Sitting here quietly, watcing my students plodding their way through their math MEAP tests, I wonder how seriously some of them are taking this. Granted, the group I have in here is fairly motivated to be successful, being one of my 2 prealgebra sections. However, I see the glazed over looks on faces, the boredom setting in, on this Day Three of testing.
Some teachers are completely against high stakes tests, period. I am not one of those. I see the purpose in these events, and support increased accountability in schools and on the part of teachers. I am just not sure this is the most accurate way to get feedback on those.
Score comparisions are usually done on a year to year basis, comparing one group of students to another, this year's 7th graders to next year's 7th graders. To me, that makes little sense. I prefer to look at scores longitudinally, looking at one group's growth over a period of years. Are we increasing the number of students we have proficient within THAT group of students?
Anyone who has been a teacher knows the variations you see between groups. Some groups are smaller, with few problem students. Some are large, with high percentages of special needs students, or behavioral issues. To compare these seems counter-intuitive to me.
NCLB strives to have 100% of students proficent. Great, wonderful, but EUTOPIA! I do not see any possible way to have all of our students proficient, ever, in any subject. That is like saying all students will become professional basketball players, or nuclear physicists.
Public education DOES have a responsibility to educate all students. For too long, we have shirked that responsibility in too many instances. We have teachers who are ineffective, unmotivated, and without pedalogical skills necessary to connect with students. THAT must be addressed.
However, often times, factors beyond our control impact student achievement. Until our societal paradigms swing back to making education our #1 priority in the home and community, many students simply will refuse to be active participants in their own learning.
But in the meantime, bubble away my little sweets, bubble away! I have answer sheets to collect, test booklets to secure, and #2 pencils to sharpen for the afternoon session!