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NFT: What 3rd graders are being asked on the '16 Common Core Test

Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 11:06 am
Quote:
Students across New York have been taking the 2016 state-mandated standardized Common Core tests — first in English Language Arts and later this week in math — and from the beginning of the administration of the exams, trouble has been reported. Wrongly printed test booklets, poorly constructed questions, etc...


Quote:
Here’s what P.S. 321’s principal, Elizabeth Phillips, wrote about the 2014 Common Core tests. Her op-ed, “We Need to Talk About the Test,” appeared in the New York Times on April 9, 2014. These same issues were evident on the third-grade 2016 English/Language Arts test.

“In general terms, the tests were confusing, developmentally inappropriate and not well aligned with the Common Core standards. The questions were focused on small details in the passages, rather than on overall comprehension, and many were ambiguous. Children as young as 8 were asked several questions that required rereading four different paragraphs and then deciding which one of those paragraphs best connected to a fifth paragraph. There was a strong emphasis on questions addressing the structure rather than the meaning of the texts. There was also a striking lack of passages with an urban setting. And the tests were too long; none of us can figure out why we need to test for three days to determine how well a child reads and writes.”


Quote:
“After 18 hours of testing over 3 days, she emerged from the classroom in a daze. I asked her if she was ok, and offered her a hug. She actually fell into my arms and burst into tears. I tried to cheer her up but my heart was breaking. She asked if she could read for a while in my room to calm down and then cried into her book for the next 15 minutes.”

Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, noted in a post on her blog NYC Public School Parents that this “appears to violate the NY law passed in 2014 that limits state testing time to one percent of total instructional time.” Additionally, fellow Change the Stakes member, Rosalie Friend, pointed out that “without a set time limit, the tests no longer are standardized. Therefore, one cannot draw ANY conclusions from the scores.” So this alone seems to invalidate these $44 million tests.


It surprises me that for a society that likes to assign accountability and blame, a lot of people turn a blind eye to the politicians and testing agencies that are ruining an entire generation of children's education, and are set to do it to another. They are a disaster. I read article after article about how the newest crop of workers are ill prepared to enter the workforce, and of the struggles employers are having with them...

Change is coming, and these tests will be obsolete, but not at a pace that will save this generation of students entering school, such as my own children. In about ten years, the backlash against these tests will force an end to them, and meanwhile, all of our kids that will have gone through elementary school having to learn based on them will be left holding the bag, and an inferior education that is tailored to the lowest common denominator. A non practical education. Be careful, parents of young children. You can't count on the current education system to make your kids successful learners, you've got to supplement at home, big time.

44 Million dollar tests. Infuriating.

Washington Post - ( New Window )
.  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 11:12 am : link
From 2001:

Quote:
When Congress increased this year's budget for the Department of Education by $11 billion, it set aside $400 million to help states develop and administer the tests that the No Child Left Behind Act mandated for children in grades 3 through 8. Among the likely benefactors of the extra funds were the four companies that dominate the testing market -- three test publishers and one scoring firm.

Those four companies are Harcourt Educational Measurement, CTB McGraw-Hill, Riverside Publishing (a Houghton Mifflin company), and NCS Pearson. According to an October 2001 report in the industry newsletter Educational Marketer, Harcourt, CTB McGraw-Hill, and Riverside Publishing write 96 percent of the exams administered at the state level. NCS Pearson, meanwhile, is the leading scorer of standardized tests.

Even without the impetus of the No Child Left Behind Act, testing is a burgeoning industry. The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College compiled data from The Bowker Annual, a compendium of the dollar-volume in test sales each year, and reported that while test sales in 1955 were $7 million (adjusted to 1998 dollars), that figure was $263 million in 1997, an increase of more than 3,000 percent. Today, press reports put the value of the testing market anywhere from $400 million to $700 million.

It's likely that other companies will enter the testing market. Educational Testing Service (ETS), which until recently had little to do with high-stakes testing and was best known for its administration of the SAT college-entrance exam, won a three-year, $50 million contract in October 2001 to develop and score California's high-school exit exam, beating out other bidders such as Harcourt and NCS Pearson.


This is who is implementing the Common Core and Standardized testing your kids are taking, also from 2001:

Quote:
Each year, NCS Measurement Service scores tests from nearly 40 million students, more than any other company in the U.S. It provides services to 15 states, including some of the largest markets (Texas, Florida, and New York).

