I'll start he new testing thread

Discussion in 'General Education' started by swansong1, May 29, 2015.

  1. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 29, 2015

    Here is the article that is raising good discussion on another thread:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/...stakes-testing

    I have used portfolios with SPED students with success. My students who can't test well because they are way below grade level in reading skills can develop portfolios that actually showcase their skills. They still won't pass standardized testing will show evidence of at least a years growth on their portfolios.
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'm breaking my posts up into the four different options.

    When a system believes that it has very little to do with the progress and success of students (unless they are doing very well), it doesn’t matter what system is used for accountability.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sampling
    If accountability was tied to NAEP, you would see more people complaining about the testing. States that score low on NAEP have always made comments about the test being the issue not that their standards or their schools being the issue. With additional accountability in a model such as NAEP that sampled within ever school, the complaints of the current accountability system would still exist. The test or the students would be blamed for poor results. Pros: Not every child has to take the tests every year. That’s about all I can think of for pros.
    Cons: The cost of developing the tests is still the same.
    Cost of implementing is still high.
    It still interrupts the scheduling of students. Students will miss classroom learning when taking the test unless the class eliminates instruction while the sample is testing.
    It lends itself to schools manipulating samples.
    It still will have schools claiming the problem was with the students in the random sample not giving enough effort or having anxiety, etc if the results are low. That will not go away.
    It does not ensure that all teachers have students in the sample. An ineffective teacher can do a lot of damage.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Stealth assessment

    We already have many complaining about the requirement to use certain curriculums. Many equate the curriculums with the standards and create false arguments about the standards because they don’t like the curriculum.

    Stealth assessment would require schools to use particular software across the state (or nation) if we want true standardization of stealth assessments.
    Someone would have to be in charge of determining which questions are chosen to evaluate the student. The software is either used at home or in class, but it is still subject to student motivation and effort like any other task a person does. Low scorers would then be blamed for the low scoring regardless of how well others do in the class.

    Also, if using school computers because not all students have access to computers at home, teachers could manipulate results by help and methods used in the classroom. Priming students with information, having resources available for them to see to help them answer questions will skew the results giving false assessment of what they could do independently which is the end result we should all be hoping for – not if they will have a calculator, internet to search how to do a problem, or a phone a friend to help answer the questions can skew the stealth assessments.

    Also, students will know that their work will be assessed using these tools which means every time they use these tools those prone to perfectionism and anxiety will have to face the anxiety of not knowing which problem will be chosen to assess them.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Multiple measures
    “graduation rates, discipline outcomes, demographic information, teacher-created assessments and, eventually, workforce outcomes”
    Graduation rates are already skewed by manipulation of grades and alternate ways of graduating. Discipline outcomes are already being manipulated by not addressing behavior issues. Demographic information allows for the continual low expectations of particular groups. Teacher created assessments are based on the effectiveness of the teachers which is what the current standardized testing is supposed to be trying to show. Workforce outcomes would be a near impossible thing to measure.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Social and Emotional Skills Survey

    I don't even know where to start with that one.....

    We can't properly evaluate effort (although many think they can). I know all too many students who work very hard but have poor quality work product due to lack of skills or ability. Shoddy work product is often used as THE sign of effort. Being able to produce is often used as THE sign of effort. Often times there is more to the picture. The accurate and beautiful project is often done with much less effort but the student has the knowledge and skills to produce high-quality work.

    Engagement? We've all seen the complaints about how evaluations of teachers will mark them down on engagement and the uproar that causes.

    Game based assessments - not ready for prime-time at the moment.

    Portfolios can be gamed. I know swansong that you said you used them with success, but what does success mean? Also I know of a state that used them falsely and to the advantage of the teachers and at the expense of the students. Could you imagine a student years behind being rated as advanced getting the proper help when the "portfolio" showed grade level? No, we have seen how portfolios can be manipulated and were manipulated for the gain of massive numbers of teachers. I AM NOT in any way suggesting you are doing this, swansong1. I am just pointing out how it was tried and failed miserably. The accountability caused the teachers to cheat by manipulating the portfolios.

    Inspections:
    I've had this conversation with others many times. When it comes to outsiders coming in and giving poor evaluations, the outsider is to blame. The arguments revolve around how much experience they have, their allegiances, etc. Outsiders giving poor results are always to blame. Heck, when administrators give poor results they get blamed too. This would be no different - just ask DC teachers. They hated the outside evaluations and claimed they were unfair.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    All in all, when it comes down to accountability, no system will be deemed good. I will say that inspections probably hurt the students the least in the long run. So, if that is the primary goal, that would be the way to go.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

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    I have several sped students whose caseworkers claim the kids "don't test well" on standardized tests. I absolutely agree. But they don't test well throughout the semester.

    Some don't test well because they can't read. Some because they get nervous (I suspect this is a VERY small number). Some don't test well because they don't know the material.

    I've had case workers ask me to develop a portfolio for the kids to replace all tests. I won't. I haven't seen a portfolio that can accurately assess accomplishment in our state standards. Sure, kids can look something up in a book and copy it down.

    One caseworker, who feeds the kids answers during pull-out testing, says that a kid "just lacks comprehension!" Yes, I agree. That's why he is failing. Giving him a portfolio would mean he would draw some pictures, quote the textbook and consider himself done.

    Years ago my school would offer up portfolios for students that failed the standardized tests. Teachers would accumulate worksheet packets throughout the year and that would count as their portfolio. I never understood how that was any different than just turning in the binder of class notes - shows the same level of proficiency.
     
