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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Fearless Crusader" to Give Speech at "Working Strategy" Session to Build Support for AFT/NEA Testing Lite

With all the buzz now about a new NCLB to replace the old one, the NPE, neoliberal anti-reformy groups, and the corporate unions they support have carved out their position on high stakes testing: there should be none of it, except, of course, for once in elementary school, middle school, and high school.  That's all.  Promise.  Otherwise, there should no standardized testing at all, except for annual testing to give parents and teachers information that shouldn't count for anything else.  That's all.  Just that.

Ravitch and her NPE duds are so excited that they are hosting an action-promising mini-talkathon in NYC on January 21.  Everyone who comes is promised a chance to offer an idea that could lead someday to some action, maybe.    Or you can "propose new testing practices that put the focus back on learning," as the flyer says.

Do we really need another, any, one, or some "testing practice" to put the focus back on learning?  You can't make this stuff up--I'm not kidding.

If you haven't puked your computer yet, there are tickets remaining to hear the "fearless crusader" once again.


  1. Anonymous11:24 PM

    I attended PARCC training this evening and I experienced difficulty answering third grade ELA questions. Lord have mercy!

  2. Yeah, there's a logical error there, and I commented this there.

    "I don’t understand: we read countless articles here and elsewhere about how tests don’t (can’t) show the really important indicators of educational progress, but now the professor seems to say that grade-span testing is fine—I guess for diagnostic and informational purposes. What information do tests give to parents and what do they diagnose? Not educational progress, right? Let’s be concrete. What kind of information can we gather from a math test? Can we find out how well a child understands math? In may experience, all we can find out from the math tests given to our kids is how meticulously and how fast they can calculate. Imo, this is not exactly a fundamental skill every child needs to learn and master, and not only they don’t test understanding, but they don’t even test logical thinking skills.

    I understand that people don’t want to drop tests cold from the system. They’d like to start with a compromise. Please at least drop this crazy custom that kids have to solve problems quickly, like one problem a minute. No, give, say, at least 5 or even 10 minutes for each problem, so that even slower thinkers have a chance to do well in math. Understanding of math has nothing to do with speed of thinking.

    This remark about speed-testing is quite general and applies to other subjects as well. Most kids won’t work in the ER when they grow up, so whipping out answers quickly is not a fundamental skill everybody needs to develop."

  3. I agree:

    Sent to the Washington Post, Jan 14.
    A new proposal for the revision of the federal education law calls for annual testing to see how students are progressing, to allow teachers "to diagnose and help their students." ("AFT backs annual testing, with an asterisk," Jan 14).
    The proposal is saying, in other words, that teacher evaluations of students means nothing: We should value scores on a single test constructed by distant strangers more than the judgments of professionals who work with students every day.
    Those who place high value on standardized test results should trust the competence of American teachers: when researchers control for the effects of poverty, American students rank at the top of the world on international tests.  
    Keeping annual standardized testing has one major advantage over relying on teacher judgments: It is expensive, and computer and testing companies can continue to make good profits.
    Stephen Krashen