Wednesday, October 24, 2012

P.140-End of Book Reflection

The last section of the book focused on something I have mentioned several times in my blog.  The authors talked about the heavy reliance the United States has on standardized test and what we can do to stop that.  The authors proposed two ideas.  I couldn't agree more that getting rid of standardized testing is what we need yet I'm not sure I agree with their proposals.  One idea is is national certifications and the other is skill-based assessment.  National Certification would be interesting.  What would determine who would graduate high school and who wouldn't?  Th authors say that you could take a class or study on your own time for specific tests of your own choosing but who would be motivating these students to study?  Towards the end of the book the authors talk about intrinsic motivation.  They talk about having student develop an interest in something and this will create intrinsic motivation.  Yet, with many of my students I don't think that is possible.  They love a lot of things but still wouldn't want to be tested on it.  Also, how would IEP's be dealt with?  I don't see this system working.  It puts too much responsibility on the student and after all these students are still kids.  I would love for my students to be more responsible but even if it were a topic they loved I think a lot of students would have trouble completing the certificate.  Also, if students want to be a doctor they say, students should get certificates in biology, chemistry, etc.  The problem with that, though, is that almost no students know what they want to do at that age.  If I was asked in high school what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have said something to do with English.  In college I graduated with a degree in pre-med and am now in grad school to be a biology teacher.  You have no idea what you want as a high schooler.

 I agree that standardized testing is not the way to test the knowledge our students have but I'm not sure the way the authors have proposed will work either.  I feel that a good way to determine students knowledge of a core subject would be through portfolios.  You could use a lot of differentiation and give students a list of 30 assessment pieces (projects, tests, webquests, etc).  They would then be able to choose any one they wanted at the end of a unit and compile it in their portfolio.  Their grade would then be based off of the portfolio.  This way students feel that they are more in control of their learning and also can show the teacher what they DO know as opposed to one option assessments where a lot of times students are only showing what they DON't know.  As much as I wish we were moving in the direction of portfolio assessment I don't think that is the case.  At our last team meeting teachers were talking about moving away from the MCAS to a country wide standardized test.  I think that standardized testing is here to stay.  At least for quite a while.

One great point the authors make is about the quality of knowledge we teachers are teaching.  The core curriculum is still heavily focused on trivial knowledge that does not prepare students for the real world after college whatsoever.  It may have forty years ago but things are changing faster than ever now and we need to teach skills that are going to be beneficial to students.  This goes back to standardized testing.  Teachers teach trivial knowledge because it is one of the standards they are told to teach because students will be tested on it.  Student successes on these tests often reflect on the teacher and grant money depends on it.  This means teachers cannot teach information they feel is beneficial but rather are required to teach to the test.  It is a never ending cycle and something needs to be done to stop it.

Teaching to the test causes 50% of 9th and 10th graders to be bored during school.
-According to a report from the text

No comments:

Post a Comment