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EDUCATION: Tests don’t measure key factors

Letter by Dave L. Scoggin, Gig Harbor on Sep. 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm with 10 Comments »
September 13, 2012 2:46 pm

Why is the Chicago teachers strike partly about standardized testing? The answer is that despite the fact that these tests don’t measure individual student growth as it relates to the teacher providing the instruction, it is used by the Chicago schools to evaluate those teachers.

This is a nationwide issue, and it is a travesty. These tests are used to identify failing schools because those schools do not meet “standards.” Yet these tests fail to address the two most important factors in measuring student progress: the aptitude of the student and the progress the student has made subject by subject, teacher by teacher from the beginning to the end of the school year.

It is time to develop tests which focus on these factors.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. LeePHilI says:

    Dave – I think there should be a litmus test for CEOs that judges how many companies they didn’t bankrupt and pay themselves millions.

  2. Fibonacci says:

    I had a coach one time say “You can take a mule and train him and train him, but he won’t win the Kentucky Derby”. All kids can improve, but not all will reach some arbitrary standard. Students also have free will, not all care about the tests in spite of how hard the teacher does or does not work. Some here just claim that if THEY were in the room they would kick out the ones that did not try–sorry, but that is not even legal.

  3. WBusheyShipsBoatswain says:

    We need to stop evaluating students on “how smart they are” and focus on “how they’re smart”

  4. itwasntmethistime says:

    It’s never made much sense to me why they compare this year’s 3rd graders to last year’s 3rd graders to measure improvement. You have to test the same group of kids a year apart to see if they improved.

  5. bobcat1a says:

    Taxedenough, maybe you can tell us how a student’s score on the MSP math test or science test is a reflection of the job his history teacher is doing. But I doubt it.

  6. yabetchya says:

    The teachers union… is,,,, to the Teamsters,,,,,,,,Sysco is voting to go on strike…. Will the Teachers,,, be willing,,, to cross the picket line of the Teamsters who will not deliver the PRODUCT That might be needed? Unions United !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Oh my….. a meno moment !

  7. commoncents says:

    itwasntme – my kid took the MSP last May – still waiting on the results. Good luck on institutionalizing start of year vs end of year testing.

  8. mahinaokeiki says:

    Schools and teachers are set up to fail because they are underfunded (per McCleary decision) and thanks to the highly flawed NCLB evaluation process. A student could be absent for more than 3 days per week, and then he/she takes the exam (during one week of an entire year). If a student is missing seat time in the classroom (missing hours of instruction)and,additionally, has psycho-emotional issues in his/her personal life during the week the test is given, how would that determine how well a teacher is teaching? It does not. If a teacher has several students in his classroom who come with disabilities, socioeconomic problems and behavior issues, then the teacher is going to appear to ‘fail.’

    I agree that we have to come up with a fair and meaningful way to determine how much a student has learned which has more to do with what the student is capable of learning and how much time the student has been spending with his/her teacher.

  9. On a related note:

    Wisconsin judge ruled Friday that a controversial state law limiting unions’ rights is unconstitutional, a decision Gov. Scott Walker is “confident” will be overturned on appeal.

    Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas struck down the law, which essentially eliminated collective bargaining rights for most public employees, as a violation of both the state and U.S. constitutions, according to The Associated Press.


  10. My children didn’t do as well on this MSP as they have in the past. Their grades were good. They did good work. The are both excellent readers, above their grade level. One struggles in math but did a bit better than the one that is good at math. Could it be the test itself? This year the students who did the writing tests did it on the computer. Not all kids like to write on the computer (even if they like to play on it). Some prefer writing on paper.

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