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Obama: Too much testing
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feuser



Joined: 29 Oct 2002
Posts: 1442

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:26 am    Post subject: Obama: Too much testing Reply with quote

Finally something we can all get behind:
http://qz.com/532572/obama-thinks-kids-are-spending-too-much-time-on-standardized-tests/


In an announcement today, via Facebook, Obama said he wants to prevent public school students from spending more than 2% of their total classroom hours on testing. The proposal comes at the same time as a new study of the nationís 66 largest school districts that found that students are spending between 20 and 25 hours a year taking tests.

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florian - ny22

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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Average school year is 180 days. Average hours per day 6.7. So, total hours in school year 1,206...........2% of 1,206 is 24.12 hours, or, about the time that is currently being spent on testing. What is it that we can all get behind?
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 7402

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really, the issue is about the value of standardized tests, and the strategy of focusing teaching on being prepared for the test.

When you think about it, how does one prepare an average American student for a productive future? As I see it, life and work is about solving problems and improving how things work. It doesn't really matter what the work is.

What curriculum, or different series of them, should we be teaching to yield the best results? As I see it, we could do better. With manufacturing jobs going to the emerging third world, even China is going to feel the pinch.

What kind of jobs await the kids and young adults of today into the future? The thing to remember is that answer isn't always reserved for the best and the brightest, since it must be also focused on the average American with less than a stellar academic history and middle of the road performance. We can't walk away from reality.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 7422

PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It always amazes me that right wingers, who haven't spent appreciable time in classrooms in decades, just know what the answers are. Those answers tend to benefit businesses to the detriment of public service, and further the segregation of our schools--under the talking points of choice and no child left behind.

To correct the misconceptions of mrgybe, who doesn't know what goes on in a classroom. Teachers evaluate students every day. They look at the student's homework, and whether or not it shows they understood the concepts. They arrange for intervention by specialists in math, reading, and mental health when those evaluations show that student's are struggling. They use the results of those evaluations to adjust their teaching methods, and to reinforce lessons that didn't get through to some students. It happens every day, not once a year--but it happens in the context of improving teaching and figuring out on an ongoing basis, not at the end of the year, which students are learning.
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jpbassman



Joined: 19 May 1998
Posts: 2754
Location: Leo

PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Standardized tests:

Version 1: A question is asked and there are 5 answers to choose from. 4 are varying degrees of wrong with one being the correct answer. Anyone who has studied the material should get the right answer.


Version 2: A question is asked and there are 5 answers to choose from. 4 are varying degrees of right with one being more right than the rest. Anyone who has studied the material could easily select the wrong answer. Why? because in their mind it isn't the wrong answer, but it isn't the most right answer so that's why they got it wrong.


Embarassed

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feuser



Joined: 29 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought this would be the most non-controversial issue possible. The emphasis on standardized test, test preparation etc. has been decried by both parents and teachers alike.

I can tell you as the parent of a NYC high school candidate, that reality is a far cry from the 2 percent number (the desired maximum allotted time for testing and evaluating).

Instead of asking "what did you learn at school today?", I've been asking my boy "how did you score on the xyz practice test?". Returning the emphasis in education to its original purpose from testing and specific test prep is welcome news here.

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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrgybe wrote:
What is it that we can all get behind?

With no kids in school and only 30 hours in my days, I pay just barely enough attention to school issues to cast moderaterly informed votes on them. However, reports have surfaced for years now of countless school systems and individual teachers not only teaching to the standardized tests at the expense of what kids SHOULD be learning (whatever that entails), but also giving the kids the answers in advance to boost teachers' and schools' performance records. If reducing slavery to such testing is the main or fallout outcome of Obama's concern, it sounds laudable. If it went further and put cheating school administrators and teachers in jail and ended their careers ... where do I vote YES for this plan?

If, OTOH, Obama wants all testing reduced ... where's the gong or buzzer on THAT misfire? I'd have learned a helluva lot less if I hadn't held my nose to the grindstone to do well in substantive, relevant tests (I preceded standardized testing) throughout my 20 years in secondary school and college. I'd LOVE to have gotten more than 4 or 5 hours' sleep most school nights between the ages of 12 and 25, at least. The WORST years of sleep deprivation? Seventh grade, a bit less in 12th grade, and every single night in college.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a shame that the Obama Administration didn't consult with the experts on this forum before introducing policies that perpetuated and increased standardized testing. Fortunately, they have now recognized their mistake and taken a much more scientific approach to derive the correct level of testing.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/26/where-did-obama-administrations-2-percent-cap-on-standardized-testing-come-from-you-wont-believe-it-or-maybe-you-will/
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 7422

PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boy it would be nice to have commentary that was a little more thoughtful and not just another slap at Obama. I agree that Obama and Arne Duncan have perpetuated the mistakes of George Miller and George Bush in the no child left behind program. There were good intentions all around, but the idea of high proficiency for all or schools would be closed was a meat cleaver where a scalpel was needed. Using grants rather than threats of closure has not been an improvement; it tinkers with only a few schools rather than provide funding for those most in need. The failure of these efforts, bipartisan on the part of No Child Left Behind, and an attempt at reform under Obama, suggests to me that the Federal government is not the best party to implement educational reform. Between partisanship and the lack of real expertise on education, what comes out of Congress, or even the Department of Education, is unlikely to be the best new ideas that quality research on education methods suggests would work.

I have seen Common Corps rolled out in elementary schools; it is a dramatic upgrade in curriculum. The best education minds agree that upgrading curriculum is the best way to improve education. For mathematics in particular it is an upgrade. But it is opposed by many conservatives as an unwanted intrusion of the Federal government into schooling. Since it is a state program, and not Federally mandated, this is just more silly stuff from inside the beltway.

My sister, who retired from teaching math in high schools in Los Angeles's system, reminds me that reforms are cyclical, and have good aspects as well as bad. She has heard complaints about the value of Common Core as a high school program--those complaints might be legitimate, I don't know.

It might be more useful to post ideas about what would be an improvement instead of a link to a multi-page article that has not been summarized.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac wrote:
Boy it would be nice to have commentary that was a little more thoughtful and not just another slap at........

Do as I say, not as I do.
mac wrote:
It always amazes me that right wingers, who haven't spent appreciable time in classrooms in decades, just know what the answers are. Those answers tend to benefit businesses to the detriment of public service, and further the segregation of our schools--under the talking points of choice and no child left behind. To correct the misconceptions of mrgybe, who doesn't know what goes on in a classroom.

This is the response to a legitimate question which Berkeley predictably chose to turn into a left vs right issue. The Federal government has been spectacularly unsuccessful in elevating educational standards in this country, yet now we should celebrate the Administration's latest tinkering, which seems very minor, and is a U-turn from their previous position? Could it be that teachers dislike testing because they know it is an attempt to objectively assess their performance? And could parents dislike testing because they prefer to believe that little Johnny is being educated without the unpleasantness of poor test results? Education prepares children for life. Try becoming a doctor, a lawyer an accountant, a plumber, an electrician etc, etc, without passing tests. Less than an hour a week of testing doesn't seem unreasonable to me. The prospect of a test certainly focuses the mind of most students.
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