May 21, 2015

Are Schools To Blame For The Testing Circus As Much As Any Vendor Or Public Official?

By Bellwether

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It’s easy to blame Arne Duncan or Pearson for some testing policy you don’t like – but the response of schools may be a culprit, too. I take a look at that in a U.S. News & World Report column today:

It was like I was living an anti-testing blog post. My daughters were stressed and anxious about the upcoming state test. But here’s the thing: They were first graders at the time, so they didn’t even have to take the test for two more years. We live in a state where the elementary school tests don’t start until third grade and are not consequential for kids anyway (and in practice carry little consequence for the adults, either). So why were my kids freaked out?

It turns out, surprisingly enough, when adults in a school make tests into a big deal – telling kids they really matter, wearing matching shirts for solidarity, holding pep rallies, emphasizing test prep rather than teaching and launching parent-teacher association campaigns to make sure everyone is fortified with enough snacks – the kids pick up on it. A cynic might think it’s a deliberate effort to sour parents on the tests.

There’s more, including three big problems with tests today and some ideas for ways forward. Get a snack and the right color shirt and you can read the entire thing here via U.S. News’ The Report (which you can, and should, get in your email box for free). Transfer your test stress to me via Twitter or send me tales of ridiculous stuff happening in the name of testing.

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