<ul><li>“In ancient Greece, Socrates tested his students through conversations. Answers were not scored as right or wrong. They just lead to more dialogue. Many intellectual elites in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. cared more about finding the path to higher knowledge than producing the correct response”
“Over the past decade, the standards and high-stakes testing movement has had a chokehold on content, dismissing alternative views and affecting budget-poor high schools by eliminating electives, arts, career and technical education, and other approaches to learning…doing some good, but more damage”
“Education is being is being reduced to test bubbles on a page that determine a student’s future”</li></li></ul><li>Sample Questions from the 1926 Scholastic Aptitude Test (the first SAT)<br />The first SAT was primarily multiple choice and was administered on June 23, 1926 to 8,040 candidates. The test consisted of nine subtests: Definitions, Arithmetical Problems, Artificial Language, Antonyms, Number Series, Analogies, Logical inference, and Paragraph Reading.<br />Sample Question:<br />Each group contains six words. Three of these are related to each other in some definite way. Indicate which three are thus MOST CLOSELY RELATED by inserting the numbers of these words in the spaces at right.<br />Doll, ring, flower, drum, top, shoe ___________________<br />Bean, carrot, potato, beet, lettuce, cabbage ______________<br />Ace, hears, spades, cards, trumps, diamonds ______________<br />Snow, ski, slide, sled, toboggan, ice ______________<br />Stool, table, chair, desk, box, sofa _______________<br />Fly, oar, swim, propeller, scale, fin _____________<br />
Sample Questions from the 1999 SAT<br />The SAT I: Reasoning Test is a three-hour test of verbal and mathematical reasoning ability that reflects the latest knowledge of mental measurement and generates scores related to academic success in college. This test is primarily multiple choice. More than 2.2 million students in the US sent SAT scores to more than 3,000 colleges and universities.<br />Sample Question:<br />The general view of gorillas as menacing, ferocious King Kongs was not successfully _______ until Diane Fossey’s field studies in the 1960’s showed gorillas to be peaceable, rather fainthearted creatures, unlikely to __________ humans<br />A. counteracted…please<br />B. enhanced…murder<br />C. verified…attacked<br /> D. dispelled…captivate<br />E. challenged…threaten<br />You can go online to view a practice test for the 2009-2010 SAT<br />http://satonlinecourse.collegeboard.com/SR/digital_assets/assesment/pdf/F4D31AB0-66B4-CE32-00F7-F5405701F413-F.pdf<br />
The No Child Left Behind Act<br /><ul><li>The No Child Left Behind act of 2001 did nothing but encourage this testing frenzy, in fact it “encourages educators to set aside best practices in favor of ‘teaching to the test’ and contradicts much of what we know from research”</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>“NCLB provides funding for schools who make the grade but the schools with the lowest socio-economic status are disadvantaged right from the starting blocks. Research has shown that the teachers employed at low-performing schools often are less qualified teachers while the students may have less extensive academic preparation, NCLB further depletes their funds. Meanwhile high-performing schools attract more highly trained teachers.”
“policies enacted under NCLB ignore the very real challenges we face in our classrooms…I teach 170 students a day, and I have 2.4 minutes per student per day…Many of my students are English-language learners who, after only a few years learning English, are required to pass a six-hour long Regents exam…with students from no fewer than eighty different countries and more than forty language groups, the wealth and diversity of experience they bring to my classroom is invaluable: they cannot be reduced to the pernicious categories used under NCLB to determine our progress toward Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)…my students are more than data on a spreadsheet. They are individuals with unique learning styles and talents—as well as struggles and difficulties—all of which need to be acknowledged”</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>Students and teachers are now solely evaluated on the basis of numbers and scores.
“Testing forces us to think about people as numbers,” she says: “’Data’ has become the word of the day. Professional development for English teachers in my school no longer involves discussion of literature; instead, we pour over data in search of ways to boost students’ score”
“Students and teachers are evaluated solely on the data they produce and schools are penalized for failing on the basis of arbitrary standards that they have never had the resources to meet”
“Under the guise of ‘accountability’ and ‘raising standards’ New York City has spent $130 million in the past year on their ‘accountability initiative’. But the human toll…outweighs the monetary costs. A third-grade teacher recently told me that her students can expect to take forty-six bubble tests in a year—one fourth of their entire school year”</li></li></ul><li>This is a good example of a student who almost failed because he was reduced to a number—all the teachers saw were his test scores until one teacher tried something different and found out that he wasn’t “dumb” he just learned better through auditory means as opposed to reading and writing.<br />
<ul><li> Many studies advocate for a learning environment that recognizes that “each learner brings unique conceptions about the way the world works to the classroom”
When a child is learning, educators who are familiar with brain-based learning strategies know that the child must be immersed in meaningful learning experiences. Play can be used as a tool for gaining experience in primary age students; Cooperative learning and active learning are well equipped for elementary grade students; and curriculum should respect multiple intelligences</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>In addition, high stakes testing and a high-stakes testing based teaching environment can be said to be very stressful: research shows that “when administering a state standardized testing tool, both the student and the teacher’s emotions naturally embark on a ‘heightened alert’ due to their perception of the high stakes. The sheer expectation of completing multiple implicit and explicit questions in a sterile format of accountability produces fear”
“High levels of stress reduce the brain’s/mind’s capabilities to interpret, recall, and understand incoming information”</li></li></ul><li>The Teachers’ Opinions:<br /><ul><li>“I have so many wonderful creative minds who grab onto something and want to see where they can take it, and I have to stop them midflight and drag them back to vocabulary or grammar, because if my principle walks in and we are not discussing the prescribed curriculum, I could lose my job”
“So much time is spent teaching the standard driven curriculum…that little time is left to implement higher-level thinking activities”
’Teaching to the lowest common denominator’ is a term coined by many teachers to describe how they view the level of academic challenge standards provide</li></li></ul><li>“The promotion of student disengagement and boredom is not the intent of accountability policy makers. However, the teachers…reported seeing more and more cases of student disengagement in schools. They expressed concerns that the high-stakes testing environment may be a contributing factor in this trend” <br />
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