Standardized Testing
2.1K views | +0 today
Follow
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Caroline Staffa
Scoop.it!

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.
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This is another scholarly article that supports some areas of standardized testing but does believe that it should be used to measure educational quality.  The article discusses the differences between standard achievement testing and standard aptitude testing.  The SAT and ACT are examples of standardized aptitude exams.  Exams such as the ones students take to measure if their academic skills are on grade level are standardized achievement testing.  The distinction that this article makes compared to "Stop the War Against Standardized Tests" is that these tests are effective for helping students, but they are ineffective in measuring the quality of teaching and education at a school.  I think the difference in perspective is very useful.  

 

I enjoyed reading this article because it was very thought-provoking, and I chose to curate it because it offers a unique perspective on standardized testing that is not extreme to either side of the debate.  The article supports the needs of standardized testing for certain reasons such as understanding a child's strengths and weaknesses, but the author also advocates disagreement when he says "employing standardized achievement tests to ascertain educational quality is like measuring temperature with a tablespoon."  As much as I disagree with using standardized testing to measure students' abilities, potential or skill sets, I do find what he offers in this article extremely valuable to the debate about standardized testing.  I thought his points were eye opening, and it caused me to soften my rock hard stance against standardized testing.  He provided great examples of how these tests measure important information that parents and teachers would need to know.  For example, he says, "One of the most useful of those inferences typically deals with students' relative strengths and weaknesses across subject areas, such as when parents find that their daughter sparkles in mathematics but sinks in science.  A second kind of useful inference that can be based on standardized achievement tests involves a student's growth over time in different subject areas. For example, let's say that a child is given a standardized achievement test every third year. We see that the child's percentile performances in most subjects are relatively similar at each testing, but that the child's percentiles in mathematics appear to drop dramatically at each subsequent testing. That's useful information."  I found myself reluctantly agreeing with him that this information would be helpful to know about students.  However, even if this information is necessary, must we use it in the same high-stakes manner we do now?


After the article discusses how useful information is gained through testing, Popham then goes on to say "but standardized achievement tests should not be used to evaluate the quality of education. That's not what they are supposed to do."  I thought this was really interesting because Walberg thought that standarized testing was an extremely effective way to measure the quality of teaching and of education.  Once again, the two differing perspectives offers much to think about when considering all the arguments about standardized testing.  



more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Caroline Staffa
Scoop.it!

AP-NORC Poll: Parents back high-stakes testing | APNORC.org | APNORC.org

AP-NORC Poll: Parents back high-stakes testing | APNORC.org | APNORC.org | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Seo Description
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Caroline Staffa
Scoop.it!

Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity | Video on TED.com

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This is one of the most popular Ted Talks ever.  It is entitled "How schools kill creativity" by Ken Robinson.  It focuses on different types of intelligence and how schools do not allow students to appreciate their wide range of interests and talents.  He explains that too much of the education system is tailored for college acceptance only. "Children have an extreme capacity for innovation, and all kids have tremendous talents, but we squander them," say Robinson.  He does not specifically address the topic of standardized testing, but I still think it is a wonderful piece to curate for this topic because it supports the reasons why standardized testing is so widely criticized.  Standardized testing focuses on writing, reading and math.  The writing portion is not even creative writing.  Robinson says "creativity is as important as literacy and we should treat it with the same status."  But the education system does not, as evidenced by its focus in high-stakes testing for all students.  He goes on to say that the problem with this is that many highly talented, brilliant and creative people think that they're not because the thing they were good at in school wasnt valued."  He believes we need to change our view of what it means to be intelligent.  

 

He says, "There is not an education system on the planet that teaches dance the way we teach mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important.  I think math is very important, but so is dance.  Children dance all the time. We all do."  He then tells a story about a girl who was a very talented dancer but whose mother took her to the doctor because she could not sit still in class and was very disruptive because she was so fidgety.  She was called "hopeless" at school.  After all of the assessments, the last thing the doctor did was just play the radio and the girl started dancing immediately.  The doctor then explained there was nothing wrong with her.  She is a dancer.  She then went to dance school, and she finally fit in.  She said she had to move to think.  She graduated from the Royal Ballet School, founded her own dance company, choreographed for the best productions on Broadway, and she is multi millionaire. Robinson ends the story by saying that "another doctor might have told her to go on medication and calm down."  This story made me think so much.  This girl probably would have been much too fidgety to sit through standardized testing long enough to score well.  In addition, the standardized tests never would have highlighted her unique abilities and talents.  The tests would have most likely reported that she was average when indeed she was far from it.  

