Teachers and Students Collaborating Worldwide
The interview Dan Rather did was frustrating to watch. He left several unanswered questions. The most important one that comes to mind; If other countries are performing at a higher level then what are they doing that we aren't? He never asked that obvious question. So I have to ask myself the question. I come up with several ideas, but the only one that pertains to actual education is politics and money. If educators could set the standards and leave politicians and lobbing groups out of it then things might get better.
I do believe standardized testing is valid and has its place. Actual test taking is something that should be practiced. Also, the test should be relevant to the grade level and align with the CCCS. I understand why the Garfield School didn't want to take the MAP test. They expressed that much of the material being tested didn't even line up with what the students were being taught.
My own children are tested 3 time a year. At the beginning of the year they take the SAT10. This test what the student has already learned in previous years (and remembers over summer). In late spring they take the state mandated FCAT and then at the end of the year they retake the SAT10. The reason for taking the SAT10 twice is the measure how much the student learned. Its a far more comprehensive test. My own children, who are honors, say that it's far more challenging than the FCAT.
As for myself, I hated taking these types of tests. I was a horrible test taker and as a young student I didn't know and didn't care about the value of the test. As I enter the teaching field, students like my younger self, scare me. If my job depends on the students performance then I as a teacher will be putting a huge emphasis on the test.
It’s true that a lot of important details were left out of this documentary because I had a feeling of uncertainty after watching it. I agree with your suggestion that these types of tests do offer validity and have a place in our school system, but it always seems to become very political. I also wish politicians and lobby groups would leave educating to teachers rather than this one type fits all method.
I also hated taking these tests & believe that most students don’t really care about the value of the tests. I can understand that the circumstances would be different if I was a teacher and my job security was placed on student performance. As I stated in my own post, teachers cannot solely be responsibly for student performance. It needs to be a combined effort between students, parents and teachers for true achievements.