"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tests Drive Increase in Kindergarten Failures

What was once the child's garden is now the briar patch where children who are deemed phonemically unaware (based on the crap pseudoscience of Reid Lyon and Doug Carnine) are labeled as failures before they can ever know about success.

In Texas, where our current national policy of sanctioned child abuse began, 11,684 kindergarteners were failed in 2004 because they posed potential threats to passing rates when (and if) they reach the third grade TAKS. We have just demonstrated that our sanity and, now, our humanity bave been sacrificed on the alter of a monstrous notion of accountability--accountability where children no longer count. This will, no doubt, join the eugenics era as forming the most sordid chapters in American educational history.

A clip from an in-depth piece from the San Antonio Express-News:
Jeanne Russell and Jenny LaCoste-Caputo
The use of standardized testing as a key means to improve public school performance has been a fact of life in Texas since 1993. A lesser-known fact: More kindergarten students have been held back each year during that period.

Both the number and percentage of Texas students repeating kindergarten has inched up each year since the 1994-95 school year. Some San Antonio area districts are retaining kindergarten students at particularly high rates, despite the concerns of early childhood experts who criticize the practice as ineffective and confidence-sapping for young children.

It is not clear whether the emphasis on standardized testing performance alone has led to more 5-year-olds repeating kindergarten here. Nationally, the retention rate has remained flat. What is clear in Texas, however, is that those who teach the youngest children are feeling pressure to prepare their students, not for first grade or even for second, but for third grade, when students take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills for the first time.

In 2003, the state mandated that third graders must pass the TAKS to move on to fourth grade.

"What we realized is that the third grade TAKS is not just a measure of your third grade, it's a measure of your kindergarten through third-grade program," said Alicia Thomas, associate superintendent for instruction in the North East Independent School District. . .

The rest here.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:10 AM

    I personally know of a child that failed kindergarten due to a state-mandated test. The family now must monitor his self-confidence since he is in the same grade with his younger brother and interested in girls in ways no other in his class is just yet. He is a wonderful child and well liked in a new school, but what will the future hold? He was awfully aware of failure for a while. All this because he was not yet ready to read at the age of 5, even after years of preschool. I had always thought that reading readiness was a biological factor in the success of young children learning to read.

    Another kid I know of did not pass the first grade. Her principal took all kids that were behind at the end of first grade and put them together in the same second grade class and gave them a teacher that knew how to remediate while teaching. By the middle of the school year, and definitely by the end of the school year, these kids, including my little friend, had caught up with their class and were promoted to third grade.

    Failure at so young an age can be handled more effectively than making the kids repeat the kindergarten year.
    I think checking the progress of the kids is a good thing, but the pressure on the teacher's job to succeed means that actually working with a kid according to his individual needs is overlooked. Learning is no longer the goal. Teaching is no longer the goal. Getting the high score so you pass and your teacher gets to keep a job is a tremendous burden on a child. Knowing that the only teaching allowed is what is necessary to get your kids to pass a test that is no longer a reflection of natural accomplishment since the teaching done was all towards the test, not towards standards and objectives of a normal grade curriculum, creates stress in the teacher and a severe sense of failure if 100 percent of his/her students do not pass a test designed to have 50% score below the mean.