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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

1,400 Principals and 1,100 Scholars in New York Alone Press State to End High Stakes Testing Madness

HT to Stan Karp:

The movement against the misuse and overuse of standardized testing continues to grow. Yesterday in NY, 1100 scholars joined 1400 principals in urging the state to replace high stakes testing policies with “multiple pathways” for students and accountability purposes. The NY City Council will consider a national resolution on high stakes testing endorsed by 350 organizations, hundreds of school boards and over 10,000 individuals.
If you think the next generation of tests based on the “common core” will improve things, read the interview below with testing expert Jim Angermeyr, who helped create the new generation tests, but now says he would do away with NCLB, state standards and mandated assessments for “accountability” and “put testing back as a local control issue in school districts.”
New York Civil Liberties Union
“New York’s over-reliance on high-stakes standardized testing harms students, teachers and public schools, with especially harsh consequences for high-need students and the teachers and schools that serve them, according to a letter signed by more than 1,100 New York State professors and released Wednesday by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The experts – from across the state, in disciplines that include education, law, statistics, history, psychology and anthropology – offered professional expertise to help the state generate multiple pathways for accountability. The letter was released during a panel of educators and academics convened by the NYCLU focusing on the problems associated with an over-reliance on high-stakes testing. “Academics across New York call on the State Education Department to explore alternative testing strategies,” said Michelle Fine, distinguished professor of psychology, urban education and women’s studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York who organized the movement behind the letter. “We are eager to work with state education leaders on assessments that meet federal No Child Left Behind guidelines, but would not promote the disparate impact of testing on high-need youth, undermine teacher professionalism or be a criterion for school closings.”
More than 10,000 individuals, 350 organizations and hundreds of school boards have now endorsed the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing.  Launched by education, civil rights and religious groups including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Educational Fund, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Parents Across America and the National Education Association as well as FairTest, the National Resolution urges state officials to “reexamine school accountability.” It calls for a system “which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools.” It also asks Congress and the Obama Administration to overhaul No Child Left Behind.
Minneapolis Post
“If I was running the world, I would severely reduce the accountability stakes for tests. I would certainly eliminate things like No Child Left Behind. I would probably take away the current waiver. Even if it looks better, sometimes it's still really the same wolf in different clothing.
I would do away with standards, to be honest. Even though on paper they sound kind of cool, they assume all kids are the same and they all make progress the same way and move in lockstep. And that's just not accurate. Standards distort individual differences among kids. And that's bad.
I would put testing back as a local control issue in school districts. I would take the emphasis off of evaluating and [compensating] teachers. I would put the emphasis on good training for principals and curriculum specialists and teachers on how to interpret data and use it for the kind of diagnosis and assessment that it was originally intended for.
Matthew Di Carlo, Shanker Blog
The Colorado “growth model” is the model for the system being adopted in New Jersey as the basis for the new teacher evaluation ratings and for new “performance reports” that will replace NJ’s current school report cards.
Wall Street Journal
Thomas Kane, a professor of education and economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the faculty director for the Center for Education Policy Research, argues in favor of using test scores in evaluating teachers. Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun professor of education and faculty co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, Stanford University, argues against.

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