 

After hearing this story, I was really angry and upset towards the education system because I started thinking about my brother whom teachers were constantly calling my parents about.  He has always been incredibly smart, but he didn't listen to teachers or always do the assignments.  He was eventually diagosed with ADHD, and he has been on medicine for it ever since.  The medicine is designed to help him to stay on task in school and focus.  He is one of many people I know put on medicine so they can stay on task in school.  This Ted Talk made me think about whether or not his mind was meant to be focused on the predetermined skillset schools have decided he must master.  If school was not requiring him to focus on the subjects that will help him pass standardized testing, what could he be doing with his active and wandering imagination?  I think this Ted Talk really shows how unfair it is that the schools have decided what students should be good at and what is not important for them to focus on.  I agree with Robinson when he says that instead "we must educate a child's whole being." 

 

It was really interesting that he also talked about how in order to exercise creativity one must make mistakes and not be afraid of being wrong.  In our education system, through standardized testing, being wrong could cost you your future.  I know this to be true, even in college, I am so worried about completing an assignment wrong.  I try to keep my answers as close to the rubric and expectations as possible for fear of being so different that I miss the point.  He ends on an excellent note that inspired me and the audience to make changes in what we value by saying "We can only succeed now by seeing our creative capacity for the richness it is and teach our children the same."

more...
Dominique Pearl's curator insight, May 15, 2014 12:58 PM

This source is useful because  it uses lots of stories and statements

with humor to support it's topic. It has common sense and is appropriate to our age. It's very convincing.

Scooped by Caroline Staffa
Scoop.it!

Stop the War Against Standardized Tests | Hoover Institution

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

This scholarly article published in the Hoover Institution Journal by Herbert J. Walberg defends standardized testing.  I curated this article because it makes the case for standardized testing then addresses all of the arguments against the testing with his rebuttle.  With all of the debate and negative reactions about whether or not standardized testing is effective, I was beginning to wonder what could possibly be good about it.  This article offers a lot of insight about why standardized testing should remain in schools and how it helps both students and teachers.  A quote that stood out to me was, "strengths revealed by standardized tests can help identify notable talents to be further developed in college study and in specialized vocations."  The article "Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Equality" speaks to this arguments as well.  I would have to agree that when standardized testing is implemented correctly and the scores not held against students or teachers then it can be a productive measure of what students are good at.  

 

Comparative studies by John Bishop of Cornell University provide evidence of the learning value of standardized tests. In one study, he found that countries requiring students to take nationally standardized tests showed higher test scores on international tests than those in countries not requiring such tests.  I think that this argument is valid because yes, when students need to take standardized tests several times a year, they will inevitably be better at it than students who do not.  The questions is not whether standardized testing makes students better at standardized testing, the question is: Is standardized testing necessary and useful at all?

 

This article replies to the main concern about standardized testing which is that all skills and talents are not represented in test scores.  Walberg says, "Responsible test-makers, moreover, do not purport to cover all the material the students are expected to learn. Tests sample only a small fraction, perhaps as little as 5 to 10 percent, of all content and skills—just as a national survey may interview as few as 1,500 people for an estimate, within a few percentage points, of national attitudes. Like a national survey that samples the major parts of the country, a standardized test can sample the multiple topics students are expected to learn."  I completely disagree with this argument.  Memorization of words, math equations and reading are what is mainly tested in these exams.  A student may not be good at those, but is an incredibly talented creative writer, has an extensive knowledge of history or especially succeeded in psychology. These subjects are usually nowhere to be seen.  The samples chosen that test students on their overall knowledge are not nearly as encompassig as they should be.

