NCLB and stress

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Irishdave, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Many of the teachers at my school are saying that all NCLB has done is create more stress in teachers and students (and admin.)

    How many of you have seen the same thing?
     
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  3. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    I think NCLB has created ACCOUNTABILITY, which in turn is stressful for everyone. I definitely don't think NCLB is perfect, but I think its a step in the right direction.

    Children don't graduate because they're nice, they can actually read. And do math, science, and social studies. Didn't use to be that way. Especially in the south...

    Teachers don't get to keep their jobs because they're nice and students really like them. NCLB makes these teachers produce results, and the admin has to push them. Stressful - yes. But we have the most IMPORTANT JOB OUT THERE - molding the minds of our future. That SHOULD BE STRESSFUL!!! And it should be better compensated - we're working on that.

    Teachers are no longer seen as glorified babysitters - we are producing measurable results, and I believe getting kids ready to compete in a tough society.

    NCLB isn't perfect, but we're working on it!!!
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree with you LaProfessora. NCLB is good on paper, but the government has taken it too far in many instances. Teachers and admin alike should be held accountable for what is going on in their classrooms and schools. And yes, teachers should be highly qualified to teach our children. I think the sheer amount of testing is out of line. I mean students in TX are tested in every grade level from the time they are in 3rd grade until 10th/11th grade, and that's just the state tests. In many grade levels, they are responsible for taking multiple tests in less than a month's time, sometimes back to back to back in 3 consecutive days.

    I told DH last night that I hope that the educational pendulum swings back the other way soon.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    My understanding is that NCLB itself requires annual tests. That should mean "once a year". Judging from what people in various states have posted on A to Z, there's an additional proliferation of tests the purpose of which seems to be to discover how kids will perform on the NCLB test - and my impression in Texas (since smalltown mentions that state) is that there are multiple layers of these "tests for the tests", on the state, county, and district levels. Have I got that more or less right?

    I don't mean to be an apologist for NCLB. To combat the pressure for inappropriate testing, however, it's important to understand that pressure and to pinpoint its source - or sources. I think NCLB has not so much CREATED a hysteria for testing as TAPPED INTO a hysteria that has spread like kudzu with a mobility gene.
     
  6. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    You have hit it right on the head we are testing every two weeks whether we have been able to cover the material or not, testing should follow compleat instruction the powers to be want all teachers on the same page no matter what the class demographics are. You can teach 3 classes of the same subject and I am willing to bet that at least one is not with the the other two and maybe they are all on "different pages"
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dave, that's a good point. The state tests don't take into consideration the varying demographics of our students. Plus they are making it harder and harder for students to get modifications on the test. Many sped students will be required to take a test that they are not on level to take. This affects the rating on the school, and of course the rating on the teacher who has that student in their classroom.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    smalltown, have I got it straight that in Texas you've got, so to speak, tests for readiness for tests for readiness for tests...? How many layers?
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Basically, TG. In 3rd grade its Reading and Math that they have pass to move on to 4th. In 4th its writing and math(?). I don't think they have to pass to be promoted. In 5th its Reading, Math (have to pass), and Science. Not sure about 6th, thinking its Reading, Math. In 7th its Writing and Math. In 8th its Reading, Math, Social Studies have to pass...and then in 10th its Reading and Math have to pass.
     
  10. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I don't see how the NCLB standards are useful in any way. The entire system depends on the integrity and honesty of the person administering the test. I hate to say it, but if a person's job depends on the test results . . . I don't see how anyone can take the results of a test, under those circumstances, as of any value.

    How about everyone just teaching their hearts out, then randomly select 2-3 students from every classrooma and let a teacher hired by the government administer the tests?? That way, there would be a controlled situation, random testing, and we could get somewhere in understanding what our kids really know and what we need to do differently.

    Please everyone here, don't get all mad at me. I am not accusing anyone in particular of cheating - I am just saying that it is a poor set up all around, and the test results are not reliable because of the way it is all set up.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    That wasn't quite what I was asking.

    Let's take third grade. There's an annual test for reading and one for math, right? And that's presumably the NCLB-mandated test. Are there tests to try to see whether the third graders are ready for that test? Are there earlier tests to see whether the kids are ready for the test that tests whether they're ready for the NCLB-mandated test?

    Interesting, that, in Texas: I don't think NCLB mandates that the tests be used to determine whether kids go on to the next grade. So that might be one of the pieces that comes in from a different level - which means that going after NCLB as such might not make much difference.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    bonneb, I agree. Recently there were two instances in the DFW area where teachers admitted to bumping grades up. One involved a basketball team having to return its state championship because one of the teammates had played because of grade tampering. In the other instance, there werew 20-30 teachers that came forward saying the principal "suggested" they tamper with grades in students' favor. The principal is currently on administrative leave.
    When your job is on the line, and it depends on whether or not your students pass a test or not, what teacher wouldn't think about cheating to save their job?

