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Checking In On Standardized Testing

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, talks about standardized testing and new efforts to raise high school graduation rates in the state.

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Comments [18]

squinchy from Elmhurst

Brian's question at 16:28: nice softball, Brian. What was that? Was that was passes for journalism in this country? Good lord. Grow a pair.

Apr. 27 2012 09:07 AM
Vern from Harlem

I can't believe Chancellor Tisch trivialized my concerns as hype.

I live in central Harlem where school closures and predatory co-locations are a reality, based on capacious and putative formulations based largely on test results and red-lining.

I know many teachers and school administrators who are dismayed and demoralized by the amount of time and effort that are sacrificed to prepare and proctor not just standardized tests, but a battery of high stakes tests.

For decades I've worked in CUNY where every year a majority of NYC GRADUATE who apply must be counter-programmed with remediation because so much of the public school curriculum and class-time were sacrificed to prepare for standardized tests.

Rather than being used for benign, corrective assessment they are increasingly used for putative evaluations. These expensive and largely arbitrary tests do effect student promotion, teacher tenure and moral, school closure and co-locations, and funding levels all at the expense of sound curriculum development and teaching/learning practices.

Rather than being used as benign tools, as Chancellor Tisch suggests, they are being used as weapons by the mayor, Chancellor Walcott and the PEP. The ostensible design is to weaken the teachers unions to clear the way to increase the privatization (and profit margins) of public schools.

Our kids will be paying for their free public education with a diminished, non-competitive skill set.

It's not hype. Where I live this is reality.

Apr. 25 2012 11:51 AM
Ralph from Bayonne, N.J.

So if there's ever a need for these kids to take a standardized test in the "real world", they're in terrific shape.
What a great way to learn how to learn! Bravo, U.S. education theorists! It's 2012, but thankfully the U.S. education system is firmly anchored in 1950.

Apr. 25 2012 11:18 AM
Sebastian Polanco from Newark NJ

Granted, there are bad teachers. Not enough, however, to be responsible for the chaos of public education. What about:
1.-The perpetuation of an inadequate curriculum; kids spend elementary school learning just four basic math operations, Shakespeare is still "standard" of good English, instead of History.
2.-The need for "well rounded" education, which implies spending more time training to play tuba, football, baseball, soccer, etc., than the actual time spent learning any of the 3 Rs.
3.-Not to mention a society that looks up to rap troubadours, fat baseball players, and instant TV stars as the ultimate goals in life.

I don't hear much about this. Has anyone noticed?

Apr. 25 2012 11:09 AM
Brogan

What about the children?!! These kids are initially bored when for months all they are doing is preparing for a test. Endless multiple choice sheets. They are being educated in how to take a test -nothing else. There is no creative thought in these tests. Then there is the anxiety and stress that goes with this. We are talking about 8 year olds! How can this be a good system? There are so many ways to evaluate a child and a teacher. This system is not good for children and it is not good for teachers.

Apr. 25 2012 10:45 AM
Sue

Im so sad they had this conversation while our students are at school taking these ridiculous tests. I'd love her to come to my school and watch children get physically sick and tell me this is good for our students!

Apr. 25 2012 10:45 AM
brooklynmom78 from Park Slope, Brooklyn

Just as there should be transparency is banking/finance and investment, Testing allows transparency in education, but is probably more of a measure of the individual student's progress than the teacher's effectiveness. Teachers inherit students from other teachers, and cannot be evaluated based on studen'ts performance on testing. You CAN however judge entire schools with testing. Most of these tests have questions which are put in specifically to be thrown out, or are being tested. If a large majority of the students get it wrong, it is not included as part of the evaluation. They are constantly being analyzed statistically and improved. Fortunately (or unfortunately for some) testing exists as to provide an unbiased measure of performance.

Apr. 25 2012 10:45 AM
amanda

Thank you Ms. Tisch.

Apr. 25 2012 10:43 AM
RJ from prospect hts

1) I resent the idea that somehow an "alternative career path" is "better" than the old "vocational" programs. I'd like to see how Ms. Tisch would now get her plumbing fixed, her small carpentry jobs done, her lights and electrical appliances functioning without the electrician and other stigmatized "vocational" trainees.
2) The stress, and waste of time from playing, art, music, and so many other "extracurricular" activities, my goddaughter has gone through and lost at 10 years old to *ensure* that she gets into a good middle school is not, in no way, no how worth the absurd notion that these tests can be justified.
3) Hype is not the real world; inability to get into a good school is reality.

Apr. 25 2012 10:41 AM
John from NYC

When are we going to have teachers take the SAME tests that their students take. Then we would have a basis for evaluating both students and teachers.

Apr. 25 2012 10:41 AM
Ozzie Schmidt from Woodhaven

Wait a minute, what is the "anti-teacher evaluation movement"? I'm curious to know what she meant by that.

Apr. 25 2012 10:40 AM
Stanley Kushel from Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ms Tisch seems to say to cut the professional testmakers some slack because they construct "about 30 tests a year." Boo-hoo. And yet each individual classroom teacher constructs far more than that on their own each school year. They must do that, on top of all other teaching duties, with all the editorial writers, mayor's watchdogs, and anti-union, teacher-hating "reformers" watching over their shoulders, ready to pounce. Who cuts them slack?

Apr. 25 2012 10:39 AM
MichaelB from m

Why at this point in history, with all the experience of education & educators, does the NYS education institution not know that 90 minutes is too long for that age group to sit and be tested???

Why are soooo many known aspects about childhood development that are known, not incorporated into the education strategies and structure.

For example, why are foreign languages not taught in the youngest grades, when the children's brains are more geared toward learning languages? And why don't school daily schedules take into account the known circadian cycle of teenagers??

Apr. 25 2012 10:39 AM
Ozzie Schmidt from Woodhaven

Wait a minute, what is the "anti-teacher evaluation movement"? I'm curious to know what she meant by that.

Apr. 25 2012 10:38 AM
Beatrice from Soho

If the teacher evaluations are based on more than the test outcomes, then why aren't the students'? They have to pass these tests to be promoted, and one bad day could do it.

Apr. 25 2012 10:38 AM

Both Commissioner King and Tisch wrote that teachers who are rated ineffective on tests will be rated ineffective overall; so this is NOT really multiple measures as she claims.

Apr. 25 2012 10:38 AM
John from office

What will happen is the blacks and latinos will be steered into the "trades" by the cultural police. The public schools are being shaped and formed into insignificance. Lots of words for 30 years and still kids can not do the basic reading and writing.
Liberalism has taken a great system and truned it into a political and cultural football.

Apr. 25 2012 10:34 AM

Does Tisch support the public release of teacher evaluations, and if so, why?

Apr. 25 2012 10:32 AM

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