Minnesota-based NCS was founded in 1962 (it was then known as National Computer Systems) and went public six years later. The company was acquired by Pearson in September 2000 for $2.5 billion and folded into the Pearson Education unit. Pearson reported $629.5 million in sales in 2000, and assessments and testing services accounted for $202.4 million of that, or 32 percent.


PBS Frontline 2001 - ( New Window )
I always go back and forth on this  
Mike in Long Beach : 4/13/2016 11:14 am : link
I think there is a troubling disconnect between the state and the teachers with these exams. When you mandate education standards without consulting with the very people in charge of administering them, you open up these cans of worms... it's particularly troublesome when you try and revamp the standardized testing system with this process.

On the other hand, I've always found the actual standards of Common Core (not actually the administration or tests themselves) to be a step above what I had growing up in the 90s. There's an emphasis on finding the most logical and life-applicable path to solving a problem. Especially in mathematics, the principles of Common Core teach students how to utilize their everyday problem solving acumen in the most efficient and productive way.

Unfortunately, ironically, educating the public on why these principles are worth teaching was never done. Instead, they tried to force it down everyone's throats.
Britt  
njm : 4/13/2016 11:19 am : link
I'm left wondering whether the problem is the concept of "Common Core" or the failure of the tests to live up to that concept.
RE: Britt  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 11:20 am : link
In comment 12899849 njm said:
Quote:
I'm left wondering whether the problem is the concept of "Common Core" or the failure of the tests to live up to that concept.


Unfortunately is the human guinea pigs, the students, that suffer while while they work that out. Getting close to 20 years now.
it's.  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 11:20 am : link
.
RE: Britt  
Mike in Long Beach : 4/13/2016 11:23 am : link
In comment 12899849 njm said:
Quote:
I'm left wondering whether the problem is the concept of "Common Core" or the failure of the tests to live up to that concept.


Same here. Not speaking about Britt personally here of course, but there absolutely is an element of "I don't want to change how I do things because I just don't, from many teachers. Their resistance is then fueled by the failure of the exams themselves. Their principle of sticking to the way things were once done is validated because the tests are terrible. And then lost in the whole mix was some actual worth-while principles of math, logical reasoning and problem solving that could've really benefited the students.
But they're not learning to problem solve, or think critically...  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 11:25 am : link
they are learning to regurgitate concepts for the sake of the test.

They know the answer is B., but they don't know why/how it is B.

In fact, that's the biggest knock I'm hearing about in the articles I read about those entering the workforce. They need their hands held, or they hit a wall after a year and move on.
where is the U.S ranked  
I Love Clams Casino : 4/13/2016 11:26 am : link
on the scale of High School students globally?
I like the common core  
RB^2 : 4/13/2016 11:29 am : link
At least the math part. It makes students explicitly apply the associative, distributive and commutative properties of numbers, which provides a very good theoretical underpinning, IMO. It looks funny at first but you get it quickly after running through a couple of examples.

I don't understand why this is such a huge political issue.
RE: RE: Britt  
dust_bowl : 4/13/2016 11:30 am : link
In comment 12899864 Mike in Long Beach said:
Quote:
In comment 12899849 njm said:


Quote:


I'm left wondering whether the problem is the concept of "Common Core" or the failure of the tests to live up to that concept.



Same here. Not speaking about Britt personally here of course, but there absolutely is an element of "I don't want to change how I do things because I just don't, from many teachers. Their resistance is then fueled by the failure of the exams themselves. Their principle of sticking to the way things were once done is validated because the tests are terrible. And then lost in the whole mix was some actual worth-while principles of math, logical reasoning and problem solving that could've really benefited the students.
i find it seriously troubling you are blaming teachers for this. Very troubling. In fact I would say your answer is essentially one meant to align with likely right wing views.? But that aside. Anyone, who has done any serious research on this topic wouldn't dare throw a hint of blame on the teachers. In fact there are 50 years of research on education in general, that universally show the opposite. Common core has faces overwhelming public opposition by parents. I'll go with their judgement and the research on it then blaming teachers who are resistant to change. No there are teachers who know the system is ignorant with non pure motives.
RE: I like the common core  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 11:38 am : link
In comment 12899876 RB^2 said:
Quote:
I don't understand why this is such a huge political issue.


