Because of the new Common Core Standards, the whole state testing “thing” (at least here in California). is going to change in 2014. Math teachers are flipping because it looks like it’s going to be all about the word problem. (Me: Yay! Finally!) We LA teachers know that no matter what, we’re looking at something we’ve seen/had to do forever. Essay questions? Sorry, constructed response questions? Been there done that; still do it pretty much every week. Short answer or MC questions about literature or nonfiction reading? Yawn. We’ve all been doing that pretty much from the git go. Emphasis on argumentation and supporting a position? Sorta kinda one of English teachers’ favorite things.
But the whole emphasis on a single test (or series of tests) of some kind, that judges whether you have what it takes to make it in this modern world, is seriously ridiculous. The whole testing craze is driven by corporate interests, who have no desire other than to make money by privatizing education and testing.
Nobody makes this point mo’ bettah than my MiddleL guru, Marion Brady, with his latest post to the listserv.
The deforming education reformers have jerry-built a structure
that stands on a single, fragile base-the high-stakes standardized test.
Test scores shape kids’ futures, get teachers and administrators fired,
close schools, set pay levels, distort instructional priorities, drive
stupid policy, perpetuate simplistic notions of educating, etc., etc., etc.
Public naïveté about the limitations of testing, our fascination
with ranking, industry secrecy, behind-the-scenes deals, attacks on
teachers, clever marketing-these and other factors have worked to divert
attention from the tests themselves.
Last Friday afternoon I attended a campaign affair for a high
school teacher in a neighboring county who’s taken a leave of absence to run
for state office. He said he could use a flyer or handout that pulled
together on a single page problems with standardized tests that most people
attending his functions may not have thought about.
Below is a link to what I sent him this morning. It occurs to me
that others might find it useful. If so, have at it. The url at the bottom
makes it easy to copy and print. If you think it could help, blanket the
country with it.
I’m open for suggestions for improving it (within the available
(You have to right-click, and choose “save as.” Then you can double-click on the download and it will open. Pass it on. Here’s a link that works when you click it.