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Thursday, May 15, 2014

High Stakes Testing Gone Crazy

The latest 'trend' (they're all trends, no one seems interested in fixing real problems) in education is "raising the standards" and measuring performance with "data driven instruction".

What that means is that my students, and most public high school students, are buried under at least 3x more exams than normally exist during a school year.  Today we had the year end 'summative' exam.  This test, which didn't reflect the material from the year, nor much of anything, will be measured against the exam results from the Fall exam.  Here's the problem: the conditions of the exam are totally different, the weather was hot today, my students were all kinds of tired and intellectually checked out.  Never one to excuse student malfeasance and laziness, I was however sympathetic to what they were feeling.  Young people still have a functional BS radar - unlike many adults.  They knew they were being turned into guinea pigs in a lab, and they hated it.

This exam, the iReady exam, the SLO exam and the other Common Core time wasters are now becoming the norm.  Who gains?  Not the students.  They realize that they are not the beneficiaries of any of this kabuki dance - you should realize this too.  The education corporations are making a killing off of this, mainly through consulting fees, but also in exam generation, both paper and digital forms.

Here's my take on this awful trend:

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