It's a political issue because a commercial (British) company is aligned with U.S. Federal Education Reform, and essentially awarded a contract to carry it out. It's a multi billion dollar industry.
RE: RE: RE: Britt  
Mike in Long Beach : 4/13/2016 11:46 am : link
In comment 12899877 dust_bowl said:
Quote:
In comment 12899864 Mike in Long Beach said:


Quote:


In comment 12899849 njm said:


Quote:


I'm left wondering whether the problem is the concept of "Common Core" or the failure of the tests to live up to that concept.



Same here. Not speaking about Britt personally here of course, but there absolutely is an element of "I don't want to change how I do things because I just don't, from many teachers. Their resistance is then fueled by the failure of the exams themselves. Their principle of sticking to the way things were once done is validated because the tests are terrible. And then lost in the whole mix was some actual worth-while principles of math, logical reasoning and problem solving that could've really benefited the students.

i find it seriously troubling you are blaming teachers for this. Very troubling. In fact I would say your answer is essentially one meant to align with likely right wing views.? But that aside. Anyone, who has done any serious research on this topic wouldn't dare throw a hint of blame on the teachers. In fact there are 50 years of research on education in general, that universally show the opposite. Common core has faces overwhelming public opposition by parents. I'll go with their judgement and the research on it then blaming teachers who are resistant to change. No there are teachers who know the system is ignorant with non pure motives.


Never thought I'd say this, but can we bring Peter back?

You are a stain.
It shouldn't be so hard  
SwirlingEddie : 4/13/2016 11:48 am : link
For interested parties, such as teachers, parents, administrators, students, and policymakers, to discuss and agree on a set of measurable standards and goals for the education of our children. Once agreed and established, suitable and appropriate testing of progress and success should be achievable.

This sort of accountability happens in business and institutions every day. I can only attribute the difficulties and reluctance to do so in education to entrenched self-interests of various groups involved.

Testing isn't the problem. Reaching consensus on measurable standards is.
RE: Britt  
BMac : 4/13/2016 11:49 am : link
In comment 12899849 njm said:
Quote:
I'm left wondering whether the problem is the concept of "Common Core" or the failure of the tests to live up to that concept.


Having had considerable experience (none of it good) with Pearson in the past, my bet would be the tests are the main problem. Pearson is a money machine that rarely delivers on its promises, and then in an appallingly slapdash manner.

I can't speak for the other providers, but I'd bet that there's little difference among them.
Im a SPED teacher in the middle  
SimpleMan : 4/13/2016 11:53 am : link
of SBAC state testing right now. Not exactly a fun time. The tests are very complicated, and way over the heads of the kids I teach. They suffer through these things.

As for the CCSS, there are some teachers (older ones) who just refuse to adapt. I currently work in 4th and 5th grade. The 4th grade teacher I work with is in her last year of teaching before retirement. The 5th grade teacher is much younger (25). The older woman simply teaches the same way she did 30 years ago. She blatantly ignores the new curriculum and ways of looking at math problems. On the other hand, the younger teacher does fantastic job of teaching math through the CCSS lens. Some of the CCSS is different, but when you see it taught the right way, a lot of it does make sense and does help the kids have a better understanding.

You can't make these sweeping generalizations about teachers and the CCSS. Some adapt, some don't. Some are good at it, some are not. Some parents figure it out and go with it, some just complain on Facebook.
RE: RE: RE: RE: Britt  
dust_bowl : 4/13/2016 11:55 am : link
In comment 12899897 Mike in Long Beach said:
Quote:
In comment 12899877 dust_bowl said:


Quote:


In comment 12899864 Mike in Long Beach said:


Quote:


In comment 12899849 njm said:


Quote:


I'm left wondering whether the problem is the concept of "Common Core" or the failure of the tests to live up to that concept.



Same here. Not speaking about Britt personally here of course, but there absolutely is an element of "I don't want to change how I do things because I just don't, from many teachers. Their resistance is then fueled by the failure of the exams themselves. Their principle of sticking to the way things were once done is validated because the tests are terrible. And then lost in the whole mix was some actual worth-while principles of math, logical reasoning and problem solving that could've really benefited the students.

i find it seriously troubling you are blaming teachers for this. Very troubling. In fact I would say your answer is essentially one meant to align with likely right wing views.? But that aside. Anyone, who has done any serious research on this topic wouldn't dare throw a hint of blame on the teachers. In fact there are 50 years of research on education in general, that universally show the opposite. Common core has faces overwhelming public opposition by parents. I'll go with their judgement and the research on it then blaming teachers who are resistant to change. No there are teachers who know the system is ignorant with non pure motives.



