Standardized Testing
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Teachers protest standardized testing

Teachers protest standardized testing | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
There appears to be a revolt forming across the country against high stakes standardized exams. Teachers at several schools in Seattle are refusing to give students the state's test.
Lena Richie's insight:

The beginning of this new segment talks about the local grumble heard from teachers and administrators that hasn't really reached the national level. However, school consortiums around the United States are starting to adopt policies other than the nationally given standardized tests. This is one step in a positive direction because it allows for individual-based assessment. For example, certain schools in New York have the students demonstrate through their own means the information that they have learned, which I think is so much better than standardized tests. This allows for creativity and passion in a student, and could ignite some inspiration for future learning, which is what education should really be about. Students should be excited to learn, but when they are only learning facts to repeat on test day, they aren't learning anything fun or exciting. Sam Chaltain, the man interviewed in this segment, says that learning is a "personal" process, which I completely agree with, and that standardized testing takes that personalization away. The last thing he talks about is what parents can do, which is go to the neighborhood schools and speak up. If enough people speak up about the issues they find in our schools, the more issues can be changed.

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Matthew M.'s curator insight, April 11, 2015 4:21 PM

This relates to our readings as teachers protest standardized testing, our SUNY CANTON CENTRAL president recently ordered that students be given a GPA for their classes based on a Standardizes final that consists of different but similar subject categories. Teachers in this article have their own reasons for protesting the standardized testing, but I found it cool that not just students dislike the thought of standardized testing but teachers can dislike it too! 

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Educational Leadership:Using Standards and Assessments:Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality

Educational Leadership:Using Standards and Assessments:Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Founded in 1943, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner.
Lena Richie's insight:

James Popham, the man who was interviewed in one of my previous posts, writes here about basic information on standardized tests and discusses some of the basics on the subject. Popham discusses how standardized tests shouldn't determine whether a school is good or bad, which is what Ravitch was discussing during the NPR broadcast. Popham explains that test should be used to make "comparative interpretations" rather than "judge educational quality", like they are today. I completely agree with him, because standardized tests were formed to compare a student's educational level as they grow through the education system. They weren't created to decide which schools were doing their jobs. Although I don't think the tests are even doing the job they were created for, they have moved even farther past that goal to one that is unattainable for most schools. Popham also discusses the "mismatch between what's taught and tested", in the sense that teachers are given broad guidelines about the content of the tests, but they can go in any number of directions with that information. What ends up happening is some teachers miss the mark completely, and their students are left without the proper instruction for the tests they need to do well on. What I like most about Popham's work is that he describes a call to action at the end. He says that learning more, gaining more evidence, and speaking out are three key components to figuring out the problem of standardized testing. Teachers see the situation as pretty bleak, but not a lot is being done to remedy the situation. Starting from something is important, and could change the way standardized testing is done today. 

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Matthew M.'s curator insight, April 11, 2015 4:24 PM

I found that this post related to the readings in Module 6 because of the discussion between using standardized assessments for final GPA's does NOT measure the educational quality that students receive from their teachers. As in my other curation for module 6, you can see that I am against the idea of standardized examinations for college students, especially when reflecting such a representation of a students intelligence.

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Teach to the Test? | Wilson Quarterly

Teach to the Test? | Wilson Quarterly | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Lena Richie's insight:

This essay was interesting to me because it focuses on strictly teaching to the test and how it if forcing teachers and administrators to cheat on standardized testing to raise scores in their schools. I didn't think about the idea that teachers and administration aren't supposed to see the tests before they are given to the students because I assumed they had to look at them for content material. As brought up by Phelps in his essay, drilling test questions only works if the teacher knows the material on the test, but they aren't supposed to know the material before the tests are given out. This means that administration and teachers are doing what they can to boost test scores in their schools, but this being done artificially. In Washington D.C., authorities identify a set of standards that won't be covered on the tests. Some of these standards are, however, on their list to cover for their specific grade or subject. The teachers then have to decide what content is more important, and this means content that isn't on the test usually gets left behind. A lot of the time these are the arts or physical education, which are extremely important in the development of a child. A child needs that time to exercise and be creative, and if they don't have time to do that during the school day they are less likely to focus on the material being presented when they are in class. 