    Bonneb, run for president, girl! We would vote for you!!!!
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    There are benchmark tests that are given. This of course depends on the district. The districts that I'm familiar with benchmark on the curriculum that should be taught up to that point. The district I was in last year had two practice TAKS test before the real thing where they used released tests in order to gage where the students were. I don't know if this is state wide.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Two prior runs with released tests? In addition to the benchmarks? And in addition to whatever other assessing is being done?

    Good grief.
     
  15. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    disclaimer: I don't claim to understand elementary at all, and I totally agree with state testing

    I think you need to benchmark in order to make sure the kiddos are ready for the real thing, and to prepare them for the test's format. These tests should simulate the real test, and should be counted as their "nine week tests," so they should not be a huge interruption to the school year. I think that is responsible teaching, and responsible of the admin to make sure everyone is prepared for such a high stake test
     
  16. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Alas, I cannot run for President. I was not born in the U.S.A. But thank you for the compliment!
     
  17. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    disclaimer: I don't claim to understand elementary at all, and I totally agree with state testing

    smalltown - please please please don't hate me and don't think I 'm trying to pick a fight.

    I totally see this from a high school perspective and living on the Mexican border. If the kids need so many modifications that they can't pass the state tests, then let them have their mods and give them a high school degree that says "special ed degree." If you want a "High school diploma," then pass the required test.

    They don't give "modified" Doctor's credentials, lawyer's certifications, or teaching degrees. If you want the prize, work as hard as you need to in order to get it.

    None of my kids speak English. those that want an American High School diploma learn English or they don't graduate. The test shouldn't account for demographics. All students should meet one American standard, or they don't get the diploma in the end. I have to teach some of the most difficult, poor, LEP, at-risk, parents-don't-care kiddos, and I believe that EVERY ONE OF THEM should meet the state standards. I tell them "Life ain't fair. The test is hard. Quit your whining and learn, or keep up your whining and you get no diploma."

    Simple as that. We teachers spend all this time beefing, when we need to suck it up and do the things to make em pass. End of story. Kids quit whining, teachers quit whining, admin, parents - just get the friggin hard work done.

    NCLB is a step in the right direction. It has flaws, but it says that in order to get the coveted diploma they have to meet the standards. They should have a vocational diploma, a special ed diploma, a regular diploma, and an advanced diploma. Then employers and colleges can look at what you graduated with and decide from there.
     
  18. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Whinning is for puppies

    I tell my students that if they are not a puppy then they have no reason to whin and I agree with LP that 'life is not fair.'

    In my opinion, NCLB falls down when it holds the teachers and administrators accountable, but not the student or their parents. If the student does not know the material then he/she should not be passed onto the next grade level. However, in order for NCLB to be effective all states and the districts within each state would have to require the same curriculum and tests across the board. Have you looked at standards for states other than your own? In looking at standards and tests given by states other than Arkansas I see that there is not a consistant bond or strand that links the requirements from state to state. So my question would be how can NCLB be effective if each state is not requiring the same material be taught in each grade level? This would have to be the MAJOR flaw with NCLB.
     
  19. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    LaProfessora, why would I hate you? Because you disagreed with me? I'm not like that. :p

    I do like the idea of having different degrees. And though I agree with you to a point, there are just some kiddos out there that can't function enough to take any tests. Is the test supposed to force them to take the test with little to no modifications? And where do these students fit into the decision whether a teacher should keep their job or not have their contract renewed because some of their students didn't pass. And there are jobs out there that do modify jobs for those that work below level.

     
  20. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I hate how we are starting to "push kids along" regardless of wether they are ready or not. It has been made clear in my school that we are not to hold back anymore...we don't do it! How silly, if a child is having trouble where they are, how is pushing them along to the next grade going to help?
    Of course we are told that these kids will get support from special ed etc... but they are still in a class way below their peers and have a harder time catching up (if they ever do).

