Let's give them all one reliable test. And won't this proposal create a whole new bureaucracy?
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All true except for the one test being reliable. Given high stakes and the accompanying pressure, people will game a system. And it is all too true that grades vary widely because of four factors: a teacher's conception of achievement, a teacher's sense of equity and rigor, a teacher's ability, and the composition of students. But people are already gaming standardized testing, sometimes criminally. And, at a basic level of competency, a grade or an evaluative report would give us as much information as we now get from standardized tests.
We have the grade problem at my high school. In the same course or department, a B in one classroom might be an A, or even a C, in another.
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It's a problem for us, and, likely, a problem in most schools. But it has also been an opportunity. Recognizing our grading differences, we opted to create a common conception of achievement, our graduate profile, and department learning outcomes with rubrics.
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Our standards now align closely with the Common Core State Standards. Second, we created common performance tasks that measure these standards and formative assessments that scaffold to them.
Third, we look together at student work. Fourth, we have begun to grade each other's students on these common tasks. We could publish the results of these performance tasks, and the public would have a good idea of what we're good at and what we're not. For example, our students effectively employ reading strategies to comprehend a text, but are often stymied by a lack of vocabulary or complex syntax.
We've also learned most of our students can coherently develop a claim, citing the appropriate evidence to support it when choosing from a restricted universe of data. They aren't as good when the universe of data is broadened. They are mediocre at analysis, counter-arguments, rebuttals, and evaluation of sources, though they have recently gotten better at evaluating sources as we have improved our instruction and formative assessments. A small percentage of our students do not show even basic competency in reading and writing. That's better information than we've ever received from standardized testing.
What's also started to happen is that teachers who use the same standards and rubrics, assign the same performance tasks, and grade each other's work are finding their letter grades starting to align. And, this approach has led to a lot of frank discussions. For example, why are grades different?
Society and Culture Persuasive Essay Topics
Where we have looked, different conceptions of achievement and rigor seem most important. So we have to talk about it. The more we do, the more aligned we will become, and the more honest picture of achievement we can create. It has been fantastic professional development—done without external mandates.
We have a long way to go, but we can understand the value of our efforts and see improvement in student work. I would not advocate publishing individual teachers' grades because it would cause the same problems as publishing individual teachers' standardized-test results, but grades by subject, grade level, and demographic categories could be fair game externally. Internally, those breakdowns should stimulate hard conversations and necessary professional development. The goal is to spur the collaboration and conversation necessary for improvement.
For and against standardized tests: Two student perspectives
Well, that's your district, some might say. It's got a unique collaborative culture and a better sense of achievement than most. You can't do that across the nation. Why not? With the common core, a definition of achievement exists. And teachers are more likely to respond to professional development and accountability more concretely connected to their daily work.
Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality
They are more likely to improve. That leads to the second argument. Even if standardized testing were not only desirable to give the public a picture of basic competencies, but also an efficient way to do so, the costs have been too great. Many have previously made cogent arguments unrealistic definitions of achievement, skewed instructional schemes, inequitable curricular offerings, inevitable corruption, perverted charter school missions, alienation, disempowerment, and embarrassment of educators, etc.
In general, such a school has a compliant or affluent population. Test scores are a point of pride. The school has a good reputation. But, when you go in and observe, the teaching and learning do not impress. Never once have I looked at the test scores of this kind of school and thought, "How could I be more like them?
Even worse, I don't think the teachers at such schools have learned much from their good scores. Standardized tests are of two kinds, the aptitude tests and the achievement tests. In discussions of standardized testing, one controversial issue has been whether high-stakes testing improves or diminishes student learning in a classroom. Essays Essays FlashCards.
Browse Essays. Show More. In Minnesota, one error resulted in 8, students failing a basic math test that, in reality, they all passed. In some cases, essay questions are scored by a person looking over the essay for only a few minutes. That is not enough time in which to fairly judge an essay.
Some teachers will read essays for up to thirty minutes before grading it. These companies are already having problems, and if every school requires annual tests, they could very easily be overwhelmed, thus decreasing the quality and reliability of the tests even more. President Bush would like to require all third through eighth grade students to take annual standardized tests which will represent not only the students, but also the teachers and the schools. If a teacher does not wish to be reprimanded, his or her students will all have to do well on the tests.
In order to be sure that this happens, teachers will teach to the tests. They will focus not on creative writing, but rather on the type of writing that the test scorers will want to see. Instead of taking field trips, students will be practicing analogies and test taking skills. Literature will not be read intensively, but will instead be skimmed for the main. Read More. Words: - Pages:. Essay Standardized Testing And Standardized Tests Standardized tests are a well known controversial issue that have resulted in an ongoing, continuous concern for years.
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Essay The Current American Educational System method of evaluation known to every student as the dreaded standardized test. Words: - Pages: 6. The Standardized Testing Debate Essay Standardized testing is one of the most hotly debated topics in education. Words: - Pages: 5. Popular Essays.