The coming global testing boondoggle
It’s a stark numerical conundrum: there are only so many standardized tests that boys and girls in the United States can be made to take. If only there were children in some other part of the world who could benefit from a diet rich in assessments and robust in metric… Great news, reader! The hundred of millions of children who live in developing nations, including the world’s poorest countries, represent the next great testing boondoggle frontier of measurability. Inhabiting a little known region known as the *global data gap,* we’ve never before known what they don’t know. But that’s about to change. Continue reading
John King just gave New York parents the perfect spark to fuel the boycott fire.
By Sue Altman
John King cancelled a town hall style meeting in Garden City, NY this week where he was scheduled to discuss policy around testing and education reform. Following a raucous meeting in Poughkeepsie, King accused “special interests” of “manipulating parents” and called off the show. Continue reading
It doesn’t get better…
That smell in the air can only mean one thing: it’s pre-testing time, which means that the real deal, high-stakes testing season, is just around the corner. But how should parents explain to their kids that these tests are really important, and also that the tests are hard because life is hard and if you think that filling in bubbles with a #2 pencil is hard, just wait until you get your first 21st century job with your new skillz? Fortunately you and your young test taker are not alone. The New York City Department of Education has helpfully prepared this helpful guide so that you can help your elementary school student prepare for the intensity and excitement of test time. Note: this is a sample of actual helpful tips merely copied and pasted from the helpful guide. Continue reading
The best thing about writing an anonymous snarky edu-blog is that you hear from so many interesting people. Just yesterday, for example, I was complimented on my excellent writing style, “just like JD Sallinger,” by someone named Shanghai Escort. Thank you sir (madame?), or should I say 謝謝?
Every once in a while I hear from someone who is not offering a product to enhance my organs. Such was the case with the public school teacher whom I’ll call Mr. Mell. EduShyster premium readers may recall Mr. Mell’s story. He teaches at a Massachusetts school where students now spend much of their time practicing taking standardized tests in hopes that they will finally, FINALLY, color in the appropriate bubbles with their #2 pencils when the real high-stakes test arrives later this spring. Note: make no stray marks!
The memo came last week. The latest district directive clearly laid out the course of literacy “instruction” for the next three weeks. We will immediately put our reading series on hold and use sample items from the MCAS, the Massachusetts high-stakes test, to better prepare the students who will soon be taking them. Students will read the passages independently, annotate the text, and answer the questions. Teachers are expected to analyze the responses to identify and address areas of weakness, while also teaching effective test taking strategies. This will be done everyday during the time that used to be spent on reading and writing. Continue reading