Sunday, February 22, 2015

Make Up Your Minds!

(Disclaimer: I am married to a wonderful woman who happens to teach students with learning disabilities in a public high school.)

Would somebody please explain to me why schools still have report cards when we have standardized tests.

Standardized tests are nothing new. They've gone through multiple versions over the years since they started them back in the mid 1990's. (We didn't have them when I went to school. I graduated in 1984. You know, back then we used stone tablets and chisels . . . ) Each time a new one comes out, it is touted as THE solution to failing school education. As I wrote in "A Swat a Day, Keeps the Gum Away", our government officials "take money from lobbyists who represent companies that SELL tests and curriculum and force it upon the schools." Each one supersedes the last test that was supposed to fix the schools. You know, follow the money.

My question is, why do we have both report cards AND standardized tests? If a student has completed all the assigned work (designed to instill the knowledge gained), participated in class, and passed all the tests, he/she will pass each grade level and graduate. The report card shows how the student did throughout the years, with parent/teacher conferences and other communication to supplement. If they successfully pass according to their report cards but FAIL the standardized test, they DON'T GRADUATE. Really?!?

That means either the student wasted an entire high school education successfully learning what was taught, or failed because what was taught was not THE TEST. Rote Memorization is the lowest form of education. It has the shortest longevity and the least impact when it comes to higher education - or just life. (As a matter of fact, I've NEVER been asked to complete a "bubble test" for ANY employer I've ever had! When I took Microsoft Certification exams, they all were around the completion of tasks that demonstrated I knew the material. No little ovals to fill in with a #2 pencil. Life normally doesn't come with multiple choice answers.) When you make the TEST the most important function (because politicians say it is), you find that education becomes Rote Memorization in order to pass the test. Education does NOT improve, which is the exact opposite of the reason FOR the TEST in the first place.

(I'm a perfect example of Rote Memorization: when I was in 7th or 8th grade, I took a Social Studies class [a.k.a. "History"]. I would memorize the names, places, and dates in order to pass the tests. Once a test was finished you could ask me ANYTHING and I would give you a blank stare in response. I remembered NOTHING! Heck, my wife has me hooked on YouTube videos of Hip Hughes now so I am not completely oblivious . . . )

(Dear Ohio Governor Kasich [ R ]: If you continue to push such baloney as Common Core and PARCC Assessments upon our schools, you will FORCE me to vote Democrat in the next election. Signed: An Independent Voter who previously voted Republican)

So, either get rid of report cards, parent/teacher conferences, and other communication, and focus on TEST memorization, or get rid of the TEST. Both is stupid. Both is contradictory redundancy.

If you want suggestions on how to fix the schools, you can read "A Swat a Day, Keeps the Gum Away". Unless you are a politician. Don't want to hurt your feelings with my humble but accurate opinion!

© Emittravel

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