Never thought I'd say this, but can we bring Peter back?

You are a stain.
wtf. I gave my opinion.
Last message I'm gonna send you  
Mike in Long Beach : 4/13/2016 11:58 am : link
Not for your benefit, but just others reading. You didn't "give your opinion." You:

1) Falsely accused me of blaming the teachers. Anyone who read that (or my previous post) couldn't possibly deduct I'm blaming the teachers, but rather, collectively, the process has failed. I don't know if that's because you were trolling or just stupid. I think trolling.

2) You brought politics into it. Said I said it because I'm right wing? Hahaha

3) This is your M.O. The worst kind of troll.

I know you're trying to derail the thread, bur Britt is a good poster and an educator who cares about education and discussing it, so I'm not going to contribute further to your goal.
A few thoughts  
Matt M. : 4/13/2016 11:58 am : link
1) One problem is too many people treat Common Core and testing as synonymous. Common core, on its own, is a curriculum of value. It stresses more thought. However, it was poorly and hastily rolled out by many states, which is problem number one. Number two, it has been problematic to align exams to the curriculum, especially exams given by multiple states.

2) Interesting comment about making the test untimed removes the standardization of the exams. That is an argument I have not heard, but it is 100% true.

3) NYS made decisions that were purely reactionary to the opt-out movement. On paper, it sounds nice to say the exam is untimed, there are less questions, it is not tied to evaluations, etc. But, as mentioned above the untimed aspect lessens the validity to use it for any statistical measures. Saying there are less questions is technically true, but not significantly true. Not many questions were actually removed.

4) Problematic for me is that a new testing contract was awarded, but the same test bank from the previous vendor was used to create the 2016 exams.

5) I am not a fan the opt-out movement. Some standardized measures need to be in place and they are unavoidable as students go up in grade (in NYS Regents, SATs/ACTs, grad school entrance exams, etc.). Plus, each year there have been different reasons for this movement and each year they have been addressed. Soon, they will run out of reasons other than they simply don't want their kids to test.
I almost feel like a fly on the wall....  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 11:59 am : link
because I don't actually have to administer S.O.L. tests, because I teach an elective (we don't have Common Core in VA, but same concepts).

I just see the result it has on the overall student growth in other areas, including my subject area.

And like I said, all I've been reading over the past two years are how poorly prepared kids are coming into the workforce to problem solve. We're doing these students, IMO, a disservice.
And the only real winners in the testing world  
Matt M. : 4/13/2016 12:00 pm : link
are the handful of vendors who write the tests.
RE: And the only real winners in the testing world  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 12:01 pm : link
In comment 12899927 Matt M. said:
Quote:
are the handful of vendors who write the tests.


And the politicians they pay to keep rewarding them the contract.
Well, I just proctored the 7th grade exam and that was very difficult  
robbieballs2003 : 4/13/2016 12:05 pm : link
for them. I am one for having high expectations but the secretive nature of these questions is just annoying. It is easy to say what topics to teach but how in depth are we supposed to go with these topics? The fact that they do not release all the questions after the exam is completed brings up red flags to me.

I also proctored the 7th grade ELA exam. I teach an honors class. 3 of my students started at 9:00 and did not end until approximately 1 - 1:30 in the afternoon. And that is just one day. The test is three days long.

It is easy to bitch about the tests. I get that. However, something is not right here. There were other students in my school who were still testing even after school ended.

I don't have the right answer but I know what is happening now is not the right answer and it is easily discouraging most students from "trying". A lot of students are now "opting out" even though that isn't an option. It is known as a refusal. For the schools if a students refuses they are counted as a 1 on the AYP. So, are we teaching these kids the right traits? When things get tough do we just quit? Do we refuse to accept a challenge? On the other hand, if they take these tests we are just enabling the process of administering these tests which I don't think is right either.

Lets get something straight though. The Common Core itself is not a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with having standards and a guideline of what should be taught from year to year. The problem is all the unnecessary bullshit attached to it like the testing, the ratings of teachers, the ratings of schools. We are getting further and further away from what really matters and that is educating our children. You do not need tests to know if a student learned something but they want everything measured, which is also understandable as well. The issue is how do you measure a child's knowledge?
Speaking as an eductator  
Bramton1 : 4/13/2016 12:08 pm : link
I love the CCSS. I think a singular set of standards for the whole country, or at least a significant number of states, creates a consistency across the grade level. If my child is learning how to multiply two digit numbers together, if I move to another state, I better not see my kid getting taught multiplying one digit numbers because their standards are different.