    I also hate how the special ed laws are changing!
    It is getting harder and harder to classify kids. I have several kids in my class who are behind and should be tested but wont until at least third grade! I know that sometimes when they are little it is hard to get a good read on the tests, but that makes it okay for kids to not be tested and at least looked into for possible classification??
    Also, why are so many Pre-Kers classified in pre k and they declassified upon entering K?!?! I hate that they do this to "keep numbers down"
     
  21. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    BINGO
    that is the reason why NCLB is hated so much by teachers
    that my job relies on some 13 year old who has no motivation and who's parents are not involved
    Trying to motivate some students drains me
    La Profesora you and I teach the same "Kind" of students
    But the ones that don't graduate STILL count against you!
    I don't want some "Kid" who does (and his family) not care, to be the reason my school does not make AYP! and we get taken over by the state! We as teachers can work our tails off and still fail!!!! I am sorry but there are some unreachable students they need some other form of Education outside the public school
     
  22. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Students should be accountable. My school hasn't made AYP for two years, the entire time it has been a stand alone program. At three years, we begin to get consequences. Problem is, we are an ALTERNATIVE HIGH SCHOOL!! So teachers are held to a standard that is probably impossible to meet considering the poputlation we work with!

    If NCLB mandated tests that also played a rold in graduation, like A levels in England, it would be better. If NCLB required a national standard, not a hodgepodge of state standards so we are always comparing apples to oranges it would be better. We don't have that system. In my state the kid can pass every single standarized test and still pass. Oh and it is still legal here to drop out at 16, however you have to be 18 to go to a paid for GED program. What does that say to the kids in an alternative high school? The going gets tough, the tough hit the road and hang out for two years. And the teachers, we are worried about our jobs with kids who think the standardized tests have no meaning to them, think the goverment should stay out of their business (their answer for everything) so they make pictures with the bubbles.

    UGH, we need a better system. The idea is great, the application falls short
     
  23. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I agree! With NCLB it seems like every child needs to be a dr., lawyer or some great inventor.....we need all kinds of people to make the world turn, garbage men, janitors, teachers, lawyers, police officers, bus drivers, etc... etc... etc....
     
  24. mmath1212

    mmath1212 Rookie

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    I don't think NCLB has been successful. The success has been in teaching students how to take the test which isn't really teaching children anything. I think there needs to be accountability, but I think NCLB is an utter failure in terms of TRUE student achievement.
     
  25. chinamom

    chinamom Rookie

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    I'm very new to all of this as I've been home for awhile w/ my kids and have only taught in a private school. This is my first year in a public school, Title I, in GA. It has been eye-opening to say the least.

    I have no problem with accountability, and I recognize the need for tests to see what these kids know. I'm struggling with just exactly how and when to teach it all. We spend so much time testing and benchmarking and CRCT'ing and CogATing and ITBSing,and then analyzing all of the results in meeting after meeting, that it's tough to actually squeeze in the teaching part so that they can actually learn. Our fifth graders take the ITBS and CogAT in the fall, 4 benchmarks every 9 weeks, and the CRCT in the fall.

    The curriculum seems like it's about a mile long and a half an inch thick-- it's touch a topic and run, with no real in-depth learning. Add to that enormous class sizes w/ kids of all levels who have no support at home, differentiating my head off all day long.......the task seems so daunting to a newbie.

    With all of that said, I won't be one of those teachers that complains and gripes about NCLB-- I'm getting the heck out at the end of the year and going back to private schools. Already turned in my letter. So my first year in public schools is my last. No offense intended to anyone-- I greatly admire all of the wonderful teachers I've met this year. I wish I had the whatever-it-takes to stick it out, but I want my passion for teaching, truly TEACHING, back.

    Chinamom
     
  26. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    The 10th grade FCAT is a graduation requirement in the state of Florida and oh, boy you should hear the public outcry every spring.

    I personally think there is a place for standardized testing, as I cannot think of many jobs that don't require some sort of test. Even the manager at McDonalds has to pass a test to do his job. However, I think there there is a problem with the way the testing has been handled. The NCLB is definately good on paper, but we need to tweak the way it's being applied.
     
  27. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    What really bugs me is this years 8th graders are compared to last years 8th graders (who are 9th graders now) why not be compared to last years 7th graders (the same population of kids! Duh!) and compare the growth over the year.


    What if last year's 8th graders were a bunch of Marilyn vos Savants* and this year's kids were were a bunch of Forrest Gumps †
    I will use IQs just to have some numbers
    If Forrest Gump's scores improved from 70 to 84 that is a 20% increase I say wow
    if Marilyn vos Savant's scores improved from 228 to 230 *† that is only a 0.87% increase. the % does not look good
    but from Marilyn vos Savant 228 to Forrest Gump's 84 is a -63.1% (Decrease) the school is in deep dodo for AYP


    * listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under "Highest IQ."
    † in the movie he had an IQ of 70
    *† reported values of her IQ
     
  28. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    The countdown has begun...

