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Imagination Soup

Imagination Soup | Standardized tests | Scoop.it
The truth about standardized testing -- and it's not pretty.
Jenny Sloane's insight:

I think this post explains out numerous important destructive consquences of testing. However, there a few points that I want to delve into that I think are really important and that I have not mentioned in depth before. The first shocking consequence is that great teachers are leaving the field. With transitioning to Common Core school curricula are becoming much more strict and ordered for exactly how the teacher should teach. There is no longer that freedom for the teacher to educate his/her students in whatever style he/she thinks is most appropriate. This is really unfortunate because it means some of the greatest teachers no longer have a desire or motivation to teach. I would hope that most teacher enter the profession out of a passion for educating students. However, when the curriculum begins to change to make it so the teacher needs to "teach to the test" I can understand why teacher's may lose that passion. I think it is really interesting that this article says that the focus on standardized testing "leads to more and more families opting for homeschooling or private schools". Homeschooling was another one of my topics I did research on. Even though I now see there are some advantages to homeschooling, I still think there are several huge disadvantages. For those who may not be able to afford private schools, I do not think it's fair to have homeschooling as really their only option. Finally, I want to talk about what tests show, which is briefly shown in this article and I also discussed this issue in another education class. Research has shown that test scores are poistively correlated with neighborhooods, zip codes, and income level. Therefore, it makes me question do tests actually measure intelligence? 

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Standardized Testing: The Problem with America's Education System

http://www.change.org/petitions/decrease-the-frequency-and-importance-of-standardized-testing-in-america Video by Declan Jacobs, Sebastian Jones, and Caleb Z...
Jenny Sloane's insight:

This video clip adds further insight to additional problems with standardized testing. Studies have shown that the number of students who experience any sort of depression has drastically increased over recent decades. Although standardized testing is not the sole factor, I agree with points made in this video that it is a very important factor to take into consideration. Kids have so much more pressure put on them to do well on exams and tests. I have heard many stories of my friends are expected to achieve almost unattainable scores. I think it is ridiculous to revolve entire curriculas around succeeding on tests. 

Additionally, I was shocked by the first fact mentioned in this clip. There are many other countries surpass the US in literacy rates, math, and science and do not partake in standardized testing. This proves that there are other succesful ways to learn and measure intelligence that does not including testing. I think the US needs to pay more attention to these facts. Why would we continue with an educational system that is physically and emotionally hurting the students when there are other approaches that are proven to work?

Fact four was another fact that really makes me question standardzied testing even more. It is very expensive to have and administer so many standardized tests. I personally do not think it is okay to take this money out of other school programs, like art, electives, and recess. Testing is not everything; there is more to education than doing well on a test. If you start removing these other programs it is only going to add to the emphasis on testing in schools because all that's going to be left in the curriculum is going to be revolved around tests. The video briefly mentioned that this will result in cutting programs associated with social and moral learning because students will not be tested on that. However, that does not mean these are not important life skills to learn. I would actually argue that social and moral learning is overall more important than getting one good score on a test. Finally, I thought the last statement presented a very strong argument; he said the "goal of education should be to create a generation of problem solver" not to create a generation who can successfully bubble in letters. After listening to this video, I believe our educational system is in drastic need of change. 

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Too many "bubble tests" give standardized testing a "bad rap": Enter technology

Too many "bubble tests" give standardized testing a "bad rap": Enter technology | Standardized tests | Scoop.it
Technology has the potential to transform teaching and learning. It is already sparking a revolution in standardized tests.

Via Mel Riddile
Jenny Sloane's insight:

After reading this article, I was left with many questions. First, why are some standardized tests so much more expensvie and what are the advantages to those tests? For states and schools that do not have the resources, what are they supposed to do or how can they afford even more expensive technology and tests? Furthermore, I think it is debatable whether students should receive different questions on their tests. The whole purpose of standardized tests is for every student to take the same test, hence the name "standardized". This is the first I have ever heard about having computerized tests that will change the level of difficulty of the following questions depending on the performance of the student. I think all students should take the same test; top students will just earn really high scores, but those are the scores that they deserve. If students are answering different questions how can you compare scores? I also thought it was an interesting point about "cut scores". I recently took the Praxis I exam and noticed that every state had different required scores in order to pass. I do not think that is fair. Who gets to decide what are passing scores and why should it differ from state to state? Although the Huffington Post is a reliable source, I wish this article went into more detail that would have answered some of my questions. 

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Parents Let Kids Skip Standardized Tests

Parents Let Kids Skip Standardized Tests | Standardized tests | Scoop.it
A growing group of parents are letting their children skip out on standardized tests.

Via Mel Riddile
Jenny Sloane's insight:

I did not even know parents had a choice to opt of of their children taking standardized tests. I do agree that testing should not start until kids are a little older. I think it ridiculous that a 6 year old should have to worry about taking a test like that. Furthermore, I agree that one disadvantage to standardized tests is that it replaces critical thinking. If both teachers and students main objective is to score well on tests, they will be inclined to teach and learn materials just to master the exams. However, I feel like it should not be the parents chioce whether or not their child should take the tests. If it is part of the curriculum, all students should be required. Even if I do not agree that young children should be taking the tests, if that is what the curriculum calls for, everyone should be expected to follow it. Standardized tests are also a good way to track students' performances. Not that I think students should be compared to each other or really competitive, but it could show if there are any learning gaps that need to be addressed from an early age. One question I would want to ask the author of this article is what do children when other students are preparing or taking standardized tests if their parents let them skip it altogether? This article is from NBC so I think it's purpose is more of getting opinions out in the public rather than reporting statistics and hard facts about the advantages and disadvantages of standardized tests. 

