We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
From Mark Twain:
"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know...
It's what we know for sure that just ain't so..."
We know for sure that standardized testing is necessary.....
The tests should primarily look for basic literacy and math. If your students can't do the simple test, the kids sure as hell can't do the higher events on Blooms'. If the kids you teach can do higher order thinking, teamwork and the like, they should pass the simple standardized test easily. Think about it, and all of you quit whinning about the tests.
How do you value one skill over another without having the same problem we have now with the tests we have.
All these skills are important; there should be requirements for advancing to the next level, but not JUST literacy/numeracy but also not JUST creativity, or JUST teamwork.... and what does technology mean? Did we ever have a standardized test in pencil? Is not technology a means of learning and expression not an end in itself?
It would be a good thing for us to take a close look at the Aussie system. They have many fewer standardized tests, but teach the basics while at the same time emphasizing creative solutions and alternate problem solving and within a lot of teaming and collaboration.
The problem with all of those is still STANDARDIZED.People are seldom standard if ever. If a teacher cannot assess the sklls, knowledge, creativity, and abilites of diverse subjects in small sized classroom then we need to take the step further and ask what about the whole system is at fault. The time has caome - I believe - that we get rid of 19th century ways of doing.
Just because standardized tests just tap into the basics, doesn't mean it's not correct to emphasize these things for a standardized test. A standardized test is just that, the expected "norm" of learning. Skills that the majority of students are capable of learning. However, teaching and expectations should go beyond standardized tests. Yes, students should be held accountable for basic learning. But, when we look at standards of excellence, then we need to expect higher, such as, creativity and problem solving. The very nature of creativity and problem solving skills make them nearly impossible to assess in a standardized fashion. I fear that if we attempt to assess (in a standardized way, with the general population of students) the subjective, abstract skills such as creativivity, problem solving, teamwork or the broad areas of science, engineering and technology, the waters will get pretty murky.
To ask: "What skill should standardized accountability tests emphasize" misses the point. While schools talk about teaching to grade-level standards, which would systematically give students all the skills that they would need, social promotion is still the rule.
For example, if we talk about teaching to 9th grade standards in various subjects, it presupposes that the grade-level standards for the previous years have been taught and mastered- this is definitely not the case.
In public school classes with "acceptable" teacher to student ratios of 43 to 1 that the Whites have abandon for private schools, predominantly minority students copy answers from a book that they do not understand which the teacher checks off this work without ever reading it because it is not realistic to think that any teacher will grade 215 essay per week. Furthermore, students who have been socially promoted to the point where they are 5-7 years behind grade level need remediation which the average teacher is not trained to give.
If one wonder why 50% of Latinos quit school before graduating, it is because they are tired of being humiliated by a process that is not designed to address their subjective needs.
Basic literacy and numeracy are foundational to creative thinking and problem solve according to Bloom's Taxonomy. Math not only teaches the various mathematical skills necessary to function, it also teaches task sequencing that is applicable to accomplishing tasks in virtually all other subject matter areas. This rote sequencing in math develops the ability to task sequence in virtually all subject matter areas. Without it the illusion of education starts to noticeable break down in middle school and beyond, because the students are being asked to build on skills they have not mastered.