How to end standardized testing?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bonnjer, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. bonnjer

    bonnjer Rookie

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    Mar 10, 2011

    After reading this article on Education Week:

    http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2011/03/duncan_82_of_schools_could_be.html

    I got to thinking...

    How can we put an end to standardized testing? Is there any kind of way that we can rid ourselves of the waste that this testing carries with it? It's to the point where I've had enough of hearing things such as those discussed in that article. 82%, really??? Doesn't that say something right there? The education system is BROKEN. I want a way for all teachers to join together and do what needs to be done...teach the kids without worrying about will this subgroup or that subgroup reach their proper level.

    So, what would it take? Really.
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Mar 10, 2011

    I'd like to know the answer to this too- if anyone has one- because I've thought and thought about it and I can't seem to think of anything good. The problem is, politicians have presented testing to the public as a way to hold schools accountable and as way to judge an effective or ineffective school. If we just took it away, there would be a public/political outrage that there is no longer any "accountability" for schools or teachers. Even if we tried to make some sort of alternate "assessment" for the public to view, it would have to be portfolios or something, which could be crafted by the teacher to look good. Don't get me wrong- I think teaching to the test (which will continue to exist as long as testing exists) is the number one problem in education today. I just can't think of a "good" way to get rid of it that the public/politicians would accept. I'd love to hear ideas from others!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 10, 2011

    The problem isn't with standardized testing.

    It's with assuming that the results of a standardized test paint the whole picture of what a student or a class of a teacher accomplishes in the course of a day or a year.

    Standardized tests are an important part of the picture, but they're only one part.
     
  5. bonnjer

    bonnjer Rookie

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    Mar 10, 2011

    True, but the focus and stress that is put on them are wayyyyyy beyond what they should be. So much revolves around them when the focus should be elsewhere. That is my concern.
     
  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 10, 2011

    I think teacher/school accountability is here to stay, but the methods of holding teachers accountable will hopefully improve. In order for the current system of assessment to be gotten rid of, a better system needs to be put in place. Hopefully that system would have:

    - More frequent assessment (reduces stress of only being one test, can show progress, can be used to improve school/classroom decision-making)

    - Results that are more immediately available (again, to facilitate instructional decision-making)

    - Measure more things - from behavior to student engagement.

    - Distinguish between teacher performance and student performance. Student performance is part of teacher performance, but not all of student performance is due to teacher performance. Likewise, there is more to teacher performance than student performance. In order for this to happen, a few things to be done: 1) Measure teacher inputs (e.g., instructional strategies selected, teacher behaviors in the classroom, opportunities to respond) through direct classroom observations; 2) Measure student behaviors known to be typically more within teacher control (e.g., engagement & on-task behavior); 3) Measure student achievement, but compare against similar teachers (same grade, same demographics, same model of special ed support, median family income of school/class, ESL/ELL composition, Title I status, school size, etc.)

    - Restructure what determines AYP to more accurately to reflect actual progress made.

    - Create classroom indices other than "% of my students who score in proficient, advanced, etc." - move toward a model of progress rather than absolute standards met.

    - Remove below basic/basic/proficient/advanced, and report achievement results in smaller increments to reflect all progress, not just categorical jumps.

    I'm sure there are more, but I truly believe that the problem with accountability isn't the concept of high standards and holding educators accountable - I think it's a way to fairly and accurately measure the work educators/schools do.
     
  7. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    Mar 10, 2011

    Has anyone considered that one huge flaw with most standardized tests is that they're often designed and written badly? Some standardized tests seem to be created by "lowest bidders," others seem to be apportioned to several subcommittees with conflicting world views, and some actually seem well conceived and executed.

    Standardized tests ARE an important tool, but they don't provide a "complete picture."

    The push to grade teachers -- based on students' performance on flawed standardized tests which only cover a subset of content standards -- is simply pushing districts and schools to implement counter-productive teaching strategies (such as "dump all science and history," and "focus only on testable and frequently-tested" standards in math and reading").

    And then, after drilling our elementary students on a subset of the content standards, we push them into middle school and high school, completely unprepared for genuine academics.


    There's a lot wrong with many of the tests; there's much more wrong with simplistic approaches to evaluating students and teachers.
     

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