 

Walberg aslo makes the point that "K–12 students will be prepared for tests required for occupational licensing for trades as well as for intellectually demanding professions such as law and medicine. The American Board of Internal Medicine, for example, uses multiple-choice, standardized tests to assess a physician’s judgment before he can be certified in an advanced medical specialty." I understand and acknowledge that is a very good point, but the students who go on to be doctors and lawyers are most likely the students that did very well on their elementary, middle and high school assessments anyway.  The more creative brains that are inhibited by standardized testing need tests that allow them to shine.  They need assessments that don't measure their ability to memorize and follow directions.  They need assessments that ask for creativity, innovation, design or performance such as Ken Robinson suggests.  I think the ideas he argues are for an ideal society, which will never actually work.  Assessments such as the ones proposed by Seattle teachers are excellent replacements for current standardized testing. 

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Caroline Staffa
Scoop.it!

Seattle Teachers, Students Win Historic Victory Over Standardized Testing - YouTube

http://www.democracynow.org - After months of protest, teachers, students and parents in Seattle, Washington, have won their campaign to reject standardized ...
Caroline Staffa's insight:

Seattle, Washington won a historic victory which will relieve them of the requirement to give their high school students' standardized tests, which in Seattle is called the MAP test.  Instead, students have the option to take the tests or use alternative assessments that the school system is still deciding what they will be.  This is an interview with Jesse Hagopian, a teacher who was part of the fight to get rid of standardized testing.  He explains why they fought so hard to reject the testing, the challenges they faced and how to replace the former tests with tests that are more fair and representative of all students' talents and creativity.  The video includes pictures and videos of their protests.

 

In the interview, Hagopian says that Seattle spends $100 million on standardized testing! They suggested throughout their protests to use this money toward hiring reading coaches and tutoring programs to elevate students to where they need to be.  The teachers of Garfield High School were truly dedicated because they were faced with the possibility of 10 days without pay.  Hagopian said that "standardized tests such as the MAP in Seattle try to reduce the teaching-learning process down to a single score or number."  When he said this, I nearly jumped out of my seat and started cheering.  I really do believe this to be true.  Through my field placement and research, I found that teachers and students need much more to represent all their hardwork than a range or number.  I was really excited and proud to see posters at the protests that supported his statement which read "Kids are more than a test score."

 

He then got into the ideas that the teachers at Garfield High have been working on as replacements for the MAP test.  He said "We are not against assessment.  We are against assessments that are not culturally or professionally relevant and do not promote skills needed today."  The examples he provided were assessments that measure many different skills besides circling bubbles such as performance based exams or conducting research then defending the findings to a panel such as what people do for a Ph.D. I was so impressed by these ideas.  These are the kinds of exams where all students can shine because 1) they have options of what kind of exam they want to take and 2) doing research and presentations are real world skills that will do children wonders if they master them early enough.  I added to this site the blog in which their ideas for replacements are being discussed; however, it is not one of my 7 pieces.  It is a wordpress blog called Scrap the Map.  Their ideas match some of Ken Robinson's ideas from "How Schools Kill Creativity" of how to prepare students for the academic inflation such as having them to similar research presentations as is needed for a Ph.D.  It also exercises his ideas of how to include students' creativity and ideas into the curriculum.

 

I was so happy to see this type of success for a school system, and I cannot wait to see all of the other systems that follow.  I chose to curate this piece because it shows the progress made in moving away from standardized tests to far more progressive exams that will better prepare all students.  I also think the alternatives they came up with give all students a chance to succeed.  The best thing that came from this: the students have choices and a voice.  

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Caroline Staffa
Scoop.it!

Standardized Testing | Diary of a Public School Teacher!

Standardized Testing | Diary of a Public School Teacher! | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Posts about Standardized Testing written by Oldschoolteach
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This blog is written by a teacher of 27 years who mainly focuses on her thoughts of standardized testing, which include topics such as its impacts on her students, how it effects her teaching and the various types of standardized testing.  Some of the titles of her articles are "I suffer from FEOA- Fear of Education Acronyms," "I am not a "highly effective" teacher- test scores have spoken!" and "Teachers, Targets and Test Scores!"  These articles show a teacher's passionate reactions to all of the testing she and her students must go through and how she is defined by "arbitrary targets."  I decided to curate this article because some of the articles claimed that standardized testing is great way to measure a teacher's effectiveness yet I think it is important to hear directly from a teacher about her experiences with standardized testing.  

