Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Standardized testing and scoring: driving out meaningful assessment
A teacher notes yet another damaging effect of the overwhelming amount of standardized testing and teachers removed from the class to score these exams in our schools:
Our last day of five ELA teachers out of building is tomorrow. Thursday starts the five math teachers per day. That only lasts one week. With normal unexpected absences we have had up to nine teachers out of building on any given day since grading began two weeks ago.
The DOE thinks that's okay. I had another testing consequence come my way today when an eighth grade parent asked about their child having multiple subject tests on the same day. I know that having tests on same day is not ideal, but I pointed out that it has been three weeks since some teachers could give any tests on the material they have been teaching in their classes.
One of the aspects of the data driven nonsense of the past decade has been the absolute disregard of "data" collected by teachers. Teachers are always taught to find multiple ways to assess their students, keeping portfolios of various types of assessments, upon which report card grades can be derived. This work seems more and more to be considered worthless. We all know the idea of any standardized test is to normalize results across diverse populations, but what is taught everyday must also be assessed.
As standardized testing takes on more and more value, teacher generated data will not only be more and more ignored, it will be harder and harder to find the time to creatively assess students. One can imagine, thinking about the disgusting piece on Joel Klein in yesterday's NY Times, how his company will be soon at the door of school districts across the country with a suite of digital products, designed like baby food, for easy digestion and predictable results, further marginalizing teachers.