  10. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    My district piloted the use of portfolios at the kindergarten level in lieu of standardized testing the show student growth. Student growth counts as 35% of our evacuation score. As a result there were some teachers who essentially cheated. They submitted work that was not authentic, meaning student a did it, but it was submitted for student b, c, and d. There was also a report of teachers intentionally leaving out students and not including a portfolio for them. We were to include all students who where enrolled before the funding cut ff date, the first 20 days of school. Because this was a pilot the scores didn't cout, but the teachers were disciplined. Because of my experience, I can see how portfolios can be used to show student growth. The problem is its too easy to inflate a student's performance. Those who grade the portfolio will have to be vigilant to find inconsistencies.
     
  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Portfolios shouldn't be about entirely demonstrating mastery of standards. I think they are great for showing GROWTH. We want kids to GROW throughout the year, right? Some of them just aren't going to hit a certain benchmark. Some will exceed the benchmark. We have to stop making kids feel like failures because they missed a standard. A portfolio can play up their strengths, be informative to future educators regarding their weaknesses, and demonstrate multiple styles of learning. It's really a win/win.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    But I think the point was that portfolios will be abused to show GROWTH even when growth didn't happen to the extent the portfolio shows. A teacher telling a student what to write on an item that will be in the portfolio and a teacher using hand on hand to make the student write the correct answer are just two ways portfolios were abused by some.

    As long as accountability is tied to portfolios there will be cheating by some and potentially many.
     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    So, how do you solve the cheating that goes on with standardized testing?
     
  14. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    The portfolios we piloted were supposed to be about growth. The problem was with the rubric we had to use. For a teacher to have a certain score, students had to demonstrate very specific abilities. Some of the tasks were way beyond that of a kindergarten student. There were teachers who took advantage by skewing the students' abilities. We had the option to include videos, audios, and scanned pencils and paper activities. We were encouraged to use videos, which I did, with parent consent. But it was left up to us and there were people who cheated. They cheated by giving students answere, using one student and submitting the work under different names.

    I think there will be an element of cheating with portfolios and with standardized test. Especially when teachers know there job is on the line. Our portfolios score didn't even count this year, but people still cheated.
     
  15. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    But can't people cheat with anything? I can sit during the MAP test and feed my students answers, too. Nobody's watching that. If we believe most people won't do that, we can have faith in people with this, too.

    As far as shitty rubrics, that sounds like a faulty rubric design and not a problem with portfolios as a system. I wouldn't want any portfolio system that teachers did not have input in creating. As far as standards being developmentally inappropriate, well, that's an entirely separate issue.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You will never be able to completely eliminate cheating 100%, but you can get much closer using some different methods.

    First of all, computers help eliminate "bubble parties" like they had in Atlanta. I agree that with the younger kids the computer is more difficult to manage. One of the reasons why computers are used is to help eliminate cheating. It also allows for quicker returns of results once the transition to the tests gets ironed out. I know some states have results back in a few days on their computerized tests.

    The other way is to bring in proctors to give the tests and control the environment (or booklets). If that can't be done have different teachers proctor different grades and classes. This lessens the incentive and desire to cheat. It won't completely eliminate it, but it is harder to convince a teacher to cheat if the students they are proctoring are not their students or even in their school/grade. Also, depending on the subject, it might be impossible for a teacher to feed a student the answers because the teacher doesn't know the content well enough to help.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    But it has been shown that people do cheat when they are held accountable for the results.

    The more leeway the system has for cheating the more people will cheat if they feel they won't be caught. They will, of course, justify it to themselves, but in the end, they will cheat (and more than we would hope). That is why when portfolios were used the cheating was high. It was easier to do so. When there are many checks along the way, it takes multiple people to make a cheating scheme happen.

    Our state has 2 proctors in every room. That helps eliminate one person being able to feed answers without someone noticing. The sad part is the special education kids with accommodations tend to have one teacher proctoring instead of two and more reason to cheat because not only will a student failure not look good, but it will impact IEP goals and services. Double the reason for a student to do as well as possible, especially those who are closer to grade level with accommodations.
     
  18. LouiseB

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    I proctor sped students with paper and pencil because I'm to read the test to them where allowed. I have ethics so do what is right. However, I can certainly see how a person could easily give kids the answer or even point to the answer. Test scores are not part of our evaluation or keeping our job at this time. But I can certainly see what would happen if this was tied to a person's livelihood.:dizzy:
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I know teachers cheat with tests. I think having a proctor in the room will help.

    I don't agree with having different teachers administer the tests. My students are much more comfortable with me in the room and have said so semester after semester. I want to be there for them as a calming presence. Plus, it is so much easier for me.

    However, I do believe I'm in the minority when it comes to peeking at test questions. That's a major no-no in our area. Yet we have teachers reading the tests aloud to students who teach that same course. I don't understand how it is wrong for me to look over a student's shoulder but another teacher is required to read through the entire thing.

    I'm fine with following the rules. What bothers me is when MY test scores are compared to other teachers that don't.
     
  20. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    We have the same rule here, in my state... or at least we did when the tests were paper and pencil. As someone who provided read aloud accommodations, I'll say that I was allowed to read the test, just not in advance. I could only read the questions for the first and only time when I was reading them out loud to the students who were required to get the read aloud accommodation per their IEP or 504 plan. No other teacher could read the questions at all, and no other students could have the questions read allowed to them.

    Anyone could be unethical here and not follow the rules, but some teachers are allowed to be reading the test questions, with certain stipulations. Since the test usually changes a bit from year to year, it wouldn't really allow them to use their knowledge of the test questions to improve their instruction the following year.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    see, our tests don't change from year to year. So a teacher reading the test the first year it is given sails through with high numbers for about ten semesters.
     

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