Tell me about pre-NCLB

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 19, 2008

    I'm curious to hear about how NCLB affected all the veteran teachers on this board. I know how it affected education of course - ridiculous high-stakes testing, cuts in Art and Music, schools being labeled low-performing - but I want to hear the "individual stories" behind all the madness.

    I entered the education field just as NCLB came into full swing, so it's all I know. I'd like to hear from people who have taught on both sides of the fence.
     
  2.  
  3. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,934
    Likes Received:
    257

    Jul 19, 2008

    Well that means you went to school in a pre-NCLB world so you do know *something* about it.

    I, for example, know that I learned absolutely nothing that I was supposed to in my history classes. Until I took AP in 11th grade. I also know that cuts in art and music were happening as far back as elementary school which for me was 1990.

    I really wish we could move beyond blaming NCLB for the state of education today. Of course it played a role but it was simply a reaction to the problems we were already seeing.
     
  4. mrstchr

    mrstchr Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2008

    Prior to NCLB I was able to take time to really cover subjects in depth instead of just focusing on the skills for "the test".

    Prior to NCLB I was able to teach the way I wanted instead of having directives for everything.

    Prior to NCLB I was able to spend several days on a topic if the students didn't get it.

    Prior to NCLB I was less stressed.
     
  5. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    870
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2008

    :whistle:I agree that there were many problems prior to NCLB,however the problem is we are not solving the problem with all the testing we do.Unfortunately too much time is spent on test prep over the teaching of ideas that require creativity.planning.thinking and cooperating.I was able to work with four other classes on themes where we were able to integrate all our subjects around a central theme. The children from different grades worked together around a theme and culminated in a huge production summarizing all they have learned.Today we could not spend the time required as it would take too much time from test prep.
    The major problem is that we judge everything based on a few test scores and ignore everything else.No one cares about subjects that are not tested and discipline is not as stressed in many places as it should be.
    The major student that is cheated in many cases is the gifted.I find they are ignored ,in many cases,as they will do well on the test anyway.We need to use tests more for diagnostic purposes and less on using it as the most important thing in the whole school year.













    i
     
  6. ahsila

    ahsila Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2008

    My big complaint about NCLB (well, the biggest complaint) is that I have kids that CAN'T READ... so I have to choose between blowing off the state test (which is a no-no, since not passing the test means I'm ineffective as a teacher) or teaching concepts to students who can't follow along because they can't read the material and I can't read it to them on the state test. Basically, I'm shooting myself in the foot either way - I just have to choose between left foot or right foot.
    I, too, was finishing college when NCLB was originally passed and I work with teachers who have been in education for 20+ years (and are not considered "highly qualified" in areas they have been teaching for those 20 years) who have said all NCLB does is leave children behind because if a student struggles, you can't stop to discuss and help - you have to move on and hit all the standards.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,293
    Likes Received:
    760

    Jul 19, 2008

    The biggest difference I have noticed is in special ed. Having only one percent of your population labeled as special ed is ridiculous. You can't mandate intelligence and genetics and home environments so how can they limit the number of students who have learning problems!
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2008

    TeacherinTexas - I wholeheartedly agree with you there!

    I can tell you that kids used to actually be allowed to play in Kindergarten. There wasn't as much pressure on academics but on social and creative development. I'm sorry, but it's really hard for these 5-year olds to make it through a rigorous 7 1/2-hour day (there's no time for napping anymore). It's just not allowed to be fun for them.

    And I know there is nothing specific in NCLB that says we have to do that, but it trickles down from the other mandates. If our funding is based on test scores, then we need better test scores. If every child needs to be reading on grade level, then the reading instruction needs to be stepped up starting in Pre-K. We need to start testing strategies earlier. We have to take a standardized test because we need to compare those scores to the next grade's to see if they made the requisite progress. Most Kinder and even Pre-K classes don't sound like they used to (we have a Pre-K teacher who gets made fun of for singing songs-that's not how kids learn to read). Remember all those handprints and ornaments that you made in Kinder - the mentality now is, that's not something that will be tested, don't waste time teaching it. There has been a definite shift in expectations of academic achievement and personally I don't think it's what's best for young kids.
     
