Sunday, November 22, 2009

Reality Bytes...Reality is Testing

Buffy Hamilton is echoing a question we all deal with everyday.

"Why do some students embrace reflection and original thinking while others chafe in the face of learning experiences that do not reflect the knowledge banking nature of today’s test driven educational climate?"

Students know that their grades result in happy/angry parents and teachers, self-satisfaction, a way of comparing themselves to others...entrance to college, jobs, etc. Where do these grades come from? Scores on assignments and tests...or at least that's the perception of the student. This is not new. What is new is the all-encompassing MAP (or other test).

I don't blame students for wanting us to tell them exactly what they are supposed to know and help them learn to do exactly what they need to do. They know how much depends on GPAs and ACT/SAT scores for college; they know there will be tests in every profession...the Bar, Boards, and other certifications. I like to know what I will be evaluated do they. I want to know what my principal is looking for when she comes in to observe. I know my students need to gain a certain amount of knowledge and skills while they are with me. That is what expected of me. My students are expected to pass these tests...that's the reality that it seems none of us can do much to change in the near future.

I must be cynical today, but we all want Buffy's Elesian fields of literacy but reality is very different.

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