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04/14/2010

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Donna Stepp

I AM the choir! If adults in the business world had to be evaluated in this manner, there would be an uproar of indignation and disgust. Speaking from the prespective of an educator and mother I think these tests are the closest thing to legal torture I have ever seen. I know from experience that some children, who are really very smart, do not test well in this type of situation. There are LOTS of reasons that I think testing is unfair. I won't expound on cultural differences and testing of exceptional children. That would take me all day.
It is also unfair to judge a teacher on the results of these tests. Teachers have no choice in who they teach. ALL children are entitled to a good education. However, there are a lot of factors that affect the way a student does on test day. What he/she has learned that year is just one thing that should be taken into account. I could go on, but like I said--I AM the choir. I hope the boys survive without too much trauma.

DH

Sadly, much of what you lay out is exactly what I deal with daily at the office these days. Rather than allow people the opportunity to do their jobs well, we are instead spending much of our time filling out various reports about what we are doing. More than one of us has commented about putting on a report about what we are doing to get results as "busy filling out reports and attending internal meetings for hours upon hours, because actually working on deals and dealing with customers doesn't produce results."

I agree though that there are challenges in measuring performance, particularly in the education of our youth. There needs to be some objective measures, but there should always be subjective measures that better assess the overall quality of an employee, teacher, etc. There are many teachers that should not be teaching, but there are also many teachers that motivate, inspire, and help children to turn into vital, productive members of society. How to capture that, I don't know. Standardized tests may be useful for a small part, but should not be the overriding factor.

Dee Dee Allan

While I am all for accountability, both in schools and in the workplace, I think the way we go about it is all wrong. Certainly there have to be some objective assessments done regularly (not just once a year). I think that especially in schools, the more informal, ongoing assessments provide more meaningful information about what is being learned. I too am the choir. I see how standardized tests create so much stress, both for students and teachers. It's a broken system and it needs to be completely reworked. I hope that when NCLB is revised, the legislators will listen to the educators. (like that's really going to happen) I could rant about this all day but the bottom line is that education needs to be run by educators, not politicians.

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