Sunday, May 6, 2012

Facebook Post/Thread reveals lack of confidence in standardized testing…

Recently, I read a posting on a friend’s Facebook page that allowed me to look through the lens of a parent/community member rather than through my own lens as an educator and as a school leader. This post resonated with me in great ways. It primarily resonated with me for two reasons: 1. it reveals the public disdain for the over-emphasis on standardized testing AND 2. It shows the truly sad state for which public education has allowed itself to arrive.
Aren’t we, as an educational institution, supposed to instill confidence in our community members? Shouldn’t we push our clientele of students to be creative and innovative in their dreams and aspirations rather than focus on filling in bubbles with a #2 pencil? Don't we want students and parents to look forward ot a week of school rather than dreaded it? Some might say, “One has to look no further than relevant trailblazers such as Diane Ravitch, Daniel Pink, Eric Sheninger, Alan November, Philip Schlechty, and Tom Whitby to see that there are better ways to meet the needs of students.” However, as I have recently noticed… we may not have to look that far, but rather look closely at Facebook pages of our friends- someone local, someone practical, someone pragmatic, someone on the front lines to see that the current state of standardized testing is simply not “good business,” it does not meet our student’s needs, and it does not please our “customers.” Below, I have posted the Facebook thread (with my friend’s permission) exactly how it appears. Subsequently, I posted a solution below…
Original Poster… Since the kids are new to public school, I had forgotten how the world almost stops for TCAP testing....
Friend #1- Ridiculous isn’t it?
Friend #2- They talk about this thing the ENTIRE year.
Friend #3- They spend the whole year preparing for this week. They talk about it all year. I actually think the focus on this test is a negative when it comes to education. Teachers no longer have the ability to be creative when teaching because everything is about these tests. Sad really. It doesn't get easier either. My son is in 8th grade and all year they have threatened the 8th graders with how the tests can ruin high school if they do bad. Crazy.
Original Poster- Such pressure! Get plenty of a wonderfully rounded and nutritious breakfast....DON'T get sick that week......NO interruptions during school hours.....a serious snack schedule that week....cancelling softball games the night before....etc. Man, I'm so scared, AND IT'S NOT EVEN ME TAKING THEM!! LOL
Friend #4- Max is just excited that we cook him bacon and eggs that week! Sad isn't it? Good luck!
Friend #3- Yea, I am doing sausage, eggs and toast this week. My kids think they hut the lottery lol of course the 14 year old is mad he is going to bed at 8 instead of 9:30 lol the 9 year old already goes to bed between 7:30 and 8 and jumps out of bed early with no problems lol
Friend #1- Haha, our TCAP starts friday and since savannah had surgery i looked at the absence policy for TCAP and its insane!! Has to go to the county for approval, etc.. So crazy that im trying to hurry her recovery just for the test!!
Friend #5- Well in KY, we have GMADE testing. Last Friday the school sent home a letter saying the kids would be testing, get sleep, eat a good breakfast , no drs appts etc for the week of April 16-20th Really??? You send a letter home after the tests are done!!
Original Poster- We start on Friday too....ugh...Will be a LONG next week! :/
Solution: collectively put our efforts together in order to re-shape what we value in terms of teaching and learning and make our voices known. A great way to do this is through local technology mediums such as social networking. I have dedicated this blog to sharing these educational reform ideas. Specifically, twitter is a great way to share ideas. I have founded the following hashtag as a way to put minds and hearts together: #edudream. If you have a dream for how to improve education for the better, tweet your idea and tag it with #edudream


  1. I see why we test. After all, you can't manage what you can't measure. But we're creating an education culture that measures not how well we prepare our children for critical thinking, comprehension, and ultimately life. Instead, we are measuring how well we prepare our children for a single test.

    This can't be the dream.

    I doubt that abandoning all forms of assessment is the answer, since we can only reward the things we want repeated, but is there not a way for us to assess our students' and teachers' PROGRESS, as opposed to measuring their readiness for a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all bubble sheet?

    1. Brian... some good points there. I love the idea that you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Isn't the struggle finding ways/metrics that measure dreaming, creativity, and many of the attributes you listed above such as critical thinking? Good stuff man!


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