Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Petition Against Taking Standardized Tests

This petition comes from (http://www.pipeline.com/~rgibson/rouge_forum).  It can be used as a guide to start a petition in your area.  

To:  The President, Congress, and the Governors of All 50 States



Whereas high stakes standardized tests, an international phenomenon, represent a powerful intrusion into classrooms, often taking up as much as 40% of teacher time, And whereas the tests pretend that one standard fits all, when one standard does not fit all,
And whereas these tests measure, for the most part, parental income and race, and are therefore instruments which build racism and anti-working class sentiment--against the interest of most teachers and their students,

And whereas these tests deepen the segregation of children within and between school systems, a move that is not in the interests of most people throughout the world,
And whereas inner-city families and poor families are promised tests as an avenue to escape the ghetto and poverty, when the tests are designed to fail their children, boosting dropouts, leaving more children trapped in the ghetto and poverty, deepening inequality and all forms of injustice,
And whereas the tests set up a false employer-employees relationship between teachers and students which damages honest exchanges in the classroom,
And whereas we have seen repeatedly that the exams are unprofessionally scored, for example in New York in 2000 when thousands of students were unnecessarily ordered to summer school on the grounds of incorrect test results,
And whereas the tests create an atmosphere that pits students against students and teachers against teachers and school systems against school systems in a mad scramble for financial rewards, and to avoid financial retribution,
And whereas the tests have been used to unjustly fire and discipline educators throughout the country,
And whereas the exams represent an assault on academic freedom by forcing their way into the classroom in an attempt to regulate knowledge, what is known and how people come to know it,
And whereas the tests foment an atmosphere of greed, fear, and hysteria, none of which contributes to learning,
And whereas the tests destroy inclusion and inquiry-based education,
And whereas the high-stakes test pretend to neutrality but are deeply partisan in content, reflecting the needs of elites in a world becoming more inequitable, less democratic,
And whereas the tests become commodities for opportunists whose interests are profits, not the best interests of children,
And whereas education organizations like the faculty association of the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and the American Educational Research Association have all supported long-term authentic assessment, and opposed high-stakes standardized examinations such as, but not limited to, the SAT9 in California, the Michigan MEAP, the Texas TAAS,, SOL in VA, FCAT in Florida, MCAS in Massachusetts, OPT in Ohio, and the New York Regents Exam,
And whereas there is a rising tide of education-worker resistance to the high-stakes exams, as well as student and educator boycotts:

Be it therefore resolved that we the undersigned sign this petition as an indication of our support for authentic long-term assessment in schools, and our support for popular resistance to the tests, particularly teach-ins, job actions and boycotts–and creative civil strife such as theater, art, songs, demonstrations,sit-ins, and other methods to inform, unleash creativity, and resist.
 
Sponsored by The Rouge Forum, The Whole Schooling Consortium, E. Wayne Ross, Rich Gibson, Michael Peterson, Sandra Mathison, Susan Ohanian, Staughton Lynd, Amber Goslee, Susan Harman, Kevin Vinson, Valerie Pang, Perry Marker, David Hursh, Steve Fleury, Judy Depew, Greg Queen, Katy Landless, Patrick Shannon, Kathleen Keeson, George Schmidt, Sharon Schmidt, Marty Kaye, David Strom
 
Sincerely,
The Undersigned

8 comments:

  1. Standards based testing is the only way to accurately and efficiently gauge where a student is in relation to their personalized learning. I don't disagree that the way in which standardized testing is done (assuming all students should be at the same place at the same time) is not appropriate or useful. However not having a clear understanding of what a student knows and where they are in their own learning process is just as unforgivable as attempting to push students through the factory school model.

    Clearly "standards based" and "standardized" testing are not equivalent, but let's make sure those who don't clearly understand the differentiation recognize that we absolutely need testing, but it needs to be done in a completely different way.

    For personalized learning to work, it has to be at the individual student's pace, on standards that that one student is working toward proficiency on, when they have demonstrated through learning activities and formative assessment that they are ready for the standards based assessment.

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  2. @David, a standardized test is NOT personalized learning. Telling everyone they need to learn the same thing at the same time, according to nothing other than date of manufacture, is NOT personalized learning. Telling everyone they have to learn about and study subjects they don't care about is NOT personalized learning. Denying students the freedom to learn their way, using their tools is NOT personalized learning.

    I would love to see personalized learning occurring in the schools. To do that, standardized tests are NOT necessary. What is necessary is empowering students to develop PERSONAL success plans that are PERSONAL to the measurable learning and goals they set out for themselves.

    Now that IS personalized learning and it won't involve bubblesheets and #2 pencils.

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  3. There's also a difference between using standards-based testing as a way to gauge general progress and as an absolute measure of success; it's unfortunate that we rely so much more on the latter form of assessment. Great, great viewpoint on the issue here:

    http://www.anurbanteacherseducation.com/2011/05/teach-for-america-corps-member.html

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  4. Amen to the bubble sheets and #2 pencils going away.

    Personalized learning is about meeting the individual student where they are in obtaining the knowledge and skill necessary to succeed in life. There are many advisers that play a role in helping to determine what that personalized learning plan should be. It can't be just the student because in many cases they don't know what they don't know. This is where parents should engage along with teachers and the student to identify those things the student must learn (even at their own pace), but also those things that are of interest to that student. Along with historical information about how that student best learns will provide the environment that would allow a student to learn in a personalized environment.

    In the end however, if you have no way to assess whether a student has gained that skill or bit of knowledge you're flying blind. There are many fundamental skills that cross all students such as reading, writing, basic math. These can and should all be assessed in similar ways. There are other skills that society as a whole expects to be learned across the board. While there should certainly be variance for culture, socioeconomic and other known variables the bottom line remains if you can't measure it, how does one know?

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  5. What are those standardized tests really measuring? If a student is far from being standard, who is to blame? Is education supposed to develop standardized students? What are those standardized results used for? Who is really interested in those standardized tests to be taken?...
    Education is never EVER the answer.

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  6. @David, I agree that people (adults or students) shouldn't learn solo. I think it is important for us all to form personal learning networks that go far beyond just the teacher or parents. I shared the concept of the Personal Success Plan in my blog post today which gets to the heart of this.

    I also want to point out that I agree that people may want to know their level of mastery in a particular area, but standardized tests provide an artificial, rather than authentic measure of mastery.

    Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog post which features how students can show authentic measures of mastery.

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  7. @jose luis, standardized tests measure people's ability to succeed in rote memorization and regurgitation and also they help identify those who have good test taking skills. None of these are very helpful for individuals or a society.

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  8. i disagree because standardized testing is done not appropriate or useful manner... You should know that where they are...

    ReplyDelete

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