Second, I like the emphasis on reasoning, and not just answering with the what, but the why and the how. I like the emphasis on critical thinking. In math, they have completely changed the way the subject is taught. The one way was, "this is how you multiply 32x64." The new way is "here are many different ways to multiple 2-digit numbers. Now use the way that works best for you to answer 32x64."

On the other hand, I hate the PARCC. First of all, way too many standardized tests already. Second, in some ways, they run counter to the standards, re-emphasizing the what. The interface is terrible and the questions are unforgiving.
RE: Last message I'm gonna send you  
Bill L : 4/13/2016 12:10 pm : link
In comment 12899919 Mike in Long Beach said:
Quote:
Not for your benefit, but just others reading. You didn't "give your opinion." You:

1) Falsely accused me of blaming the teachers. Anyone who read that (or my previous post) couldn't possibly deduct I'm blaming the teachers, but rather, collectively, the process has failed. I don't know if that's because you were trolling or just stupid. I think trolling.

2) You brought politics into it. Said I said it because I'm right wing? Hahaha

3) This is your M.O. The worst kind of troll.

I know you're trying to derail the thread, bur Britt is a good poster and an educator who cares about education and discussing it, so I'm not going to contribute further to your goal.
Just out of curiosity, and I suppose this is why these things veer off-track, what would be inherently wrong even if your viewpoint were to be right-wing? Why would it cause you to defend yourself, and, probably more disturbing, why should it be something that he would consider a smear?
Bill  
Mike in Long Beach : 4/13/2016 12:11 pm : link
Quote:
Just out of curiosity, and I suppose this is why these things veer off-track, what would be inherently wrong even if your viewpoint were to be right-wing? Why would it cause you to defend yourself, and, probably more disturbing, why should it be something that he would consider a smear?


I don't consider it a smear. Not really my point. The intent was to take a shot at the right, regardless of what I actually am. I merely laughed at the insinuation that this was my motivation in that post, as I'm a Democrat. No matter what I am, the idea was irrelevant, and had no business on this thread. But he knew that.

To stick to to your initial point/question. There'd be nothing inherently wrong with that.
I have no issue with the Common Core or Standards of Learning....  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 12:12 pm : link
concept. I think it's practical and quite frankly, necessary.

It's the implementation, and the belief that every single student in the United States learns the exact same way and the uniform implementation of it, that completely ignores numbers outside factors and forces, that is impractical.

No Child Left Behind was fantasy land, and though that is in the rear-view mirror now, it's entanglement with Standardized Testing keeps it alive, while continuing to destroy all autonomy in education.
RE: RE: I like the common core  
RB^2 : 4/13/2016 12:18 pm : link
In comment 12899889 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
In comment 12899876 RB^2 said:


Quote:


I don't understand why this is such a huge political issue.



It's a political issue because a commercial (British) company is aligned with U.S. Federal Education Reform, and essentially awarded a contract to carry it out. It's a multi billion dollar industry.


But isn't that true of standardized testing in public schools in general? Common core seems particularly toxic, and for other reasons, namely because the federal government is directly intervening into curriculum.
Yup, it has been a complete disaster  
ZogZerg : 4/13/2016 12:22 pm : link
Has nothing to do with the teachers.
RE: Last message I'm gonna send you  
dust_bowl : 4/13/2016 12:25 pm : link
In comment 12899919 Mike in Long Beach said:
Quote:
Not for your benefit, but just others reading. You didn't "give your opinion." You:

1) Falsely accused me of blaming the teachers. Anyone who read that (or my previous post) couldn't possibly deduct I'm blaming the teachers, but rather, collectively, the process has failed. I don't know if that's because you were trolling or just stupid. I think trolling.

2) You brought politics into it. Said I said it because I'm right wing? Hahaha

3) This is your M.O. The worst kind of troll.