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Matt Hershberger's curator insight, March 30, 7:58 PM

This essay was interesting to me because it focuses on strictly teaching to the test and how it if forcing teachers and administrators to cheat on standardized testing to raise scores in their schools. I didn't think about the idea that teachers and administration aren't supposed to see the tests before they are given to the students because I assumed they had to look at them for content material. As brought up by Phelps in his essay, drilling test questions only works if the teacher knows the material on the test, but they aren't supposed to know the material before the tests are given out. This means that administration and teachers are doing what they can to boost test scores in their schools, but this being done artificially. In Washington D.C., authorities identify a set of standards that won't be covered on the tests. Some of these standards are, however, on their list to cover for their specific grade or subject. The teachers then have to decide what content is more important, and this means content that isn't on the test usually gets left behind. A lot of the time these are the arts or physical education, which are extremely important in the development of a child. A child needs that time to exercise and be creative, and if they don't have time to do that during the school day they are less likely to focus on the material being presented when they are in class. 

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Standardized Tests - ProCon.org

Standardized Tests - ProCon.org | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Is the use of standardized tests improving education in America? Read pros and cons in the debate.
Lena Richie's insight:

This page is entirely made up of the pros and cons to standardized testing in America, which is clearly important to read for background information on this topic. There are also videos on No Child Left Behind and other topics involved with standardized testing, as well as statistics about testing use. The pros and cons are based on the question of whether standardized testing is improving education. One pro argument that I strongly disagreed with stated that "teaching to the test can be a good thing because it focuses on essential content and skills, eliminates time-wasting activities that don't produce learning gains, and motivates students to excel." I don't know how this person would classify "time-wasting activities that don't produce learning gains", but to me it sounds like they are advocating for getting rid of activities that are beneficial for the creativity and enjoyment of the students. It seems like this person wants to take fun out of education and make it about grades and testing, which I strongly disagree with. Teaching to the test has made students dread school, and learning should be interesting and fun.

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Sebastian pira's curator insight, May 15, 2014 11:16 AM

The writer made the article full of pro's and con's of standardized testing. It's neutral and almost like a list.It's available for all ages. 

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Race to Nowhere Theatrical Trailer (Original)

Theatrical Trailer Race to Nowhere: http://www.racetonowhere.com Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed ...
Lena Richie's insight:

This documentary is about the stress students experience because of the educational system today. School has become a competitive environment where students feel it is necessary to be better than their classmates, so they will do anything to get there. This means they are losing out on time to be children and grow and discover like they should be. Testing has become a huge part of this, because students are being taught to the test so they will get good grades so they will go to college and be successful. This formula is detrimental to the physical and emotional health of children because it is causing them to spend abnormal amounts of time on their work so they miss out on the discovery that should be happening as a child. There are some alternatives, such as the Blue School, which are represented in the movie. However, this school is private, so it isn't accessible to a majority of the students in this country. Also, it is very unlikely that the "unorthodox" teaching ideas of this school will work in a public school because of the need for teaching to the test. Standardized testing are causing children to learn how to cheat and stealing their childhood away from them in exchange for their creative ability and drive. This scares me, because children come into schools with an ability to be creative and think for themselves, and that ability is taken away with the first test. 

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Revolt against high-stakes standardized testing spreads

Revolt against high-stakes standardized testing spreads | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
A national revolt against high-stakes standardized testing in school districts across the country keeps growing. Here's the state of the rebellion.
Lena Richie's insight:

This article shows the divide between the national and local levels on the fight for or against standardized testing. The dissatisfaction with standardized testing is starting to creep into government, as superintendents are being removed from office because of their use of standardized testing. One statement that the author made that I agreed with was that even though the struggle to change the standardized testing policies is hard, the "upsurge in opposition to destructive high-stakes testing increases the likelihood" of a victory against the current use of standardized testing. It is important, especially for those who want to fight against standardized testing's use, to see the statistics in this article. They show that moves are being made locally to change educational policy, and this can fuel the fight on a national level. I strongly believe that it takes individuals on a lower level to come together and change things. If the problems don't come from "real" people, the government will not see the problem. 

