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