"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

Search This Blog

Monday, November 19, 2012

YOLO Applied in Standardized Testing. The TOWANDA Moment in Education?

Protesting against standardized tests that have nothing to do with individual student progress is a start.   Don't be a widget in the managed workforce plan.

A student filled out a bubble sheet to standardized answers so the blocks read YOLO:  "You Only Live Once".  The student apparently was maxed out with the incessant testing mandated in common core and other governmental directives designed to track students.

The Washington Post's Adam Heenan reports in Time on testing: 738 minutes in 3 weeks:

I laughed at what the student had created, mostly because the “YOLO” script was evenly distributed across the length of the bubble sheet, demonstrating the student’s skill in measurement and design. But of course it isn’t funny. In my school, in just three weeks’ time, I have calculated that we spent 738 minutes (12 hours and 18 minutes) on preparing for and administering standardized tests. Our students are experiencing testing fatigue, which makes the results from each successive exam they take more invalid and the data about student learning more inaccurate. I can’t blame this student for speaking out against the excessive use of testing throughout our schools.
But the one-day, once-every-few-years standardized testing experience they remember is a far cry from the pervasive, high-stakes phenomenon testing has become. In order to make better policy choices about how we spend our precious education resources, the public needs to know just how much time and money has been spent on high-stakes testing in the No Child Left Behind era. This is why I and others have pushed for a full audit of the time and money that has been spent on all of this testing and test-prep, a call now supported by both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
 This year alone, my colleagues and I have devoted a significant chunk of the additional time we were supposed to have for teaching and collaborating to testing. By mid-October, our school had already sacrificed a week’s worth of teaching and learning time for Chicago’s standardized beginning-of-the-year exams for students in their regular classes, to be repeated for the middle-of-the-year and end-of-the-year exams as well. There have been two days of “testing schedules,” where teachers and students in grades 9, 10 and 11 have had to sacrifice instructional time for EPAS exams (the system of grade-aligned tests from ACT). We have devoted our own time to looking at the data, and common planning time to talking about looking at the data and learning the tests’ gibberish language of “RIT Bands,” “cut scores,” “BOYs, MOYs, and EOYs,” none of which translate to classroom practice. It seems like every single professional conversation we have is not talking about students, but rather about the tests others create.
 And because the stakes of these tests are so high, even the allegedly “optional” tests and interventions become—culturally, if not officially— mandatory. Officials higher up on the school district chain of command constantly warn those of us down below that “we must get our test scores up,” that “our school has been on probation way too long,” and that test-driven sanctions like closure or turnaround are constant threats. Because test scores are being misused as evidence that schools and the people in them—including administrators, teachers, students and even the lunch lady—are failures in teaching and learning, administrators and teachers succumb to the pressure to focus ever more closely on testing.

Read more here.  

Parents, here's an idea.  If your student is to take a test that only measures subgroup scoring such as Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) reports and not an end of a course test that measures and scores individual knowledge and achievement levels, have him/her be a bit creative and use his/her skills in "measurement and design".  Ask your teachers why certain tests are being administered to your child.  Opt out of those assessments not directly assessing your child's knowledge and progress.

Fight back against this incessant testing imposed by private corporations (held unaccountable to taxpayers) on your public school.

Read more about standardized testing from fairtest.org. 

The new cry for education should be "YOLO".  Remember "TOWANDA" in Fried Green Tomatoes?  Students and parents, regain your power in your educational opportunities.  Whether you ascribe to YOLO or TOWANDA, don't be a pawn in this educational reform that is nothing else but a plan for a managed workforce.  These tests/assessments have nothing to do with education.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it clean and constructive. We reserve the right to delete comments that are profane, off topic, or spam.

Site Meter