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We <3 PBL.

We <3 PBL. | Standardized tests | Scoop.it
"If your primary focus is getting students to pass a standardized test, then I believe you are misguided." - Patrick Larkin
Jenny Sloane's insight:

I came across this on pinterest and I really liked the quote: "If your primary focus is getting students to pass a standardized test, then I believe you are misguided." I could not have said it better myself. As I have mentioned in other posts, I do not think education should be so focused on standardized testing. There is more to learn in the world than how to take a test. Being able to do well on a standardized test will not get you far in the real world. I am also in EDPS301 and in class today my professor explained that in one of her classes she taught her students were scoring well above average on standardized tests. However, she also noticed that same students were below grade level in reading. She explained that one student would pretend to read Harry Potter, but she discovered that he actually could not read the novel. This is very concerning to me because I fear that some teachers would overlook this detail. They may never even notice that the students are actually struggling in certain subjects because all they care about is that they are doing well on the standardized tests. 

Furthermore, this pin makes me think about the importance of engaging students in learning and teaching in an interesting and fun way to help motivate the students to want to learn. If I walked into a classroom and saw "Today's class: Standardized Test Prep" I would want to turn around and walk out. I feel like I would not enjoy that lesson at all and would have a difficult time staying focused. On the other hand, if I walked into a class and saw "Today's Class: Erupting Volcano Experiment" I would immediately be interested in the lesson and be fully engaged. Furthermore, a lesson like erupting volcano experiment seems like it would be geared towards a first or second grade class and that is being compared to a lesson on standardized test prep. I think that is problematic because I do not think 1st and 2nd graders should not have so much pressure or focus on standardized testing. They are young kids who need the opportunity to be creating and think critically. 

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With Tougher Standardized Tests, a Reminder to Breathe

With Tougher Standardized Tests, a Reminder to Breathe | Standardized tests | Scoop.it
New York City public school students are undergoing rigorous preparation for the redesigned exams, which are likely to cover some material that is not yet in the curriculum.

Via Mel Riddile
Jenny Sloane's insight:

What stood out to me the most in this article was the first sentence when parents begged a principal to postpone a lower school science fair because their child was too stressed and anxious about upcoming tests. I understand that standardized tests are part of almost every curriculum in public schools; however, curriculum should not revolve solely around the tests. Education is more than just taking tests. I think critical thinking, learning to write research papers, and working in groups are just as important as doing well on tests. Everything I just mentioned are crucial elements of education in my opinion and the amount of emphasis and stress that is put on standardized tests only detracts from the other elements. Furthermore, I was appalled to read that this request was made by parents of a lower school student. Children that young should not be exposed to that much pressure or stress that comes along with standardized tests. I do not think it is healthy or fair. The fact that 10 and 11 year olds have to be reminded to just relax and to take a moment to breathe is very concerning to me. If students feel this amount of pressure in elementary school, I do not want to imagine how overwhelmed and stressed they will be in high school and higher education. I think something needs to be done to address these issues and find a way to use testing, but adjust it in a way to make it less stressful. 

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States accelerate shift in student testing. The good, the bad, and the ugly!

States accelerate shift in student testing. The good, the bad, and the ugly! | Standardized tests | Scoop.it

As reported in the L.A. Times, "in a major shift in how California's 6.2 million public school students are taught and tested, state officials plan to drop the standardized exams used since 1999 and replace them with a computerized system next spring."


Via Mel Riddile
Jenny Sloane's insight:

This article starts off talking about the shift to computerized standardzied testing for the Common Core curriculum. This reminded me of one day in my field experience. This semester I have been going to University Park every tuesday morning to work with a first grade class. One day, all the students 3rd grade and up were taking tests. However, it was a different test because it was all on the computer with different rules and instructions. During our lunch break, I had the opportunity to talk with the teachers about how the tests went. They were all horrified and could not stop complaining about the tests. The students were not used to taking tests in this manner and had no idea what they were supposed to do. The teachers were only allowed to read instructions once, which clearly was not enough for the majority of the students. Furthermore, one teacher explained she had to go around basically to every child individually to explain what they should do next. What should have been a more simplified test, turned into an exhausting and unsuccessful test, or at least that is the reaction I felt from listening to the teachers vent. I was a little comforted when I read "these tests next year are not about scores...this is about testing the test and givign students and teachers experience about what this test will look like." Any change in curriculum take a period of adjustment, but what happens if the tests do not get the anticipated results? I think that no matter what test students take, they should be able to see their results along with their parents. I believe it is important for the student and parents, along with the teacher to be able to track individual performances. 

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Mel Riddile's curator insight, September 6, 2013 9:42 AM

The Good

California (and other states) are eliminating "double testing" and moving up the timetable for the new Common Core computerized tests by a year. This means more "at bats" for students and more feedback for teachers.


The Bad

Until now, state standardized tests (in some states) were conducted entirely with pencil and paper. Transitioning from paper and pencil tests to computerized assessments is a huge undertaking. Some states have taken the better part of a decade to make this shift. While there are many advantages to online assessments, making this transition in one year ensures that there will be glitches in the testing process. Experience tells us that school leaders should prepare themselves for every eventuality.


The Ugly

Schools must have enough computers available on each campus to handle the testing. For example. Oklahoma recently announced that the state would not/could not participate in the PARCC assessments because only 15% of OK schools had sufficient hardware and infrastructure.


The Bottom Line

Behind virtually every failure in education we find the best intentions coupled with poor implementation. There is no lack of great ideas or programs. There is, however, an absence of effective implementation.