I know you're trying to derail the thread, bur Britt is a good poster and an educator who cares about education and discussing it, so I'm not going to contribute further to your goal.
im sorry you feel that way. I'm passionate about the issue and I meant no disrespect. I see nothing wrong with my post.
RE: RE: RE: I like the common core  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 12:29 pm : link
In comment 12899961 RB^2 said:
Quote:
In comment 12899889 Britt in VA said:


Quote:


In comment 12899876 RB^2 said:


Quote:


I don't understand why this is such a huge political issue.



It's a political issue because a commercial (British) company is aligned with U.S. Federal Education Reform, and essentially awarded a contract to carry it out. It's a multi billion dollar industry.



But isn't that true of standardized testing in public schools in general? Common core seems particularly toxic, and for other reasons, namely because the federal government is directly intervening into curriculum.


Yes and Yes. Common Core is only named in this post because the article was talking about it specifically, but the problems are the same across the scope of Standardized Testing, which is the bigger issue here.
RE: But they're not learning to problem solve, or think critically...  
Scyber : 4/13/2016 12:31 pm : link
In comment 12899870 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
they are learning to regurgitate concepts for the sake of the test.

They know the answer is B., but they don't know why/how it is B.

In fact, that's the biggest knock I'm hearing about in the articles I read about those entering the workforce. They need their hands held, or they hit a wall after a year and move on.


That is the opposite of what I have seen from the Common Core. At least on the math side of things for my 3rd grader. They way math is taught now is more about problem solving and less about memorization. It provides a nice foundation for more complex mathematics. Some of it was strange to see at first as a parent, but once I understood what was being done I liked the approach.

Also the Common Core standard wasn't finalized till 2010 (and not adopted till a few years later by some states). So it is unlikely they anyone entering the workforce now had that much of their education influenced by the Common Core standards. The new education standards were directly in response to graduating students not being prepared for the workforce or college.
RE: RE: But they're not learning to problem solve, or think critically...  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 12:33 pm : link
In comment 12899986 Scyber said:
Quote:
In comment 12899870 Britt in VA said:


Quote:


they are learning to regurgitate concepts for the sake of the test.

They know the answer is B., but they don't know why/how it is B.

In fact, that's the biggest knock I'm hearing about in the articles I read about those entering the workforce. They need their hands held, or they hit a wall after a year and move on.



That is the opposite of what I have seen from the Common Core. At least on the math side of things for my 3rd grader. They way math is taught now is more about problem solving and less about memorization. It provides a nice foundation for more complex mathematics. Some of it was strange to see at first as a parent, but once I understood what was being done I liked the approach.

Also the Common Core standard wasn't finalized till 2010 (and not adopted till a few years later by some states). So it is unlikely they anyone entering the workforce now had that much of their education influenced by the Common Core standards. The new education standards were directly in response to graduating students not being prepared for the workforce or college.


Like I said above, my complaint is more about Standardized Testing in general.
RE: RE: RE: But they're not learning to problem solve, or think critically...  
njm : 4/13/2016 12:43 pm : link
In comment 12899993 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
Like I said above, my complaint is more about Standardized Testing in general.


But Britt, without standardized testing how can you measure the progress the kids are making on any kind of comparative basis?
Do they still have Iowa tests?  
Bill L : 4/13/2016 12:45 pm : link
we had those very other year as I was growing IIRC. And then maybe regular IQ tests in the intervening years.

No matter how much I crammed....
RE: RE: Britt  
PhiPsi125 : 4/13/2016 12:49 pm : link
In comment 12899864 Mike in Long Beach said:
Quote:
In comment 12899849 njm said:


Quote:


I'm left wondering whether the problem is the concept of "Common Core" or the failure of the tests to live up to that concept.



Same here. Not speaking about Britt personally here of course, but there absolutely is an element of "I don't want to change how I do things because I just don't, from many teachers. Their resistance is then fueled by the failure of the exams themselves. Their principle of sticking to the way things were once done is validated because the tests are terrible. And then lost in the whole mix was some actual worth-while principles of math, logical reasoning and problem solving that could've really benefited the students.


Just curious...are you really saying that you aren't blaming teachers with this post? I think it's quite clear that you are, at least in some absolute element.

Personally, I know many, many teachers that are open to change but find it difficult to manage that change within a broken, unethical system. But inaccurate generalizations are cool too.
RE: RE: RE: RE: But they're not learning to problem solve, or think critically...  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 12:52 pm : link
In comment 12900006 njm said:
Quote:
In comment 12899993 Britt in VA said:


Quote:


Like I said above, my complaint is more about Standardized Testing in general.