    Our state benchmark test will be given in 34 days...each day the days left until benchmark testing is posted on our daily announcements. I don't feel pressured by this, but it's sad that an entire year of teaching is being measured in one test. However, in this state - as in many - it's the school, district, teachers and administrators that are held responsible for each student who does not meet AYP. Where does the student and his/her parents come in...when did we (people in general) become cookie cutters...each of us has to be the same, have to learn the same, understand the same, want the same goals, long for the same jobs/careers/professions? NCLB does not take into account that we are not a robotic society with each of us wanting the exact same thing.

    Our students deserve more than NCLB offers and so does our society.
     
  29. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    We had the count down in the cafeteria on a flip chart and the kids ripped it down
     
  30. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    There is nothing right about NCLB, nor is it a step in the right direction. Yes, accountability is important. I doubt any teacher would disagree.

    Food is important. Some food items are just bad for you. It may be poorly prepared, teeming with bacteria, full of empty calories, etc. Just because we need food doesn't mean all food is good for the consumer.

    There are so many reasons why NCLB is a poor way to determine educational growth, and you listed quite a few of them.

    The original thought about it causing stress? Good teachers quitting, more than half on anxiety medication, principal has an ulcer, kids are crying about whether they're going to pass, a curriculum full of "test-taking tips" and multiple-choice assessment and "it's not covered and I don't have time to go there."

    NOTHING. I SEE NOTHING GOOD ABOUT NCLB, except that I think it may be in it's death throes. Good riddance to bacteria.
     
  31. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    That's a LOL!

    I have to tell you that this reply really did make me LOL. The kids are sick of "the test" and it's getting harder and harder to motivate them to see the importance of the test.
     
  32. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    In our state, we test in math, communications skills, social studies, and science in grades 3 and 4, and add writing (written essay) in the 5th. Our school tests these children quarterly through-out the year, and WEEKLY "to gain data and to practice testing" from January until the state test is given in May.

    We spend MONTHS preparing them for testing, going over test-taking strategies, and in 3rd grade, reviewing all of the material from K - 2, since that state test is cumulative! It isn't optional.. the testing is mandated by our school and district.

    The kids are stressed. The teacher's are stressed. For 4+ months (from January to May) everything in our school revolves around testing and getting higher scores on testing.

    And then there are the silly rules. Children with IEPs can have the math, social studies, and science read to them. They must read the communications skills test themselves -- even if they are non readers! Even if they are several grades behind! Even if they are mentally retarded and have limited ability to understand and comprehend.

    Don't speak English? Oh well, here's the test in English -- now bubble in those answers! It doesn't matter that you've only been in the country for a short time, your scores will be used to determine how good your teacher is!

    You have a student who is mentally retarded. Have her take the test anyway. Don't worry that she doesn't understand what many of the questions mean or that she can't count coins yet, she still has to take the same test. And of course, her low score is used to evaluate "how good a job her teacher is doing."

    When will this craziness end?
     
  33. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Hopefully when the current administration leaves office!
     
  34. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Not likely.
     
  35. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    shouldbeasleep, it's ashame that great teachers are being pushed out of this career by the stresses the state tests put on them and making sure each student meets AYP.

    Rain, you said what I was trying to say in a much clearer, better way. Thank you!

    love2teach, I sure hope whoever takes over as president realizes that NCLB needs some major revamping or be scraped all together. IMO though, this will only happen with a Democratic president. Republicans will try to keep what Bush has put in place already. Again, this is just my opinion and no it doesn't reflect who I'm voting for.
     
  36. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    If John McCain doesn't want change in NCLB Clinton could get education's vote
    (taken from) http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/19ce50b5-daa8-4795-b92d-92bd0d985bca.htm
    Will this be the deciding point on education's vote?
    (taken from)
    http://www.hillaryclinton.com/files/pdf/education.pdf
     
  37. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Wow! I don't know where to even begin.

    Does it NCLB cause stress? I can say a resounding "yes" in our school.

    Teachergroupie - in our district we are required to administer Stanford testing in grades K-5 as well as TAKS grades 3-5. We are required to do bi-monthly benchmarks in every grade, even Pre-K (maybe not specified in NCLB but our campus needs those numbers to see if we are going to make the rating this year).

    Irish Dave - I completely agree with your statement about how each year we get classes made up of different kids. Our district actually checks each student's progress from year to year (can't imagine how much that costs us in manpower - we are a huge district). The problem with that is, if they were "prepared" well for the test last year it doesn't necessarily mean they retained that information through the summer to the next grade. Many teachers have to backtrack and teach things the kids should already know and then the curriculum for their year. Nothing is taught in-depth.

