; just be able to use one correctly.

    To me, this shows some of the problems. Rachaelski, I'm sure that while you didn't know the technical terms noun and verb, you wouldn't write a sentence, "Because he liked it." Whether or not our students are learning the technicals of education the same way we did, they are still not learning the concepts and application. I do think memorization and a lack of critical thinking skills are part of it. Memorization should not be a dirty word. When they become adults, they will have tasks that they need to memorize the steps for and things that they need to apply critical thinking skills to. By not training them now to do these things, by not working their brains, so to speak, we are doing them a huge disservice (educators in general, not the people here).

    As far as the tenure question, is tenure relatively new? Was it easier to fire a lazy or ineffective teacher when we were growing up? If that's true, then yes, tenure is a problem. If it's not, then what changed to make many tenured teachers like this?

    I think a return to basics IS necessary. Yes, the "entertainment" part of education can be really beneficial to students. However, isn't part of it buying into the idea that students have low attention spans, and that they won't do something they're not interested in? We shouldn't be sacrificing good education for these things. Again, when students grow up, won't many of them be required to do things they would find boring or tedious in jobs? Most bosses are not going to say, "oh, don't do the monthly reports because they're boring," or "don't do the monthly reports because they're on paper, and not filled with videos and audio". Students need to learn to improve their attention spans. Not everything in life is a video game or a tv show. Some things will just plain take time and hard work. Not everything in life is interesting. I find paying my bills and balancing my checkbook boring. Does that mean the gas company won't turn me off because I didn't find my bills interesting enough to bother paying them? Nope. Students should also be learning that sometimes you just have to buckle down and do the hard work, whether or not you like it. I don't think we are doing kids any favors by not instilling these values in them while they are in school. Especially since, with the low parental involvement and the changes in society, they won't learn it anywhere else.
     
  28. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    krys~I think that's the important piece of all this and what will finally (hopefully) turn education around...is when these students get into the work force and can't perform up to par, business people are going to start wondering what these kids are learning in school, and hopefully if the government won't listen to teachers, they'll listen to the business people that make this country go round. We're not doing our students any favors, nor this country, when we don't make them accountable for due dates, grades, etc.
     
  29. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sad, but true. I just hope that they don't still keep teachers out of the loop. We are the ones in the trenches every day. We see what is happening. We should certainly be in on the conversation of what is wrong and how to fix it. Letting administrators, business people, and politicians decide how we should educate children - without any input from us - is a huge mistake. Even though many administrators were once teachers, most haven't taught in years. The see data - not how things really play out in the classroom. I just hope this happens sooner rather than later.
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that if that were going to happen, it already would have.

    Remember, there was a time when colleges didn't have to offer non-credit remedial courses for students who didn't know high school math and English. And there was a time when big business didn't have to explain their benefits packages to mommies and daddies of their new hires.
     
  31. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    :rofl: I shouldn't, but I can't help it!

    I think another issue is the pressure to pass students, whether or not they have mastered the material. It seems like a lot of teachers are pressured into passing students who should fail. Sometimes, students NEED to be held back. For some, they need the kick in the arse to apply themselves and become motivated (I would argue that they are not emotionally mature enough to move on). For most, though, they are not yet developmentally ready to move on. They should not pass a grade for just being present, as seems to be the trend today. Yes, they shouldn't be held back for not mastering one concept, but if they haven't shown proficiency for the majority of the course, then they should not move on. If a student who cannot add gets moved to the next grade level, are we to expect that they will become proficient in multiplication? This makes it harder on the student, damages their self-esteem, and also makes it harder on the teacher, because they cannot stop the class to focus on one student. The student needs that extra year to master the material. As a society, we used to understand this. Why we switched to the belief that everyone should be in the same grade based on age and not ability is beyond me.
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  33. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Of course, the days in which colleges didn't have to consider remedial math or English classes were also the days of student bodies that were much more dependably well-heeled and white and of young men cheerfully accepting the "gentlemen's C's" that they earned through writing stilted but formally correct prose that was largely devoid of insight.

    What makes all of this so difficult to sort out is that everything in education really does depend on everything else. Having something to say and having the means to say it are inextricably linked. Reading is pointless without a purpose for reading. Reading without background knowledge and reading without connecting to matter outside the reading are both vacuous. Classes with subject-matter labels really are reading classes at bottom: classes in learning the vocabulary of the discipline but also its grammar and its discourse forms so as to be able to comprehend and to begin to construct discussions in that discipline's language. And they are classes in learning to think and reason. If I suggest that this is as true of subjects in Alice's bailiwick - say, geometry - as it is of the subdisciplines of literature, I am willing to bet she will agree.