 

An article that I would like to focus on is "I am not a "highly effective" teacher- test scores have spoken!"  According to her students' test scores she was evaluated as an effective teacher, not a highly effective teacher.  What I found most ironic about this article was that she posted an infographic along with this article that listed 22 qualities of a highly effective teacher such as encouragement, using music and art, energizing, investigating, reaching out to parents and globalizing information just to name a few.  "Get good standardized test scores" is not one of the qualities listed.  She responds to this by saying, "It bothers me that I am forced to accept a label that does not describe the type of teacher I am. It bothers me that I am forced to accept a label that is tied to test scores, and not actually how I perform in my classroom."  I think it is so interesting that her views of standardized testing are basically exactly the same as my own even though mine are from a student's perspective and she has the teacher's perspective.  Both students and teachers have to be labeled by these test results, which is unrepresentative of how hard they work together every day in the classroom.  I support this teacher's views that one test with arbitrary target scores cannot possibly measure a teacher's effectiveness or a students' abilities.  

 

She also wrote an article that expresses her support for what the teachers and students at Garfield High as shown in the YouTube video also curated on this page.  She writes, "I admire the teachers of Garfield High so much! What they have done and are still doing is amazing! Not only amazing, but very brave. In the scheme of things, everyone might not see what they are doing as heroic.  However, as an educator, in this economy, in this toxic environment, the fact that these teachers stood up, and against, standardized testing by saying, "No, we won't!" is heroic in my eyes!"  After reading the blog of an incredibly dedicated and passionate teacher combined with the video of Garfield High teachers, I support teachers in finding better ways to assess both them and their students.  It makes me very nervous to enter a field with so many teachers protesting such a large aspect of the system. Reading her blog also intimidates me from being a teacher a little because I am nervous that I will not be able to help my students reach the targets on their standardized tests.  I do not want that to define whether or not I am a good teacher so I stand behind current teachers who are fighting because they should not be definited by a number score either.  

 James Popham's article "Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Equality," which is curated on this page supports these teachers ascertations that standardized test scores do not accurately measure or predict the type of teacher or quality of teacher that they are.

 

more...
Sophie Taminez's curator insight, May 13, 2014 8:59 AM

This source is  useful because it was written by a 27 year old teacher and she explains   her experience. and  the put a lot of links and  comics.In addition she said some things that made you reflect.I thought that testing wasn't  so annoying for teachers but it is.

Dominique Pearl's curator insight, May 13, 2014 1:15 PM

This article had stories to support it ,include links to other websites that say  more detail of the issue , avoid emotional words ,but actual solutions,had proper grammar and spelling , and it had the 6th grade reading level .

 

 

 

Scooped by Caroline Staffa
Scoop.it!

"Animal Testing" Comic

"Animal Testing" Comic | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words...and in my opinion this picture captures the essence of standardized testing in one: HAHA!
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This is a drawn cartoon that shows the irony of asking completely different students to take the exact same test and calling it a fair assessment.  When I first saw this cartoon in EDCI 280, I felt supported and stood up for by other people who recognize the issues with standardized testing.  The first quote that came to my mind was "Everybody is a genius, but if you try to teach a fish to climb a tree, he will live his whole life believing he is stupid," by Albert Einstein.  I chose to curate this cartoon because I think it simplifies yet perfectly exemplifies the arguments against standardized testing.  

 

I started thinking about how, to me, this is so ironic because the monkey got very lucky that the exam focuses on his strong suit, but the fish was one of the most unlucky.  The subject was chosen so arbitrarily that it could have easily been on who could stay under water the longest in which case the fish would have thrived. In my opinion and in my reaction; that is all that standardized testing entails: luck.  Some of these animals have the natural ability, aptitude and resources to climb the tree just as some students in our society have the natural ability, aptitude and resources to pass the standardized tests.  Choosing the assessment of climbing a tree is almost as arbitrary as what students are tested on.  According to "Stop the War against Standardized Testing," the choice of testing subjects are compared to the choice of national survey participants.  Survey participants are chosen AT RANDOM in order to represent the opinions of a nation.  Using this logic, someone who so strongly supports standardized admitted that subjects for the tests are arbitrary chosen to represent  the whole of a students' knowledge.  This just seems completely ridiculous to me. I was not one of the lucky people who was able to get a good enough score on the SATs to get accepted into my top choice colleges.  I had everything except the test score.  I hated that I needed a certain way of thinking to succeed on the exam.  I knew that I had other intelligences such as creative writing, psychology and history.  Where were those skills assessed on my SATs?  How is it possible to measure  and predict a student's entire future and success in college when we only test them on a few skills?  I always knew I wanted to major in a humanity or social science in college so how could my success as a social science major ever be predicted by how well I can do math?  To bring this all back to this cartoon, I think it is a lot like asking: how can a fish be measured by its ability to climb a tree?

