Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 5 of Blog-A-Day: What Needs to End for Education to Begin: Over-testing

So I got an was pertaining to our legislature and how they planned to tie our evaluation to student performance on tests.

It may sound familiar, it's happening all over, but my state, Washington, had actually declined to do it...because it wasn't RIGHT.

But since they lost the ability to use 40 million dollars the way they want to, due to losing the NCLB waiver, and thus propelling themselves into AYP, they have now backtracked citing it was "hard" on officials.

Let's talk about what really is, "hard." Hard is hearing your evaluation will be tied to state testing that you have no control over. It becomes "hard" to understand how legislators, who don't teach by the way, came up with tying student performance on a state test with teacher ability.

What is not hard is figuring out why this is a bad idea. In my day I had one test: the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. I was an anxious introvert and had no qualms whatsoever about taking it. It was one didn't last long...and no one made a fuss over it (from a student standpoint).

Enter in today's world of testing: anxious students, anxious parents, anxious teachers trying to figure out what hoop has to be jumped through in the continuous, ongoing, weeks of assessments. Which now include, get this, third graders typing essays on computers!! Third graders with no keyboarding skills, mind you, are being asked to read, comprehend, analyze, and then produce an essay...on the computer. I can see no stress for them. They are still figuring out how to get along socially and emotionally with others, they are worried over who doesn't like them, they are nine, and we are asking them to perform well in situations that even some adults would fail at. And when they cannot "show what they know" not from a lack of trying, but due to anxiety, lack of keyboarding skills, lack of ability at age 9, etc. we will say, it was that teacher! Let's ding her on her evaluation, that will surely help. Really?

This is so wrong on so many levels. A student is successful when he or she shows growth. Period.

Want to know what will really impact Teacher performance? Pay that is sufficient and equivalent to the true time spent preparing. Training and advancement that is pertinent and paid for. Technology that is up to date and provided without request. Being respected as a professional for the years of education earned. Less testing. More teaching.

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