NYS Standardized Tests Helping or Hindering Student Literacy?May 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 4 Comments
Posted by Chavon Phelps
Scholastic Inc and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation surveyed 40,000 teachers about education reform. They developed five strategies to increase student performance in middle school, high school, and post- secondary education. These suggestions included:
- Establish Clear Standards, Common Across States
- Use Multiple Measures to Evaluate Student Performance
- Innovate to Reach Today’s Students
- Accurately Measure Teacher Performance and Provide Non-Monetary Rewards
- Bridge School & Home to Raise Student Achievement
Another suggestion I would add is to stop “teaching the test.” The focus in education today is based too much on “passing the test,” and not mastery of knowledge. I feel this is doing our students a disservice and causing them to develop a disconnect from the educational process. While there needs to be a system in place to monitor the progress of our students, high stakes testing should not be the end.
I think our students really want to learn, but they cannot connect with the way schools are structured today. Schools measure success based on how well students look on paper, and not on the actual student learning. I think if we can develop a curriculum that has a greater focus on brain based learning, then we will see some of our current challenges start to be addressed.
In Subjects Matter they show a classroom experience where students are active participants in their own learning. By engaging the students and working with them to develop the direction of their curriculum the students were able to make deeper connections with the material. By restructuring the scope of our classrooms to focus on the learning and not the testing, we can provide our students with rich experiences where they can construct their own knowledge. If we can change the scope of our classrooms, than the rest will follow.
I have my own goals for incorporating active learning in my classroom, but I worry about the opposition that I may encounter. I can argue the research all day, but I am nervous about classroom implementation. How do I make a case for inquiry in my classroom and not alienate myself from my peers and administrators? How do I advocate for a process that even I myself am new to and have little practice in? I am not sure of the answer to these questions, but I know that the current system needs improvement.