    Expecting fourth graders to do well on state tests of reading and math without a decent background in the rest of the subject matter appropriate to fourth grade is insane: no one ever, anywhere, has written a text worth reading that didn't somehow call on and reward background knowledge. Here I do not blame NCLB per se, but rather the desperate searches on state and local levels for "magic bullets" - for packaged programs that will guarantee higher scores for students no matter who or what stands in front of the classroom.

    If I ran the world, I'd keep the idea of standardized state testing, but I'd rewrite the state tests to reflect the interplay of skills and knowledge, and I'd get rid of almost everything that's explicit test preparation.

    (Alice, I bet they'll now throw more rocks at me than at you.)
     
  34. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Oct 4, 2009

    No rocks, you make valid points. I too think there is a place for standardized testing. I think it is important for teachers and students. Test data can give teachers invaluable information about how and what to teach (and I just don't mean standardized tests).

    Today, we have a larger percentage of first-in-their-family college freshman. They are going to need more support than those who have family members with a college education. That's not to say that they come to college completely prepared, but the colleges should be prepared to support the students they are accepting.

    I mentioned this briefly, but I think a HUGE issue is that there is not standardization among standardized tests. The test in Tennessee is much easier, with lower level thinking questions (and entirely multiple choice), than Ohio. In all subjects for Ohio's tests there is a writing component and questions that require higher level thinking. I am not sure for New Mexico, since I am in the catholic schools system, but I HEARD that NM was saying FU to traditional standardized tests and doing portfolio based standardized testing. Three states, three different expectations for students. The kids, specifically in TN for this example, are the losers.
     
  35. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    Oct 4, 2009

    Unfortunately the achievement gap is closing because what used to be considered the "bar" (white students) are not being taught at the same level any more. So in reality, the bar has been lowered.

    When I was in high school, I took 1 year of Biology 2, Chem 1 & 2, and my senior year Physics. Also required to take 4 years of math and I had a very strong ss background. We were taught the continents in 1st and 2nd grade, also the 50 states, capitals, etc. Fortunately my ds also have had a strong background where they were taught/learned to explore. Unfortunately, it didn't happen via the public school system. I was and still am surprised at the differences in what is expected.
     
  36. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 4, 2009

    Dallas-now in 1st grade they are learning about communities and rules and laws. So the states and whatnot get pushed off to the side.
     
  37. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 4, 2009

    TG, I'm pretty sure there are enough rocks to go around. And, yes, of course I agree.

    We've got to teach our kids to THINK,not just react. And, as much as we hate the thought, those high stakes tests are the only measure anyone has come up with to attempt to gauge that abilty. Admittedly, it's badly flawed, but no one to date has come up with a better subjective method.
     
  38. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    I completely agree. What stands out to me the most about this is my own experiences. I went to Catholic grade school, for grades 1-4. My mom couldn't afford it anymore, so she put me in public school for 5th grade. Mind you, this was a decent public school - urban, but in a safe neighborhood, which was middle-class. In 5th grade, we were going to a Math lab once a week to learn fractions - which I had learned in either 3rd or 4th grade. All of the work was easy to me. In fact, I was BORED. I went from a straight A student to a C student because I wasn't challenged. I was two years ahead of my peers there, and (keep in my mind, I was a child) I didn't care about school anymore because I felt that I wasn't learning anything. The result? My mom found a way to afford Catholic school for me the next year, and all the years after. I quickly was back to being an A student, because I was challenged. In addition, I had to borrow textbooks from my Catholic grade school over the summer, because now I was behind. As far as the Social Studies comments go, one thing I remember is that in 5th grade the Catholic school had to memorize all the states and capitals. I never did, because that was my public school year.

    This huge difference between the education one receives in public school vs. parochial (and private) schools should not exist, and it certainly should not be as vast as it is. Similarly, students in different states should be learning the same things.
     
  39. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 4, 2009

    I work with a science teacher who actually requires her students to think..the classes are so much fun with no discipline issues. She's the kind of teacher I aspire to be.
     
  40. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    Oct 12, 2009

    Like Dallasteacher, I worry that sometimes the "achievement gap" is being closed by letting the achievement level of the top students go down, not just by raising the bottom level. Someday, some of the top students will discover innovations that provide jobs for everyone else. (There is a reason that, in the US, we have www.sitename.com and not www.sitename.com.us--the US is the default position) As a nation, we cannot afford to have our top students lacking educational opportunities.

    Any improvement in the the educational attainment of traditionally lower-scoring students is definately a great thing. We just have to make sure that everybody is going up.
     
  41. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 12, 2009

    I'm curious about the comment on teachers being worse than in the past. I don't think that is true. I think as a profession we are becoming more critical of our practices. One BIG difference is that currently we are supporting the kids who previously would have been kicked out so I'd say there are far more kids at a basic level in our schools now - I see this as a good thing - but it does present some unique challenges.
     

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