  9. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2008

    Well, I remember attending school prior to NCLB.

    Pros:
    -I had test anxiety, but I didn't let it get the better of me as a student. If I didn't do as well, the teachers were not hard on me because of it.
    -We could go to the library often. One of the options there was arts and crafts.
    -Leveling classes was based on more than a test score. It was based on who worked well together and specific needs of the students. It seems like so much more is set in stone now with FCAT/other state tests.
    -I remember actually LEARNING cursive and the states/capitals. I remember the song "Fifty Nifty United States" a little bit.
    -I guess if a teacher liked teaching about geology, he could spend a longer time on it...
    -We built a lot more back then. We took a refrigerator box and made a time machine. :)
    -We had recess every day in grades K-5. I remember being in shock when I went to middle school, though at that age (instead of 3rd, the first grade at our school that doesn't go daily) I could adapt to it fine.

    Cons:
    -I believe there was more goofing off.
    -I honestly didn't like coloring sheets that much, and some days we did things like that for a little while instead of an assignment.
    -Less structure in instances led to more behavior problems.
     
  10. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    2,100
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 20, 2008

    Last year was my first year teaching, but I would say that NCLB is not the cause of most of the things teachers don't like about education in California. It would be very much the same without NCLB, with perhaps the exception of the "highly qualified" hoop to jump through. Standardized testing is a fact of life here. Education seems to run in cycles. Standardized testing is big now. Something else will be in the future. And I think much of what is happening in low performing schools here would be going on without NCLB. The feds are concerned about AYP, but California has its own equivalent, API. The state would be taking over low performing schools even if the feds weren't around.

    In California, "highly qualified" wasn't much of an issue for many experienced teachers because the HOUSSE option let them use their experience to meet much of the requirement. It was just a matter of doing the paper work. There were certainly some teachers who were teaching outside the subject their credential authorized that were affected. And there were some teachers without a lot of experience who couldn't use that option and had to pass CSET or take university courses. And there were some teachers that had to upgrade from supplement authorizations to subject matter authorizations because the former were considered not rigorous enough for the "highly qualified" status (required 12 more units). For new teachers it isn't an issue. Traditional and internship programs require you to to "highly qualified" when you start, or shortly after, certainly before you get your credential.
     
  11. AbbyR

    AbbyR Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2008

    Teaching for mastery is gone, and I hate that. I would love to be able to really teach, but heaven forbid I spend more than one day on a topic if one day was what was assigned. The kids didn't get it? Too bad.

    It would be ever so nice if the kids could write so I could read it. My fourth graders came to me not only unable to write cursive, but also unable to READ it.

    There's just no time - it's push, push, push and the kids are so sick of it that they turn off and don't try.

    I like the fact that there is a curriculum, and someone is working on what students should know, but there has to be a better way.
     
  12. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    870
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2008

    Many of our children come to school today without the social skills needed to adjust to a full day in school.They spend most of there time indoors in front of a TV and not playing with other children. Kindergarten used to be the time when they could learn to play together,work together and learn social skills needed to work with other children in small and large groups.Today we are so worried about getting them ready for reading,writing,listening and math sills for the future big tests that they will take that they, never have time to learn how to socialize and get along with other children.
     
  13. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2008

    I remember going to school pre-NCLB and loving school. We were able to have recess, art, music, science, and social studies (what a novel concept!). I grew up in California and never remember feeling stressed about a standarized test as a student. I agree with some of the other posters who noted that NCLB may not be the only problem in education today but the way schools are judged on scores and attendance alone is absurd. I work at a high risk school and we didn't make AYP for the second year in a row. I can only imagine the speech we're going to get from the principal when everyone comes back next month because now her job is really on the line. Whatever happened to people being accountable for their actions? Whatever happened to parents being held responsible for the livelihood of their children? When did it make sense to equate two non-related varibles with each other and determine a school's "success" based on it? Ahhh!! I could go on forever but will stop now because something will come along to change the current grading standards of schools.
     