But Britt, without standardized testing how can you measure the progress the kids are making on any kind of comparative basis?


The S.A.T.'s and Iowa tests of the world weren't enough?

How about the assessment of the people that actually see and know the students every day, the teachers? Their grades, test scores, and exams aren't good enough? Not as good as a test written by somebody that hasn't been in a classroom since they sat in one as a child, writing a test a thousand miles away to give to a child they're never, or will never see with their own eyes?

There is too much educational emphasis on Standardized Testing. The S.A.T. and Iowa tests were good, non intrusive ways to compare.

This is all about money and politics.
RE: RE: RE: RE: But they're not learning to problem solve, or think critically...  
Kevin in Annapolis : 4/13/2016 1:02 pm : link
Quote:

But Britt, without standardized testing how can you measure the progress the kids are making on any kind of comparative basis?


Why is is necessary to make these kinds of assessments in the first place? Kids are assessed daily by their teachers.
How current standardized testing is impacting my HS junior  
SwirlingEddie : 4/13/2016 1:04 pm : link
My daughter is just finishing days of standardized tests. As a junior in honors and AP level classes, most but not all of her classmates are also juniors taking these tests.

Having three days of testing puts the teachers in a difficult spot. Do you press on with your course, leaving the test-takers to catch up on multiple days of class work? Or do you stop the class for three days and lose three precious days of class time?

So why does it take three days to complete the testing? Wouldn't it be better to test everyone at once on the same day so students and teachers don't lose unnecessary class time? Sure, but the tests are administered on computers and the schools don't have sufficient resources to test all at once, so they have to break it up over days. Sigh.
RE: How current standardized testing is impacting my HS junior  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 1:07 pm : link
In comment 12900053 SwirlingEddie said:
Quote:
My daughter is just finishing days of standardized tests. As a junior in honors and AP level classes, most but not all of her classmates are also juniors taking these tests.

Having three days of testing puts the teachers in a difficult spot. Do you press on with your course, leaving the test-takers to catch up on multiple days of class work? Or do you stop the class for three days and lose three precious days of class time?

So why does it take three days to complete the testing? Wouldn't it be better to test everyone at once on the same day so students and teachers don't lose unnecessary class time? Sure, but the tests are administered on computers and the schools don't have sufficient resources to test all at once, so they have to break it up over days. Sigh.


I'll one up that, Eddie...

Here in VA, we give the S.O.L. Tests in the first week of May. If a student passes their SOL test, they automatically pass the class for the year and don't have to take the final exam. The last day of school is June 17th. What do you think happens to instructional time over those last 5 to 6 weeks when a kid knows that no matter what happens, they've passed and don't have to take a final exam?
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: But they're not learning to problem solve, or think critically...  
njm : 4/13/2016 1:10 pm : link
In comment 12900026 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
In comment 12900006 njm said:


Quote:


In comment 12899993 Britt in VA said:


Quote:


Like I said above, my complaint is more about Standardized Testing in general.



But Britt, without standardized testing how can you measure the progress the kids are making on any kind of comparative basis?



The S.A.T.'s and Iowa tests of the world weren't enough?

How about the assessment of the people that actually see and know the students every day, the teachers? Their grades, test scores, and exams aren't good enough? Not as good as a test written by somebody that hasn't been in a classroom since they sat in one as a child, writing a test a thousand miles away to give to a child they're never, or will never see with their own eyes?

There is too much educational emphasis on Standardized Testing. The S.A.T. and Iowa tests were good, non intrusive ways to compare.

This is all about money and politics.


SATs happen way too late and are mainly a tool for college entrance. Like Bill L I took Iowa Tests. I believe it was 4th and 6th grade. I'm OK with that. But there was nothing after that until you took the SATs. I think you need some sort of standardized measurement between grades 7 and 10. Those years are both important AND high risk.

BTW, I'm totally into suggestions on how the tests can be improved. I just don't think they should be done away with.
njm: The difference between the Iowa Tests and S.A.T.'s...  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 1:13 pm : link
and Standardized Tests as they exist now, is that Iowa Tests and S.A.T.s were purely for informational purposes, "comparative" purposes as you put it.

They were just to see where students were. Standardized Tests are now the end all be all indicator of whether a child learned, whether they pass the class, the grade, etc...

