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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

State testing week...why do we do this again?

I've had my beefs with NCLB for awhile now. CSAP (Colorado's test)weeks frustrate me to no end. First of all I hate taking down all the kids work and posters and discussions we've had and I hate how I'm expected to not answer ?'s about the test and by all means don't TALK about the test to ANYONE!!!! I wanted to pull some quotes for pros and cons on the debate and let them stew in my head for a couple days. I found myself angry and frustrated with the entire process whether it was how the bill and idea came to be or what it encompassed. I felt passionately that there were not any pros to this debate. I was inspired by my frustration, so I looked into it more closely. “When consequences are tied to assessment, they increase the pressure on schools, teachers, and students to perform well on standardized tests. The pressure may be minor, causing little worry for students or teachers. Or, the pressure could be of such a magnitude that it causes anger or resistance to occur.” (Nichols) This article spoke deeply to me because I wondered the same thing. I sit in my classroom and for the next two weeks we will be giving these High Stakes tests and I’m still unsure for the reasons. I also looked into the Pros of this debate. “Rewards for success, punishment for failure. NCLB raises standards by forcing states to meet the federal guidelines. School performance is judged by subgroup, thus low subgroup performance cannot be hidden within in district/state-averages. Reliable and longitudinal data enables teacher to develop education plans.”
Do we really believe that these rewards are enough justification? Can all of these rewards be measured? Don't get me wrong, I am a BIG fan of DATA driven instruction, so long as that data is coming from multiple sources and is a fair authentic assessment. My problem with CSAP is that I'm unsure if it's fair and accurate assessment of measurable goals in the classroom.
I'd love to hear what other people think.

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