more...
Dominique Pearl's curator insight, May 13, 2014 1:28 PM

This picture  has appropriate 6th grade languages ,has good grammar and spelling , makes sense, avoid overly emotional words ,and tells a story. Its simple and gives good information, and has a strong description 

Scooped by Caroline Staffa
Scoop.it!

How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?

How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities? | Standardized Testing | Scoop.it
Student Opinion | Tell us about your experiences with standardized tests.
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This piece is from a Learning blog by the Washington Post that asks students to reply with their opinions of standardized testing.  It begins by asking students to answer in the comment section regarding these questions, "What standardized tests have you taken in your school career? How have your teachers prepared you for them? How well do you do on those kinds of tests in general? How well do you think the ones you have taken have measured your intelligence and abilities? Why?"  

The article then gives a brief background on what standardized was meant to do.  It says that the testing is to make sure that students are learning what the schools and counties have deemed appropriate for them to have mastered by this point in ther education.  The SAT  is made to measure and predict how successful a student will be in college. After reading through the many responses, I decided to curate it because it not only shows the perspective of students but also the differing perspectives between students on standardized testing.

 

I was incredibly shocked by some students reactions because I never met a student that liked standardized testing and thought it was a suitable measurement.  However, Kassie replied by saying "My experiences with standardized test are very helpful. They are help for to me because they show what I need help on and what I need to learn for the next year of school. Standardized test do assess skills and knowledge because they can really help students for the next year. My school spends weeks preparing for these test. In general, the role of these tests is to show what students need help to accomplish the skills they need for next years."  Kassie was not the only student to reply by saying that she thinks standardized testing is helpful for her learning.  Even though I was really surprised, it also made me happy to see that some students like having that structure to help them see where they stand.  The variety of answers among students displays how there are so many different opinions.

 

One student made this suggestion, and I was incredibly impressed.  Cheryl S. said, "Advancement to the next grade level should not be based solely on a student’s ability to do well on a test but on a multitude of other factors as well: course assessments, portfolio of student work over the course of the school year, student reflections on content material, and various low-stakes assessments through the school year to mark improvement."  These ideas are similar to those of the teachers of Seattle schools who defeated their standardized tests.  I am really motivated and inpsired that new actions and ideas are sprouting around the nation as to how we can better assess students that is fair and adheres to the strengths of more students.

 

As part of my reaction to this piece, I decided to include what I would have written if I were to have replied to this post.  I would have said, "I do not think standardized testing successfully measures my intelligence or abilities, and I do not think that any test can meaure a student's potential to succeed.  I have many more intelligences than tested and more abilities than can be seen by bubbling in A, B, C or D and so does every student.  I took many tests throughout elementary, middle and high school, and I always did average or below average.  I also took the SAT, and I spent years trying to master it, trying to make my mind bend in a way that would understand its useless questions, literally crying to mom because I thought I was stupid.  I listened to countless advisors, teachers and tutors telling me I needed a certain way of thinking to do well on this exam.  I just kept wondering, "What is wrong with my own way of thinking?" Well, I never got the score I needed. Yet here I am an honors student at the Univeristy of Maryland so where does that fit into the calculations, measurements and predictions of success by some arbitrary set of questions and answers?"  It may be harsh, but I have always resented the exam that threatened to stand in the way of the dreams that I had worked so hard for.

more...
Sebastian pira's curator insight, May 15, 2014 10:34 AM

This is a great article because it's very neutral. It's grammar and spelling is very accurate and it's easy to read. the article is written in an appropriate language for all ages. The author doesn't get overly emotional about the topic.