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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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