    La Professora - the only argument I will make to your response is that if a Special Ed student has modifications required in the classroom, that modification should extend to testing. These kids are taught on their grade level with certain aides to help them and then tested as a "regular" child. If we didn't make those modifications in the classroom all year, I would agree with your sentiment- some of our resource kids don't have the mobility to hold a pencil correctly - TAKS is a 3 day, all-day, Scantron test - can you imagine how frustrating that would be for them.

    Finally I will add this - I also see teachers leaving the profession and we at our school have had difficulty keeping a grade level team from year to year in those TAKS grades. Those teachers are told exactly how many kids they can have fail and are required to do afterschool and Saturday tutorials- it's very stressful.

    The other fallout I see is that people don't want the "low" students in their classrooms. Where it used to be "good" teachers liked the challenge and wanted to help these kids; they are refusing to take them-because even though these kids will make progress, it's not enough. I've also seen it happen the other way as well - since we instituted incentive pay we had two G/T teachers say they wouldn't teach in those classrooms because it was too hard to show the progress that was expected when they were already so ahead. I think in the end we will have a generation of really mediocre students and teachers.
     
  38. NCLBNUT

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    Feb 16, 2008

    Students need to drop out of school asap. Now days with NCLB, school is the stupidest place for kids to be. Teacher motivation is to keep a job, make enough money. Teachers are robots. The state standards for making ayp are boring - preparing students to become little cogs in big machines. Money is being diverted from the practical vocational and college prep. to teaching to specific tests.
     
  39. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Feb 16, 2008

    I think the tests start too soon. I think that for young kids development (especially in 3rd grade) is still too all over the place. There are big leaps in child development (for school age kids) these are at 6, 8, and 12. If they don't make the big leap at 6, most make the big one at 8 and sort of double up. By 12 or so almost all kids have made the big developmental climbs. Little kids don't need the pressure! Little kids can't really even try to conform because they don't have it in them... I think 5th grade should be the earliest test.

    Another problem I have is that NCLB does not take into account disabilities or non-English speakers in a way that works. (This is for all levels K-12)

    I would rather see 6 SMALL tests throughout the year that measure progress than one cumulative test at the end, that doesn't even get measured against the same kid the year before. You could also see if there was a discrepancy with more little tests, for instance if one test was really good you might be able to see if there was teacher error or cheating. If there was one really bad test, you could see against the others that maybe that child was just not with it that day. There would be a lot less anxiety for the kids, as they would then be used to it and it wouldn't be resting on the one big test.

    However, I think if someone were to do something like this, they would have to quit with all the multiple tests from multiple companies and whatnot. Writing, reading, math only in the early years, in the older years, focus on the subject tests... that's my take.

    And by writing test- I mean 1-2 writing samples, reading, same thing. Math, short and sweet. You do this enough times and it would not be that big a deal.

    I am so thankful that I teach in a school that does not do testing! It is stressful and harmful to kids.

    I do like the idea of the British system, where to graduate you take tests in each area... when you pass a certain number of those, you get your diploma. That works for me.
     
  40. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Feb 16, 2008

    I wish La Profesora was right but it hasn't worked out that way in my area.The schools have become test prep central in which administrators.teachers, students, schools and everyone else is judged by the results of state mandated examinations in reading and math from grades three onward. Thus practice test after practice test is given to prepare for the exams,test prep workshops are held after school,weekends and for all I know at midnight to prepare for the exams.The sad part is the exams being given now are much easier than those given even ten years ago,and since only one part is machine marked short answers,even the marking is suspect.The children are certainly no better prepared in reading and math than they were in the past.Even the High School regents exams are simplified so students can pass and receive a high school diploma.The major emphasis is on the children whose test scores need to be raised and the gifted and talented are ,in many schools, ignored.Behavior is on the decline and principals,who no longer have tenure are afraid to report incidents to the regional offices and are terrified of parental complaints.This is what the NCLB act has done to our schools.
     
  41. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Feb 16, 2008

    This is so true in testing grades. The attitude for the gifted is "Oh, they'll pass ... so don't worry about them. Give them some busy work so we can work with the borderline kids." It is sad. Or worse yet, have them tutor the borderline kids! Gifted and talented students should never be USED as free tutors. They have just as much right to an education on their level as anyone else.

    "Challenge Packets" are often nothing more than "keep them busy" worksheets.

    The gifted and talented students are the leaders of tomorrow. They are the scientists and deep thinkers who can save the world. And yet, because of testing, they are often set aside and banished to "worksheet-land."

    It is so sad.
     

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