Thursday, July 29, 2010

Test Scores

There is an article in today's Newsday about how upset Long Island superintendents are at the way test scores have been calibrated and now so many students are failing. I don't get it. The problem is not the tests, it is not the scores, it is the lack of education our children are being given. I teach AP Calculus to some of the brightest students in the city of New York, yet, they come to me not remembering how to add fractions and not wanting to do the simplest calculations without a calculator. They have no concept of how to find the cosine of 30 degrees without a calculator because calculators and test prep are all they have been taught the 12 years before I met them. They haven't been taught to think, only to memorize procedures and regurgitate answers blindly.

Long Island superintendents are upset because their percentages are going down. Where were they all these years when their students were not being taught? They are the ones on the front line. They are the ones with the voices to make people aware of the atrocity we have been calling education. Don't tell me they are upset for the children because I don't buy that. They only care about how these new standards make them look. Yes, I know it is wrong for a child to fail when all along the child thought he was passing but why is the child who knows nothing believing he is passing to begin with.

This whole No Child Left Behind, The Race To The Top, and the closing of so many schools has taken away education and replaced it with test prep. Alternative tests are not the answer, real education is.


Anonymous said...

In my 30 years of teaching, I can count the number of "fair" tests on my fingers. These tests are either way too hard or too easy. When your top students get 3's or when your bottom students get 3's, something is off. One thing we know is that these dumb-down tests were formulated to make politicians look good and keep hidden the fact the social promotion still exists. The other problem is the curriculum. We teach fractions each and every year, but kids still don't understand the fact that you can't add fractions with different denominators if they are not alike.
The problem is that the calendar makes each and every concept about 5 days long, and expects us to continue on to the next concept. The next year we have to go through the same lesson, but student retention from the year before is (to say the least) non-existent. This is not how mathematical concepts are taught in Asian countries.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Pissed-Off teacher for her support. Facebook's SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION now has 100 supporters.
There is a new post on testing and teacher evaluation. I hope your readers take a look.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I agree with everything you have written here. The question that nags me is this: Where are the schools that are truly able to educate our children? All the public schools have been turned into test-mills. Our school, for example, failed to meet AYP last year, so now all kinds of strategies for improving test scores are being foisted upon students and teachers alike. It makes me weary just to think about how this year is going to unfold.