School testing: the "high-stakes" testing falls short 2011.09.08

Written by David Green.

Congratulations are in order to Fayette’s school staff and students for achieving an “excellent” ranking through Ohio’s education department. Similarly, Morenci staff and students have shown a strong standing with Michigan’s annual report card, particularly at the high school level.

Living on the state border, it’s interesting to observe the differences in the two education systems, and we wonder about differences in testing regimens.

It would be interesting—and a ridiculous waste of students’ time—to trade tests. Ohio appears to have the admirable goal of pushing all school districts to achieve an “excellent” rating and this year there were a record number of districts making the grade, including every Fulton County school. 

In Michigan, the goal seems to take a different tact. Over the years, the state’s assessment test has gone through change after change. It almost seems as though there’s been more of a push to keep districts off balance, as though if too many schools do well on the test, then it’s becoming too easy and it’s time to alter it once again.

That’s probably changing in Michigan after the No Child Left Behind legislation was approved in Washington about a decade ago. Now, every state is an active player in the so-called “high-stakes testing” approach that shows how many students are able to meet proficiency standards. If a single test is used to make that determination, then obviously classroom instruction will be geared toward the test, as well.

Does the testing program measure creative thinking and applied learning? Does it take into account the many skills and talents students possess that cannot be measured on a “paper and pencil” test that measures achievement in a handful of core academic subjects? 

No matter how the scores come out, no matter how they vary from year to year,  no matter what the limitations from school size and resources, one thing is certain: There are still many brilliant students passing through our local schools who graduate and move on to create successful lives for themselves.

That may be something the annual testing regimen can’t determine.

No Basketball Player Left Behind

Author unknown:

All teams must make the state playoffs and all must win the championship.

If a team does not win the championship, it will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If after two years they have not won the championship their basketballs and equipment will be taken away until they do win the championship.

All players will be expected to have the same basketball skills at the same time, even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. No exceptions will be made for lack of interest in basketball, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities of themselves or their parents.

All students will play basketball at a proficient level.

Talented players will be asked to work out on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren’t interested in basketball, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don’t like basketball.

Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th games. If parents do not like this new law, they are encouraged to vote for vouchers and support private schools that can screen out the non-athletes and prevent their children from having to go to school with bad basketball players.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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