AFT.org "NCLB Watch"
December 2007 / January 2008
The pressure to sacrifice teaching and learning to a treadmill of endless, duplicative testing is a common problem in school these days. But it would be tough to find a state harder hit by this burden than Texas, where public schools must navigate separate state and NCLB accountability provisions based on standardized test scores.
The demands have meant that some schools in Texas are spending 130 days a year involved in some aspect of testing-test prep, test administration, test benchmarking and test scoring. Now teachers are fighting back through a campaign called "Reclaim Your Classroom."
Texas AFT is distributing Reclaim Your Classroom Test Watch cards in schools statewide and on the Internet so that teachers, parents and students can track how much time is spent on testing, including standardized tests like the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), which is used for grading schools under NCLB as well as the state's accountability system.
The cards also track the inordinate amount of time spent preparing for and benchmarking tests-and that pressure has only grown since enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, says Ken Zarifis, a middle school language arts teacher from Austin. Zarifis began to track testing hours well before the campaign kickoff in September.
"My students are losing nine weeks a year to testing," he reports. "Ten years ago, testing was taking about a week out of the year. It's appalling." . . . .
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966
Monday, January 28, 2008
Nine Weeks of Testing
By Patricia Lopez at Ed Equity: