Here’s what I find absurd with high stakes tests designed to fail children and punish teachers: I taught in low achieving schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005) where the childhood poverty rate was 70% or higher and less than 8% of the children were white.
How do these high stakes test going to measure the effects of street gang violence, poverty and hunger?
For instance, every year I asked my students how many had breakfast before coming to school and maybe two or three hands went up in a classroom with 34 children in it. Further probing discovered that most of the kids had a 64 ounce soda (Coke or Pepsi) for breakfast, because it was cheaper than food, filled their belly and gave them short term energy. The second most popular breakfast was a bag of cheap greasy French fries from the fast food place across the street from the high school. Finding kids who actually ate a nutritious breakfast was almost impossible. When I assigned homework, if even five of those 34 kids did it, that was good. When we worked on an assignment in class, if even half of the children did it, that was good.
Street gang violence, drugs and killings were also common. Who in their right mind could possibly claim that high stakes testing that fails children and punishes teachers is going to solve all of the problems I dealt with on a daily basis as a classroom teacher in an area plagued by poverty, street violence and crime? How does one of these tests erase the impact of seeing a drive by shooting in the streets outside of the school as school is letting out?
As I write this post, I have in front of me my permanent education record from kindergarten through eighth grade. It is by way of an unusual set of circumstances that I have this file. The short of it is that the records clerk at the first high school I taught at gave it to me in 1992.
It includes my standardized test scores for grades K, 1, and 4-8.
Yes. I took standardized tests beginning in kindergarten. My first was the Metropolitan Readiness Test, Form B (1973). It assessed my readiness for first grade, in six areas: word meaning, listening, matching, alphabet, numbers, and copying.
My teacher used it to help determine whether I should advance to first grade.
The test was not misused to grade my teacher or school.
None of the other six tests were used to grade my teachers or my school. They were used for…
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