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Matthew M.'s curator insight, April 11, 2015 4:29 PM

This article relates to our readings once more touching the topic of standardized testing. I am attracted to the articles that negate Standardized Assessments, because I don't think that theses assessments fairly reflect a students knowledge. The spelled out acronym for "GPA" is Grade Point Average. How does a single standardized test that of which represents our Final Grade; qualify as an Average of all the things we have done throughout the semester?  (A question to reflect on for the opposed)

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I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate||Spoken Word

The Latest Spoken Word Video From Suli Breaks. PURCHASE ON ITUNES: http://goo.gl/W2UFZ SUBSCRIBE: http://goo.gl/6mf0j TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/sulibre...
Lena Richie's insight:

This spoken word by Suli Breaks is one of my favorite videos about testing and the potential of students that isn't harnessed by these tests. It begins with a scenario, showing the conditioning that has occured in our society to say that getting good grades and doing well in school is the only way to achieve anything in life. Suli continues by saying that "we all have different thought processes, experiences, and genes, so why is a class full of individuals tested by the same means?" He finishs by saying that students shouldn't let test results decide their fate, because each child is different and should be able to follow what "fuels their drive". I have watched this video so many times because it motivates me to be a better teacher. I want to be the teacher that recognizes what drives each of my students and motivates them to follow that dream. This video shows a first-hand account from a student who is frustrated with the way education is being done. Testimony from teachers, like in the Sunday Dialogue article, and students, like in this video, is evidence for education policy makers to see the detrimental effects they are having on the students and teachers of today. The only problem I have with this video is that  Suli doesn't provide a potential solution, which discredits him slightly. If he had included an opposing viewpoint, I think his argument would seem more well-rounded. Either way, I will continue to watch this video and use it as motivation.

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Alan J. Borsuk - Alan J. Borsuk - Standardized testing reaches crossroads: Test more or test better?

Alan J. Borsuk - Alan J. Borsuk - Standardized testing reaches crossroads: Test more or test better? | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Huge changes are afoot for standardized testing, as changes and criticism collide.
Lena Richie's insight:

This article takes on the "fewer, better" approach when it comes to standardized testing. This means have fewer tests that are better at doing their job. But how do we determine what makes a test "better"? I'm not sure that Borsuk, the author of this article, has the answer, which may be a flaw in his argument. However, he does bring up some good points. He brings up the point that a lot of other posts did, which was that the tests only cover a small portion of the information learned in schools. What he continues with is different though, saying that if the education system has "strong standards but weak tests, we might as well not have the standards," which I thought was a rather pessimistic interpretation of the answer to that problem. Standards are helpful in some respects because they give guidelines and information to the teachers. If there are no standards, the teachers will not know what to teach. With standards, the teachers know what is expected of them, but they hopefully will have room to be creative with the standards to better help the students in their classrooms. One potential solution that is seen in the article is to test less frequently but put the same amount of resources into the testing so the tests become "deeper and more meaningful." This means more questions would be about student writing and overall work, which seems good in theory but is very expensive in practice. The reason standardized testing seems efficient is that it can be read through a computer, so people can be used for other things. I think that having kids write or show something that is important to them as a means of assessing their intelligence would be phenomenal, because they can decide the way they want to be percieved by the education system. However, I don't think this idea is feasible because it is an inefficient way to test and compare every student. 

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Education Expert Turning Her Back On No Child Left Behind?

Education Expert Turning Her Back On No Child Left Behind? | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
The former assistant secretary of education no longer advocates for charter schools or vouchers.
Lena Richie's insight:

This NPR episode interviewed Diane Ravitch, who was the assistant secretary of education. She used to advocate for No Child Left Behind because she believed they were seeing benefits in the skills and abilities of the students. On this radio talk, however, she goes back on her earlier sentiments. She didn't realize that the test was going to become a standard, and if schools couldn't meet that standard, they would be shut down. One quote that I agree with is that "children's test scores are far more complicated than the way they're being recieved today." The problem is that most schools that are closed are in low-income areas where the students need the most schooling since they were born into families with low socio-economic statuses. Socio-economic status is one of the key predictors of a child's ability in schools, so it seems completely backward to take away education from a student who needs it the most. The fact that a set of tests has the ability to completely wipe out a school seems unfair and rash, and in some cases the students in those schools need education the most. It is so interesting to see a leader in education go back on what they believed to be true. She was a strong advocate for No Child Left Behind, standing behind Obama's decisions whole-heartedly. Now, she completely disagrees with the way these standards have played out, and I find it frustrating that these problems weren't discovered until it was too late.

