Friday, February 26, 2021

Big Standardized Test Test

Supporters of testing, testocrats, and all other folks insisting that the Biden administration made the right call because the 2021 (including all these reformy groups that sent a thank you note)-- can we take a moment to assess your own test-related ideas?

For the "Parents Need To Know How Their Kids Are Doing" folks: 

Create a short video in which you display a real individual student result printout and describe, in detail, the information that a parent can glean from it. Offer specific advice--exactly what should the student be tutored in. And by specific, I don't mean "Pat needs to strengthen reading comprehension of non-fiction writing." Which particular reading strategies is Pat weak in? Which sorts of specific questions does Pat tend to flub? 

Be sure to factor in how Pat has spent the months since the test was taken. And be certain to highlight all of the specific information that Pat's adults could not have acquired by calling Pat's teacher.

For the "Locating Schools That Had Trouble During the Pandemic So We Can Target Resources" crowd:

Present any and all of the bills that have been crafted to distribute additional school support and resources based on test results. Be sure to include the formula that is going to be used, as well as the specific dollar amounts that will be distributed and the methods that will be proposed for funding, Note: no version of "public-private partnerships will be explored to fund and administer this initiative" will be considered an acceptable answer.

For the "We Have To Know How Far Students Are Behind" crowd:

Outline the testing benchmarks that you believe students should be reaching at this point in their education. Provide the research and evidence that establishes the validity of these benchmarks, showing how the selected test scores predict better life outcomes for the students who reach those scores on schedule (and the worse life outcomes for the students who don't). 

Additionally, provide an evidence-based program for how learning can be accelerated in order to get students to achieve those benchmarks.

For the "Teachers Need This Information To Better Address Student Needs" crowd:

You would think that test results given to teachers might, for instance, show how students performed on each of the common core college and career ready state standards being tested, but in many states you'd be wrong. Explain how ELA teachers can strengthen their teaching based on results that report scores only for fiction reading, non-fiction reading, and open ended questions. Describe also how history, phys ed, music, science, art, and theater teachers can use test results to better meet student needs. 

I look forward to your answers to any or all of these questions. 


  1. Often overlooked in the NCLB/ESSA testing controversy has been the federal requirement for science tests in grades 4 and 8. Why have these tests escaped scrutiny and outrage of the CC exams, you might wonder? The answer here in NYS is simple: fair and reasonable, objective standards have produced fair and reasonable and objective tests, including an 8th grade lab skills component. And why might you wonder do we not hear about these test scores? Not just because the scores are fair and reasonable and objective, but because they produce cognitive dissonance when compared to the Common Core ELA scores. In my district the pass rate in grade 8 ELA has hovered around 33%, yet the pass rate for the (combined) 3 hour science test which involves an inordinate amount of technical reading, the same cohorts have a 67% pass rate. This makes even less sense when most adults think of science as the more challenging of the two subjects.
    I suggest looking up these two sets of scores in your district and if you have trouble finding the science scores you will know why.
    And, in the case of science, the benefit of a testing requirement has been a good thing, preventing it from being swallowed alive by the ELA/math craze.

  2. but we simply MUST get back to in-person classes — otherwise how will we be able to adequately supervise the standardized tests?

  3. Explain how test results that won’t arrive until next spring will help students this spring.