  14. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 20, 2008

    I agree with many of the things people have mentioned. I don't remember ever being stressed out over a standardized test when I was in school. Maybe my teachers didn't stress them, or maybe we didn't even take them. I honestly don't even remember! I remember we had 2 recesses in 5th grade, an am and a pm (this would have been 1991, for a reference point.) I remember having Art, Music, Science, Social Studies, and other programs like DARE.

    But I can really see how NCLB may have done some good. For example, in H.S., if we had a sub, we did nothing all day - maybe a movie, if we were lucky. Otherwise it was "study hall" a.k.a. write notes to all your friends. I remember having some of the "cool" teachers who didn't assign homework, and let us socialize for the last 10 minutes of class. I'm not saying NCLB has gotten rid of those teachers (I'm sure they still exist), but I bet it's weeded out more than a few bad apples.

    I do feel so bad for many of these kids, though. How can we expect all day K's to have zero recess? Why do they all have to be reading by the end of K? It's all go-go-go, push-push-push, test-test-test, write-write-write, solve-solve-solve, and by 4th grade they're all burnt out! Can we blame them?

    Ok, off soapbox now :)
     
  15. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,927
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 21, 2008

    Boy, just reading this post makes me glad for a change that I work in a private school.

    My hat goes off to all of you who have to deal with this daily. It must be a real chore.
     
  16. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 21, 2008

     
  17. sothinbelle

    sothinbelle New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    Let me warn ahead of time, that I am about to make some people angry. To all my veteran teachers, my pre-apologies. I am a soon-to-be teacher and currently work in college admissions. (so I see the end result of our school system)

    I moved around many times when I was growing up, so I had the chance to learn in schools in different geographical areas. Let me say that schools with standardized testing from K1 had smarter students in the long run. Schools that let teachers have carte blanche and no standardized testing, usually had a bunch a knuckleheads. (from the perspective of a gifted student who had to sit in class with these students a learn from teachers who were on their own personal crusades instead of teaching what was prudent)
    I know many teachers who are dissatisfied with NCLB and I am sure there are flaws to be fixed. For example, NCLB leaves little room for teaching topics of cultural significance (even if not of academic significance) and making well-rounded students. But it also gets blamed for too much. (BTW, many students don't write cursive well. It's not NCLB. It's our e-generation.)However, in my humble opinion, all NCLB did was pour alcohol on a wound that was already there. Some teachers like to pretend that our schools were a sanctuary of cultural enlightenment, then NCLB came along and blah, blah, blah...)

    Change is a painful process. Why are concepts like teachers of core subjects should teach in-field and be knowledgeable about the subject matter so groundbreaking? That should be common sense. You can't have Coach Joe teaching SS to save a buck if Coach Joe doesn't know what the capital of his own state is, let alone the other 49! Insisting students reach certain benchmarks by the end of the year is not a crazy concept. Sorry if it ruins some teachers plans of spending all quarter on their pet projects. Have secondary school teachers even seen the 1st batch of NCLB kids who have had the proper ground work laid in

    I believe not as many people would have a problem with NCLB if certain requirements had only been mandated for new teachers. But once you start demanding vets to do more paperwork and take tests, then you have a mutiny on your hands! I think teachers should have a certain amount of academic freedom, but honestly, there has to be some accountability in any profession?
     
