Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Topic: High-Stakes Testing

10-second review: Testing has become a money-making industry at the expense of teaching.

Title: “Taking Testing’s Temperature.” Yvonne Siu-Runyan. Language Arts (May 2009), 393-394. The elementary school publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “Since passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, high-stakes testing continues to be a great distraction to education as well as a great moneymaker for the test publishers. Huge resources in time, energy, and money are spent prepping students for tests, taking the tests, scoring the tests, and reporting the results of tests. Schools have been shut down, teachers have left the field, and funding has been diverted as these test data are being used for tracking, promoting, retaining and graduating students.” p. 393.

Comment: That’s one point of view of high-stakes testing. Teaching has become test preparation and, as I am sure you can tell from my blogs on English education, I prefer 95% teaching and a testing program that allows for some (5%) test preparation. I still believe that if I teach effectively, my students will succeed on any fair test of reading and writing.

A standardized test cannot duplicate what happens in literary discussions, does not allow students to ask their own questions concerning the literature and gives little time for brainstorming, revising and editing in writing . For the most part, students have to write it right the first time. High-stakes testing is an artificial situation that reflects very little of what occurs in the English classroom. RayS.

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