Progress Against State testing (Texas)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tasha, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Nov 20, 2012

    Have you heard of TAMSA? A small group has started getting some attention as they advocate against the wide spread state testing that has increased in Texas the last few years. Some of their arguments are that the increase in testing has limited vocational training that my community depends on and that it can actually keep some kids out of college if their strengths are not in testing categories.

    http://tamsatx.org/about-us.html
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 21, 2012

    As I say to most folks arguing against standardized assessment, or arguing against any reform, it may be more helpful to organize around an alternative. Many folks who want state tests really just want evaluation and accountability. Arguing for a different (and more effective) system of evaluation and accountability (that's even more stringent) would likely do better than just simply being against something.
     
  4. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Nov 21, 2012

    I hope they get support. However, looking at the National Standards and direction the country is going... I don't foresee a decrease is testing any time soon. Organizing around a different type of assessment does make sense. However changing the formulas to get into college will be tricky. It will take time and a paradigm shift to see real reform.
     
  5. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Nov 21, 2012

    I like the website. If we are going to educate our parents and the community in general, we need more sites like this.

    I didn't see a place to support TAMSA financially. I know it costs money to run a web site.

    ________________________
    Favorite blog: http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Nov 21, 2012

    Very interesting. Thank you for sharing this. I was unaware of a few things about STAAR including this : "TEA has not adopted standards or guidelines to convert EOC scores into grades, instead leaving development of conversion tables up to individual districts." So when the kids are applying to colleges it could vary greatly. I agree that's pretty unfair.

    I also agree that we shouldn't be making it harder for kids to graduate.
     
  7. ATXMusic

    ATXMusic Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2012

    I know that my school now does a solid week of benchmark testing on every sixth week. The amount of teaching time that is eaten up by tests that are preparing for tests is incredible.

    But EdEd really has the right idea. There needs to be an alternative, not just a rally against.
     
  8. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Nov 22, 2012

     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2012

    ATXMusic, is that week of benchmark testing something that all children participate in? In other words, is it that DIBELS occurs every 6 weeks, but each child only participates individually for 15 minutes or so? If so, that's different to me than state testing week where literally the entire week is lost in terms of instruction due to the tests, prep, breaks/parties, etc.
     
  10. melnm

    melnm Companion

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    Dec 14, 2012

    I just saw this post. As the mother of a 3rd grader in Texas public schools, testing is a HUGE issue to me. And I am SO against the pressure put on these kids to pass.

    I was just reading the website. Am I reading correctly that test scores count for 15% of their grade?? Seriously?? And 15 tests to pass in high school before graduating?? I am so sick of testing!! And as for the person above who said something about this group needing an alternative for assessing, that sounds like what this group is trying to do to me.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 14, 2012

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  12. ATXMusic

    ATXMusic Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2012

    Sorry, I didn't see this until now.

    So far we've done this at the end of both grading periods. My understanding is that it will happen at the end of each one.

    We will do testing Monday through Thursday. Each student will take a full-length test each of those days. The new standardized tests in Texas are timed, so thankfully we don't actually lose the entire day. Each test is a four hour test, so in that week there will be sixteen hours of time dedicated to benchmark tests. Tests are to happen from about 8:30-12:30 those four days.

    The tests are often delivered late or wrong and many students are fairly late, so testing doesn't usually start until 9:00 or later. We don't alter the lunch schedule, so lunches are taken in the middle of the testing period. Between late starts and lunch breaks, the testing period usually lasts from about 9:00-1:15. Most finish the test in 90 minutes or less, but must remain silent until all students are done. There will usually be a handful in each class that will take close to the full four hours. School gets out at 3:00 for younger grades and 3:30 for older grades, so testing pretty much eats up the entire day.

    First grading period, we had a holiday on Friday, so the afternoons of Monday-Thursday were spent taking 6-Weeks tests for their regular classes. The second grading period, they did the benchmarks until Thursday and then took 6-Weeks tests for most of the day Friday.

    It's a lot of time.
     
  13. txteach2b

    txteach2b Comrade

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    Dec 14, 2012

  14. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Dec 14, 2012

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan or defender of all this testing, but I don't see any huge issues to this policy.

    EOC exams have been 10% of final course grade for us for ages. There are a few typical outcomes: not much changes because C kids mostly score down the middle, lazy kids score off the chart on the easier tests, so they get a grade boost, and struggling students who scrape a pass get their low D class grade boosted. I've only seen this negatively impact a grade when a kid decides to blow it off, plus blow off the retake days and their A or B drops, but that's a choice they decided to make, so that's on them.

    The EOC exams can be a pain in the butt, and it can feel like we are teaching to them, but if the test measures the standards, and we teach the standards, there should be reasonable grade correlation. I'm also assuming that all reasonable accommodations are in place for students, and that students who don't are allowed a remediation/retake window.
     
  15. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Dec 14, 2012

    To clarify: I'm talking about high school. I can't imagine this making sense otherwise.
     

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