Saturday, June 05, 2004

Testing everything, achieving nothing

Via Jay, a great post by Stacie.
    I wonder what would have happened if I was in school now, under No Child Left Behind. My teacher friends tell me that in many districts, silent reading time has been replaced by drills; science and history are being supplanted by drills; and even normal reading and spelling and math drills have been replaced by drills that relate more closely to the standardized tests their students take, that not only determine what their students are doing, but how well the teachers are doing. Forget field trips and art -- it's time to learn how to sit still for 90 minutes, and fill in the bubbles.

    I would have been bored out of my skull. I can tell you that much.

    Sure, I would have scored well on the test, but test-taking is easy for me.

    And because I had parents who read to me, and because I had warm clothes and a comfortable bed and healthy food and a library card, and was born with some academic gifts, my test score would have shouted to the world that my teacher was doing a good job.

    I'd assume the opposite is true as well -- if I was born into poverty, and had parents who meant well but couldn't read or who didn't know exactly what to do with a kid -- or worse, didn't give a damn -- and I wondered where my next meal was coming from and I cared more about whether the heat would be on when I came home than whether I was filling in those little bubbles properly, and I didn't do well on the test, the world would know by my test score that my teacher was crap and my school was failing.

    OK, so it's a bit of hyperbole. But it concerns me that the new list of failing schools came out today, and from what I can tell, the single determining factor was test scores. Not student milestones, not standout musicians and artists, not anything that helps create a productive and peaceful society. Test scores.
Please read the rest from thisWisconsite,