Monday, October 23, 2006

High Test Gambit

Recently, in a Washington Post article on Assessments I found various points which had been the subject of writing teachers' concerns along with students' concerns on the devaluation of education via the intense focus on taking a test that amounts to a pass and you graduate don't pass and you do not get a high school diploma.

The pugnacious attitudes displayed by supporters of these high stakes test demonstrates a lack of understanding or the learning processes people have. Some students do not test well under the best of circumstances and do especially poorly when tested under stress. Despite claims to the contrary, one must wonder whether or not pro-test taking folk really like children or understand their needs.

Another issue that is remotely associated with test taking is the myth that giving piles of homework leads to better learning by students. After observing my granddaughter work through 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and again on Sunday night, I see frustration and rote learning, and picking out answers from study books in place of active reading, thinking and learning.

Our children deserve better. Excessive testing and piles of homework do not seem to be the answers.

Perhaps we could "invest" in time, supplies, books, smaller schools and the like to help our children. Additionally, the idea of drills and rote learning should have perished a long time ago. However, as each new wave of first year students demonstrates, that ancient concept is alive and well and creating problems for the new college students.
See Jay Matthews column: He also discusses the growing antipathy toward high stakes tests by presenting one example of positive school values and successes in a San Diego area school. Perhaps, politicians who have little to know knowledge and experience with education should keep their fingers out of education.

Instead they have the autocratic notion that they can cut programs that work in place of those that do not and then expect better results. This all because the vote to allocate funds for schools.