From the Apple
David B. Cohen left the following comment: I noticed lots of talk about state tests in the entries I read, and wondered if the attitude towards the tests is generally positive, negative, or mixed among the teachers you work with.
I'm not sure how other teachers feel about state tests. I'm pretty sure I know how Courtney feels and most other first year teachers, but I'll let them speak for themselves! As for me, it's easy to support accountability when you're a Kindergarten teacher and your children don't take the test! Having said that, I think teachers are generally fine with accountability and with our state test. The problem, however, is that it's become too BIG and too IMPORTANT. Instead of just being another piece, it's the whole pie! Everything about a child's entire year is based on that one day. In our county, where we have performance pay (and a pretty lousy model at that), a teacher's performance is almost totally judged on test scores. Don't get me wrong. I love the idea that the children in my school get to show what they have learned- that teachers who have worked so hard have a chance to show their stuff, but the severe judgements that are made from a single test, the stress and tears are just out of proportion. I also HATE the fact that teachers have come to believe that test taking strategies are more important than teaching children a love for reading and writing and math. I hate that teachers skip Social Studies because it's not a tested subject instead of teaching it because they know it's the right thing to do. I guess in the ideal world, I would just hope for balance.
My experience in education is that the pendulum swings back and forth and right now the pendulum seems to to be stuck in the Science of teaching, the accountability through testing, the data-driven everything. Hopefully, as it usually does, the pendulum will begin to swing back again toward the middle and we will once again talk about teaching the whole child and the art of teaching. And hopefully, we won't throw out the baby with the bath water. I hope we will hold on to the good parts of accountability and assessment but begin to listen to common sense!
What do you think? How do you feel about the state test?