  18. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    870
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    I am a so-called veteran teacher,I guess, and Sothinbelle your post does not make me angry,however I do wish you would see how as teachers, the only thing we are judged by in many schools are the children's test scores on standardized tests . You are correct nobody should teach without knowledge of their subject area and NCLB does not directly cause children's poor handwriting. However,when I ask the teachers why the children in the upper grades can't teach in script they tell me they don't have time to teach it,they need to get ready for the big test.Yes we do need some accountability,but it should not be only a few tests. What about the work the children do in class. Shouldn't administrators know what their teachers are doing in the classroom?Don't get me started on this.I wish I felt that children are better prepared for the future because of the tests,but what I really see are children more prepared to answer test questions and not prepared to think on their own.
    NCLB is not the real problem.its purpose was well intended,but everyone knows it will be impossible for every child to be on grade level no matter what year we choose,just as it would be impossible for every child to be a great baseball player.The main problem is that the brilliant people who are not in the classroom have made the test results the only thing that matters in a school year.I don't see where this had made for brighter children,just some very strange test scores.
     
  19. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    2,409
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 22, 2008

    The one complaint I heard about before the push for high tests scores was there was more time to do arts and crafts in class. Now, don't get me wrong, I think it's important to integrate the arts into my teaching but I also think it's important to teach students how to communicate effectively in their writing, or any other skill. I just got from that comment that the teacher missed being head teacher at day care (remember- I am only talking about the one teacher I know).
     
  20. NJArt

    NJArt Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    After nclb we were literally told "if it is not on the test, don't teach it until June".
     
  21. KMH

    KMH Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    We were told that too!!! We were told to teach cursive after the test. So that might be why 4th graders can't read or write in cursive. Actually most of us didn't follow that mandate but still struggled with the time to teach it.

    My problem with NCLB may not even be with the mandate itself, but I'm told by my district what to teach when, how to teach it, what materials I have to use and how long it should take. Yet when the students fail the tests, I'm to blame:woot:
     
  22. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    It is ridiculous to expect 100% proficiency from children. Sorry, but some children will NEVER meet that demand, whether it is due to intelligence, home life, or motivation. Teachers cannot be expected to fix every single problem. Yes, children should demonstrate growth, but they may still fail the state test. Some will wonder why they should even try if they are going to fail anyway.

    And furthermore, expecting special ed children to take the exact same test as everyone else blows my mind. If they could pass the test they wouldn't be in special ed. My school did not meet AYP due to that particular population. Funding should not be tied to test scores. We don't make it, so take money away? Doesn't make sense to me.
     
  23. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 22, 2008

    Well said!
     
  24. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008


    While I was not angry by your post, I was amused. With all due respect, I would like to see the data where students who were tested using standardized testing do better in school. I don't think anyone is saying that teachers should not qualified to teach their subjects, we're saying that high stakes testing and attendance should not be the only qualifications for a school making AYP. I am proud to say that I am a product of pre-NCLB who went on to college, graduated with honors, and now at one of the best universities in the country earning my masters. I was not bogged down as a child to perform well on some test and had a well rounded education because of it. In fact, I distinctly remember my AP U.S. History teacher stressing the fact that should would not teach to the test. She didn't and our class had a 97 or 98 percent passing rate on the test. Lastly, the teachers in my school all stressed to their students that passing our state tests were of supreme importance and bogged them down with the "test". I had the opposite approach and made sure my students knew that it was just a test. You know what, my class scored the highest on the state test (our school still didn't make AYP-missed it by 2 points!) in our school! There are a number of factors that contributed to them passing but I think giving them a pep talk about how insignificant the test is right before the test helped to calm their nerves. I wish you luck when you enter the field. I would not be surprised if you gained a new perspective on NCLB once you start teaching.
     
