mouse's picture mouse

For our school, the testing happened a couple weeks ago. It's high stakes for grades 3 and up, but even the younger ones take a computer-based skills test. Scooter's teacher was railing that the kindergarten math curriculum saves addition and subtraction for the very end, but the test included questions of that sort anyway. Scooter's class won't go into the formula for adequate yearly progress, but their performance will be used in other assessments.

I'm waiting for something to change with this. It's such a flawed system and creates lots of stress while not ensuring true mastery. I suppose that will have to wait until after the economy's stabilized.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Yes, I agree--our new president has so much on his plate now that I think these changes won't be happening any time soon. But it is such a flawed system, as you point out. I can't believe how high the stakes are for third graders and for their teachers, who must feel tremendous pressure as well.

Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

Our district calls them ELO tests - Essential Learner Outcomes. I don't know yet what grades they occur in because, thank goodness, it's not kindergarten. I don't think retention occurs when a kid doesn't pass them, but there are retakes and relooping. I'm with you, it makes me mad that small children have to stress over tests. When I was in school we took California Achievement Tests. Parents got a percentile and it told them where we stood as students when compared to a standardized groups. I don't remember it being all that upsetting.
Testing really hacks me off and I have to sort of stay detached or I get really, really frustrated. Education has swung way too far to one side of the extreme (government involvement and testing, testing, testing) and I was really disappointed to hear a blurb on Obama's feelings on the subject. It involved data (which can't tell the whole story!) and tying teacher's merit pay to student achievement. Ahhhhh! Kids don't fit into the box. Hasn't anyone mentioned that the bell curve is the bell curve for a reason and that there will always be outliers! Either for reasons of kids who do not test well on a standard exam or because a kid has developed atypically. So kids are getting removed from certain courses because it would look "bad" that they can't perform as expected on the exams.
Okay, you can see why I have to stay detached. I could rant and rant and rant...

mouse's picture mouse

Oh, and I was the strange kid who enjoyed testing. Fill-in-the-bubble testing was so structured and the expectations were always the same. And it meant a quiet classroom for a good long time.

Doesn't mean I agree with the format or reasons behind it now, just that I was an outcomes-based nerd.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Rant away, Omaha, it's healthy! Around these parts retention is linked very specifically to these scores, regardless of how a student has been doing all year round. And, alas, I do worry that things won't change too much anytime soon, and unfortunately people are still sticking to this idea that data somehow fixes everything...

It's funny, mouse, L. likes the comfort of filling in bubbles and the quiet classroom. He doesn't do well on the test because of the way he thinks--capturing the details and intricate pieces of things, but not honing in on general things like a story's "purpose" or an emotion the character is feeling.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Oh, and horror of horrors, any child scoring below a 3 on the EOGs this year will have to take the retest the week after! This seems ridiculous to me, since data (there we go again with data) shows that very few people are likely to score much better when they take a retest the week after the original one.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Thank you so much for your comment. I'm putting together a packet of "complaints" and comments--and stories, too--about EOG testing and NCLB issues. I think I'm more cynical as far as what can be done, although I hope there will be room for some reforms soon. I've been very frustrated with the system for some time now, and I know I am not alone.

turnerjeff823's picture turnerjeff823

We were lucky that we found a good test prep company: ClarityEd . They have the best tutors in the market, many of those have Ph.D.