Editorials

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

Written by David Green. Posted in Editorials

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.

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