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More on schooling equations…

August 30th, 2004 · 1 Comment

As a follow-up to my post on standardized tests, I want to link to this piece Paul Beard wrote as a response to mine

The bottomline is to make an informed choice. Don’t assume the schools are as good or as bad as you remember your own schools. Meet the principal (your kid may become known to them, as mine have [ouch]), meet the teachers, find out what works and what doesn’t. Only then can you decide if it’s a good place for your child to learn. We spend more time researching cars or appliances . . . . does that make sense?

and also this article in today’s Seattle Times Back to school + WASL = anxiety test

Jason Brown did everything a good teacher should do.

He browsed through bookstores. He stockpiled snacks. He got his first-grade classroom all dressed up and ready.

But there was something missing from his back-to-school routine this year: excitement.

Somewhere along the way — among high-stakes testing, shrinking budgets and increasing class size — he lost it.

“I don’t even want to start the school year,” said Brown, 29, who saw the number of students in his Federal Way district classroom spike from 17 to 28 last year. “We’re already getting e-mails about how test scores have got to come up.”

[...]

As education reform kicks into high gear this fall, test scores have taken on more significance than ever.

Under the state’s new graduation requirements, this class of freshmen must pass the 10th-grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) to receive a diploma. Last year’s results showed only about 35 percent of sophomores met that goal.

Under the federal law, No Child Left Behind, schools struggling with test scores last year must show improvement this year or face sanctions. Washington lobbied successfully this summer to get more flexibility on that rule. More than 430 schools in the state failed to meet the law’s definition of “adequate yearly progress” last year.

Tags: homeschool

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Paul // Aug 30, 2004 at 1:52 pm

    Hmm, I’m not trying to pick an argument over this . . . ;-)

    I don’t know enough about the Federal Way district (I barely know anything about the Seattle District) but it is sad to see someone lose their energy after only a few years into their career. I think we’re lucky in my school that we have a principal who will run interference and fight for the teachers and the kids: I can only imagine how things would be if we had a bureaucrat instead of an educator at the helm.

    I searched that story at the Times for the words “parent” and “famil[ies|y]” and it didn’t come up. I think the reporter may have missed a chance to write a better story by leaving out any mention of home and family involvement. This young teacher has 28 kids? How many parents is that? As few as 28 and as many as 56: split the difference and call it 42 extra pairs of hands he can and should call on to make his classroom work for his kids.

    I’m going to look for some sample WASL questions and see what I can make of all this. I’m not worried about my kids but when I volunteer, it might be interesting to see how the kids I work with might do on this kind of thing.

    The bottomline is, I’m no fan of standardized testing in theory or in practice, but rather than a lot of hand-wringing, how else can we determine how kids are doing, if they’re learning, and really understanding the material? As noted in this test from 1895, standardized assessments are nothing new: http://www.paulbeard.org/wordpress/index.php?p=2106