  25. MrsTeacher2Be

    MrsTeacher2Be Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    I'm not a teacher yet, so take this with a grain of salt, but what about those students who have testing anxiety? I mean, there are students who get it, but freeze up on tests. For example, my husband took an algebra class last semester to finish his degree. He made As (mostly 100s) on all of the homework and quizzes, but he failed the midterm and final (a 55 and a 50). He knew the material, but he freezes on tests. I can't help but think that when we spend all year focusing on 'this is going to be on the state test,' there are going to be some kids who get stressed out and don't do well, even though they know the material. I guess my biggest problem with NCLB is the emphasis on test scores. It's not like the scorer can tell 'Oh this kid knows it, he just gets text anxiety.' So between test anxiety, kids who may have a bad home life and come to school on test day having not eaten since school yesterday, etc., it's entirely possible that a 'highly qualified' teacher do his/her job exceptionally well and still have a number of kids fail. :unsure:
     
  26. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008


    You hit it on the head. :)
     
  27. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    Mine didnt either. He taught us how to take the test so that we would not be freaked out about it and we could focus on the content - what ever that might be- instead of reading the directions.
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,799
    Likes Received:
    1,167

    Jul 22, 2008

    I think that both sothinbelle and sstager have made the same crucial point, though from opposite ends of the teeter-totter. The emphasis on tests as be-all and end-all is detrimental to students - but it isn't NCLB that says one MUST teach to the test: that's a requirement that's issued typically on the district level or even on the school level, and those are the proper levels on which to fight it. If teachers devoted some of the energy that goes into inveighing against NCLB to collecting the statistics to show that teaching to the test (and terrifying the students in the process) is counterproductive, it still wouldn't mean NCLB goes away - but it would make it likelier that NCLB will accomplish what it should accomplish.

    (Why on earth the district honchos think that the solution for test anxiety is to pile on still more anxiety-making, I do not comprehend - but chances are most of them have test anxiety too, frankly.)
     
  29. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 22, 2008

    Before NCLB I was teaching a subject, after I was teaching to a test.
    I have taught Shop for 34 years and math for about 20 (usually one class a year)
    Before NCLB I felt creative, I felt I could think outside the box to Help students understand a concept.
    Now I have to stick to a time table, if a student does not get it they can come to tutoring (if you can get them to go) and My job depends an arbitrary level that all students must achieve (but each student learns at their own pace?!).
    Before My job depended on what the students learned not on a standardized test that uses only one style of assessment.
    AND NCLB does not make accommodations for the non college bound student.
     
  30. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,085
    Likes Received:
    64

    Jul 22, 2008

    I really hate what teaching has become.
     
  31. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 22, 2008

    I was taught by the generation that fought and won WW II, They put a man on the moon, they discovered the cure to Polio, they built the interstate highway system. they made me learn.
    I am ADHD but in school I was just another student that the teacher would give extra help to. I know how to take a multiple guess test and pass it if not ace it. if I was allowed to take our state test I know I would pass it without study (I know I am a teacher and should know a lot, but I think you know what I mean)
    If I was in school now I don't think I'd have anything but a liner knowledge base but because of my Non NCLB teachers I have a well rounded knowledge base.
     
  32. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,070
    Likes Received:
    233

    Jul 22, 2008

    But, perhaps the students were learning to a test.
     
  33. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 22, 2008

    I do not understand your comment?
     
  34. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 22, 2008

    Let me use a baseball analogy
    you are a Shortstop with one out, one on, your team is up one, it is the last inning.
    With NCLB
    You are to stand in one place, you can catch a ball and you can throw a ball the ball is hit and you throw to first and get one out now the power hitter is up...........

    Before NCLB
    You know where to stand at the ready, you can catch and throw the ball, you can read the batter's stance, you know how he hits your pitcher, you know the runner at first is fast, the ball is hit and you make a double play game over you win.


    This feeble attempt is from a poster who maybe right and maybe not but likes baseball and teaching
     
  35. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,070
    Likes Received:
    233

    Jul 22, 2008

    It's not as though the students were non-test focused before. They've always been intensely interested in tests. Most of the "high-stakes" state tests now are hooked mainly to consequences for the teachers, not the students. I've tried for quite some time to find out whether there were any consequences for the students for my own home state's ASK3 and ASK4, for example, and have found essentially none.

    Teachers have always given tests for which there are real consequences. A student interested in doing well on the test is going to listen and learn what they think is likely to be on the test.

    I agree with TeacherGroupie here for the most part -- it's not the federal-level NCLB that's wholly responsible for testing madness.