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Stop the War Against Standardized Tests | Hoover Institution

Stop the War Against Standardized Tests | Hoover Institution | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Lena Richie's insight:

This article comes from the standpoint that standardized testing is beneficial in our school system, which is different from both my personal opinion and the stances taken by a lot of my sources. The article discusses some of the major reasons why standardized testing is important to have in schools, as well as refutes some of the reasons why we shouldn't have testing in our educational system. One argument that I found interesting was the idea that tests could reveal strengths in students that could be "further developed in college study and in specialized vocation." What I don't understand is how a standardized test that is supposed to be uniform for all students going to completely show a student's strengths besides the basic "they're better at math than reading" concept. These tests can't show all of the intricacies of an individual student because they aren't individualized. This article talks about how tests only sample a fraction of the information supposedly being taught in schools, like what James Popham said in his interview with PBS. The problem with this is that teachers are only teaching what is on the tests, so they are neglecting full instruction on some of the other topics that are just as important. Also, these other topics could be some that students find the most invigorating, and if they are not getting a chance to learn them, they aren't going to find education interesting or fun. This takes away the well-rounded education they should be recieving. 

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Sebastian pira's curator insight, May 15, 2014 11:05 AM

This article shows the benefits of standardized testing. It has a great  statistics and stories. The spelling and grammar that this author uses is perfectly clear.

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Feeling Over-Tested?

Feeling Over-Tested? | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
This article was written by teen reporters from The Mash, a weekly publication distributed to Chicagoland high schools.
Lena Richie's insight:

This article is an important one to read, because it is written by students, so it shows what they found was important to cover. They present opposing viewpoints, which is important in any piece of writing. To be able to refute different sides of an argument effectively creates credibility in the authors, so the reader feels what they are reading is true. One point that the authors bring up is the idea of pressure from tests, which was also covered in Race to Nowhere, which I reviewed for this forum. Angela Intia, a student in Chicago said that standardized tests don't show the "complete performance" of a child. The pressure can become so great that students find themselves being compared as numbers rather than whole beings to other students, which isn't fair. Also, the students discuss the feelings of teachers about the testing, and the fact that these tests have basically taken "teaching" out of their profession. They are only given what will be on the tests, so both the students and the teachers are left in the dark about why what they are learning and teaching is important. This can't be the way education is done, because students should be about more than one exam grade, and teachers should be able to work outside of the box to fit the needs of their students.

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Interviews - James Popham | Testing Our Schools | FRONTLINE | PBS

Lena Richie's insight:

This interview was with James Popham, who used to make tests and was a professor emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles. He discusses the changing profession of teaching because of standardized testing, and how the standards for teachers when it comes to test scores affect the school environment. One quote that was highlighted in the article which I agree with is "We have to create tests that really do reflect how well teachers have been teaching... The kind of test we're using now is setting up public educators for absolute failure." As it is mentioned in the article, school used to be about transmitting knowledge to the students through effective instruction. Now, school's focus has been shifted to test scores because teachers and schools are evaluated on the success of their students on the tests. What I found interesting that I haven't yet read about was that most tests in schools are actually evaluating the intelligence a student walks into school with, not what they have learned in the schools. It would impossible to cover everything the students have learned, so the test makers choose to cover broader topics, which means the information and test scores aren't indicative of what the child is actually learning in the classroom. That seems extremely unfair and ineffective, because the tests are supposed to be evaluating the teachers but they are only evaluating the students' prior knowledge. 

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Sunday Dialogue: Too Tethered to Tests?

Sunday Dialogue: Too Tethered to Tests? | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Readers debate the influential role of SAT and A.P. exams.
Lena Richie's insight:

This discussion shows a lot of variance in opinion when it comes to standardized testing, which is important for a teacher, or anyone interested in the topic, to read. I have been a firm advocate for removing standardized testing from our educational system, but some of the comments in this dialogue made me question my beliefs. For example, the idea that standardized testing is a necessary evil from Professor Kevin Murphy is one that I have never thought about. His belief is that the SAT is the most reliable so far of any standardized test that bases all students against each other when it comes to college acceptance. If given the chance, I would ask him how one day of testing can really measure the ability of a student who has been working every day in a school for their entire lives. I think that test scores should be a much smaller part of the acceptance process because they are only indicative of one morning, whereas a child's overall resume is indicative of the student they are. I appreciated that Peter Schmidt discussed the SAT's as a means to confirm social status in students. Students whose families can pay for tutors and professional help will do better on the SATs because they will learn the tricks of the test. Students who don't have as much money can't afford the tutors, and are therefore automatically at a disadvantage on test day. This means that these students do worse on the tests, and are less likely to get accepted to colleges, causing the achievement gap to widen.

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