Saturday, September 25, 2010

What have we done? Is testing what it's really all about?

So having gotten through all the Back to School nights, I left one of them thinking, "what have we done to education?"  Each and every teacher mentioned the STAR testing.  Most explained how they ready the kids for the testing.  But one in particular made me bristle.  Maybe I'm alone here, but when I heard a high school teacher explain their curriculum and her final comments were something along the lines of "I'll teach them everything they need to know for the STAR testing because that's really what it's all about, right?" 

Is it really what it's all about?  Curious as to your thoughts about testing in our classrooms/schools.  The Clayton Pioneer had a story about the testing, and the threat last year of putting the test scores on student transcripts seemed to create a bit of panic.  Do your children "try" to do good on the tests?  My expectation is that my kids do the best they can on all testing, but I know some parents completely dismiss the testing.  What I feel, and what I say to my kids, admittedly , are two different things - so what about you and your students?

The article discusses specificially testing at Clayton Valley High,

“I do try on the tests, but I could try harder,” said CV junior Joanna Fan. “I feel like students are only taught things so we can succeed on the STAR test, and the teachers are limited to just that.”

Fan wasn’t moved by Principal Gary Swanson’s pre-testing pep talk or the added threat of the scores being put on transcripts. “I saw it as something the school wants us to work hard on so it looks good for the school, and the students took the back seat,” she said. “If the administration really wanted to improve our learning, then maybe they should offer more challenging courses.”

This student certainly has a point I think.  And it echos how I felt at Back to School night, the testing is for the school, not the students, or is it?
Your thoughts?


  1. The STAR tests only matter for school funding, right? If they mattered for the students, the scores might be higher.

  2. star testing is needed to measure where we are, Teacher or admins or the state (not sure wich one) does not like it so they will act like babies and just do what is the least. We know what they are doing is not working. 53% proficient (that is a C) is nothing to celebrate. Everyone need to get over it, quit being selfish do your job. It is hard but if you do your job you will have more parent support and kids will respect you. I can go on for hours on this topic...People keep telling me that No Child left behind ruined our system but I am not sure anyone has read it. I have. The name is the only thing that has changed it is pretty much the same as it was for the last 30 or so years except the definitions and accountability. again I say GET OVER YOURSELF and teach what the kids need to know for college they should be able to pass the star testing by that way of teaching.

  3. I am laughing having been hoarse on this topic for years. I particularly love the statistics. Let's throw meaningless numbers out there and talk about it as though it were factual representations of what is true content knowledge. The best part is that as in the past decade (I know I have been complaining for close to a decade now) the statistics remain, the testing remains and everyone pretends that there is growth because the numbers go up. Well so do gas prices but that proves nothing. Of course education is just a political game designed to bring in new players with fancy multi-million dollar programs and after a few years and loads of "data" bring in a new one. Las Vegas was built on that kind of thinking.

    STAR testing is a joke. Anything based on that pathetic a version of multiple choice is a joke. Read my old blog posts on how to prove it is a pile of horse manure. It is VERY easy to prove.

    Or not - just like the last decade.

  4. Perhaps students would be more inclined to try if those who scored "proficient" only had to take them every other year and those who scored "advanced" only every 3 years.

  5. Teachers have to "teach" to the STAR test because the results are reviewed by the school the beginning of the following year. If your grade level has not reached it's goal, it looks bad on the teachers. The STAR test is just another thing that is shoved down the teachers' throats. We have to go through the textbooks and decide which areas to teach so the kids can be prepared to take the test and dismiss the other parts. Therefore, the kids' education suffers as a result.