my language, but I do want to ask this to those of you who are vehement about
how bad lots of testing is and how horrible high stakes tests are. I have hated
all the testing and the Big Test for twenty years now. Where were all of
you? Why didn’t you ever join me? This testing mania has been
around for decades and now suddenly youfigureout that it’s bad for kids? And why do
you blame it on Common Core?
littlehistory. We have had
high stakes testing for about twenty years now. I was teaching when
Colorado adopted the Big Test, the ColoradoStudentAssessment Program. The governor
at the time was sure education would improve if we had a Big Test For All To
Take. I was outspoken at the time that the test was unnecessary and bad
for students. The governor and a congressman who was a big supporter of the
test were persuaded to take the 11thgrade
test. The governor refused to have his test scored; the congressman said
he hoped his test would be shredded. I was livid and I wrote a guest
column for thepaper: how valid is the test
if very successful people can fail it? It must measure something that
doesn’t matter in life. Andwhat a
waste of time and money! This was 15 YEARS BEFORE
district purchasedtestprep packets and we were supposed to
go through them for the month leading to the Big Test. Students and teachers got seriously stressedat CSAP time. I felt the packets were
not the best use of instructional time and, in defiance, never used them.
(My students test scores were as high or higher than my peers who used the
packet in fear of the big test.) This started 15 YEARS BEFORE COMMON CORE.
I had my son opt outof the Big Test. I felt it wasted a
week of his life, had no instructional value, and told teachers nothing about
him that they didn’t already know. This was 10 YEARS BEFORE COMMON CORE.
district added MAP testing two times a year, DRA testing two times a year, and
a district-created writing assessment four times a year. I gave the first
writing assessment and realized that it had no instructional value so I never
gave it again. I was prepared to use the “asking forgiveness is easier
than asking permission” defense, but no one ever noticed. I was livid
again. Why all this testing? No one
can keep up with it! This started 8 YEARS BEFORE COMMON
teaching 8thgrade when the district added the EXPLORE
test. The EXPLORE test predicts how well kids will do on the PLAN test
which predicts how well kids will do on the ACT test which has almost no
predictive value about how well kids will do in college. I was an outspoken
critic. Moremoney wasted, more instructional time gone, no information that I
didn’t already have. This started 4 YEARS BEFORE COMMON
was the outrage all of this time? Why was I the only voice against
non-stop testing, test prep, and the Big Test? If you think this is a
Common Core issue, you are way wrong. If you hate the Common Core because of
testing, you are way off base.
people making money from new tests? Probably, but I never hear a peep from you
about the insane SAT or ACT preparation industries. Are there glitches in the
new online tests? Of course, but at least testing is finally getting into the 21stcentury instead of looking exactly like the
Iowa Test of Basic Skills I took half a century ago (46 YEARS BEFORE COMMON
CORE!). But still, I agree: this testing mania is insane!
here is the mind-blowing part: I don’t hate the Common Core State Standards.
some time now, I have been asking haters to tell me exactly which standard they
don’t like. You don’t like “Determine the main idea of a
text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea?”
You don’t like “Gather relevant information
from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess
the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data
and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard
format for citation?” You don’t like “Adapt
speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal
English when indicated or appropriate?” Well then, tell me exactly
which ones need to be tossed out? NOT ONE PERSON HAS EVER ANSWERED THIS
QUESTION. Only a fool sees things in black and white; all good or all bad;
everything or nothing. Aren’t there some good ideas here?
history. When I started teaching, I was told to teach language arts. I had some
ideas of things to do, but I never had a clear idea of what the end result was
supposed to be. I was told to assign book reports and teach topic sentences and
other things, but everyone was weak on where we were all supposed to be headed.
I would not have minded at all someone saying, “At the end of this year, see if
you can get kids to recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with
unclear or ambiguous antecedents).” Ah,that’swhat appropriate for this age!That’smy goal. We’ll shoot for that.
that is all a standard is.
hate Bill Gates.”
definitely no “But testing is horrible!!!!”
happy that after twenty years, people are joining me on the Too Much Testing
Bandwagon. I am seriously disappointed, however, that people can’t see a
distinction between a standard and a test. And I am shocked at the number of
folks who haven’t figured out that you can have standards and not have
ridiculous amounts of tests. They do not logically have to go together. You can
(and should?) hate testing but not standards.