    Personally, I think better or more complete testing might be in order. Many of the objections I've heard have been that NCLB doesn't truly measure teacher performance because of the semirandom nature of the classes. Testing should at least be within-year pre- and post-testing if you want to measure the effect of individual teachers.
     
  36. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    I personally find testing to be too narrow of a measure to determine the efficacy of a teacher. Additionally, I cannot honestly remember being stressed out by standardized testing as a child. I remember being able to take part in various simulations to help with understanding, I remember having every subject-not just two, I remember just being able to be a kid. When we did take standardized tests, the teachers did not stress the importance of some test for everyone's well being but rather encouraged us just to do our best. And while the feds did not make states use standardized testing, states use them and do so because of NCLB.
     
  37. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 22, 2008

    Ok I see what you mean.
    In the past I made test on the "standard" and what I taught because I knew what the students needed to learn from daily assessments (read as not a formal tests).
    If students needed to know how to find the area of a circle and they know how to find the circumference of a circle why make it tedious doing more that just a few circumference problems? Make more of the problems on the area of a circle.

    Most of NCLB is driven by the need of data and that lets the Bean Counters run it.
     
  38. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2008

    I know that it is not specifically mandated by NCLB, but when a school's funding is based on students' test scores and every student is expected to be on grade level-what did the government really expect schools to do? Ideally, we would teach and the test at the end of the year would be a measure of what the students have learned. But when you make that test the basis on which teachers' job performance is measured and a school's accountability rating is based - then the opposite happens, we teach what's on the test.

    I'm not against the testing as a measure of student success, I'm against the fact that individual differences of students and classrooms are not taken into account (ELL, Special Ed). I'm against there being so much riding on a schools' scores. There are really good schools who don't make AYP because of certain populations and that's just not fair, and there are so-so schools who completely neglect teaching the G/T kids and prepare the heck out of the rest of the kids, score well and are rewarded with more funding-the system should take that into account.
     
  39. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 23, 2008

    Oh, my. I don't even know where to begin. Our administrators, in an effort to increase test scores, are piling more and more work on students before they are physically and emotionally able to handle it. We're smothering them. Then, we teach to the test. We don't teach thinking skills at all. We wouldn't need to teach the test if we could teach kids how to think, but since that's not tested we're told we can't teach it. We introduce way too much way too soon. We should be focusing on a mastery of fewer topics at the earlier levels. True mastery of the basics, combined with the ability to think and problem solve would give us the test scores we want, but instead we're teaching algebra to 5th graders who aren't competent at arithmetic and then wondering why they're doing so poorly.

    edited to add: My beef is with the local administrators response to NCLB...not to NCLB itself. I agree with those of you who have said that it was a response to already present issues in education. It just may not have been the best response.
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,799
    Likes Received:
    1,167

    Jul 23, 2008

    I have said elsewhere and will repeat here that teaching to the test produces at most a one-year spike in scores: if thinking skills aren't taught, the advantage will evaporate. And drilling kids to specific test formats is a recipe for disaster, both for test scores and for the kids' futures.

    If I ran the world... annual tests would still be around, because there really and truly does need to be accountability in this system. But overt "test preparation" would take up only a small slice of the day: ultimately, what we want is kids who trust their own brains enough that they can handle any reasonable test format. And states and districts would trust their teachers' brains enough to let the teachers find methods and materials that would work to help kids really think, so the kids would develop that level of self-trust. And the teachers would work together, in ways they often don't now, so that best practices would be shared and so that the ones who get into the profession "hating" this or that subject area that they have to teach would get help in mastering not just the pedagogy but the content of what they're testing - teachers would teach each other and learn from each other, and administrators would be teachers and learners as well.

    But that's a pipe dream.
     
  41. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 23, 2008

    Teachergroupie for Empress of the World!!!!!! :D

    You'd have my vote.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Missy
Total: 165 (members: 2, guests: 149, robots: 14)
test