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
This kindergartner cries upon learning that she has failed her career test and is qualified to work only as a school turnaround artist, a field in which she can operate free of the burden of success or failure.
News that the ACT is developing a cool new career test for kindergartners was met with predictable scorn and outrage by the anti-testing crew. While the spectacle of kiddies clutching crayons and coloring in bubbles to correspond with their career interests was apparently too much for the no test brigade, the EduShyster gives the idea a 36, a perfect score by ACT standards.
Why does EduShyster love the idea so much? A) Our youngsters are being taught the important skill of coloring inside the bubble, one that they will put to use on infinite occasions during the next 13 years B) career decisions, much like the proclivity for white collar crime, are genetically determined and this test will simply help us identify what jobs are in Johnnie’s genes C) this test will give us a cool new way to evaluate the performance of Johnnie’s teacher and help her transition to a new career if necessary D) this test teaches kids how important it is to share, as in: by introducing a career test for kindergarteners, ACT made an aggressive move to capture market share among young test takers. E) the test is so easy that even a pineapple can take it, after which the remaining kindergartners may dine on said pineapple’s rings.
Besides, everyone knows that most children have already formed strong career preferences by the age of 3. (The young EduShyster had already begun training for a job involving cake eating, sandboxes and anything having to do with bathrooms). Continue reading