They pretty much the ONLY assessment that matters, everything else is secondary.
It's an immense amount of pressure on both student and teacher.  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 1:14 pm : link
.
RE: RE: How current standardized testing is impacting my HS junior  
njm : 4/13/2016 1:15 pm : link
In comment 12900064 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
What do you think happens to instructional time over those last 5 to 6 weeks when a kid knows that no matter what happens, they've passed and don't have to take a final exam?


Britt - As I recall you teach in a pretty tough school. For kids on a college track those 6 weeks could affect what their passing grade is, so there would still be an incentive to do well.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: But they're not learning to problem solve, or think critically...  
Bill L : 4/13/2016 1:16 pm : link
In comment 12900068 njm said:
Quote:


SATs happen way too late and are mainly a tool for college entrance. Like Bill L I took Iowa Tests. I believe it was 4th and 6th grade. I'm OK with that. But there was nothing after that until you took the SATs. I think you need some sort of standardized measurement between grades 7 and 10. Those years are both important AND high risk.

BTW, I'm totally into suggestions on how the tests can be improved. I just don't think they should be done away with.
Another thing that really helped (IMO, anyway), is that right from the getgo in high school or perhaps jr high, we all got tracked into pre-college, shop, (what they called) secretarial, or (in my hs anyway) pre-prison. The groupings helped focus and levels taught and types of courses, and, I think it led to keep track of progress better.
RE: njm: The difference between the Iowa Tests and S.A.T.'s...  
njm : 4/13/2016 1:17 pm : link
In comment 12900081 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
and Standardized Tests as they exist now, is that Iowa Tests and S.A.T.s were purely for informational purposes, "comparative" purposes as you put it.

They were just to see where students were. Standardized Tests are now the end all be all indicator of whether a child learned, whether they pass the class, the grade, etc...

They pretty much the ONLY assessment that matters, everything else is secondary.


I'm totally against a standardized test being the sole determinant of a grade.
That is true.  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 1:19 pm : link
But how backwards is that? We're on Pearson's schedule.

As it is, kids get pulled out of other classes regularly starting as early as October, to re mediate them and tutor them so we can make sure our passing rates are good. Why not just put it at the end of the school year and replace the final exam with that? Gives you a full extra five to six weeks of instructional time where kids have to tune in...

Oh, because then the kids that didn't pass wouldn't get to take it again (more money).
RE: where is the U.S ranked  
Giants2012 : 4/13/2016 1:23 pm : link
In comment 12899873 I Love Clams Casino said:
Quote:
on the scale of High School students globally?


Which scale would you like to use?

An honor student from India can write "see Jane run" whereas billions of other can't or the true genius' from India which outnumber us b/c there are billions of students?

So many scales of intellect to evaluate.
The problem as I see it.......  
WideRight : 4/13/2016 1:29 pm : link
So feel free to correct me, but I've got four kids going through this crap, which gives my opinion a little validity.

Time. Public schools are the most inefficient organizations I have ever seen in my life. Between education mandates and work rules, there is very little time available to teach. Testing is just another element that consumes an inordinant amount of time, during which no teaching is being done.

Kids going to school really don't know much about learning because they have done so little of it at school. They compare themselves to their peers who are equally handicapped.

So I agree with the OP. Relying on the schools to educate your kids is a mistake that can do serious harm down the road. I differ, in that I don't blame the tests per se, but the environment that thinks removing two more weeks of education for PARC.

If it were up to me, since testing is voluntary, I would do it on a weekend with proctors and let the teachers continue to do what they are paid to do on the weekdays.
RE: Do they still have Iowa tests?  
madgiantscow009 : 4/13/2016 1:31 pm : link
In comment 12900010 Bill L said:
Quote:
we had those very other year as I was growing IIRC. And then maybe regular IQ tests in the intervening years.

No matter how much I crammed....


I just came across my old Iowa test results sheet.
I'm not a teacher but my wife is and I also come from a  
PhiPsi125 : 4/13/2016 1:57 pm : link
family of teachers, as well as many friends are teachers.

My two boys are in 6th and 3rd grade and neither take the tests. My older son took it the first couple of years and did exceptional in math but not great on the english component (mostly due to the fact that he couldn't finish the test).

As a non-teacher, I struggle with the idea of opting out of the test. I'm certainly not the one to quit on something just because it's hard, and I try to get that message across to my kids as best I can. But there is something fundamentally wrong with these tests that I will not subject my children to.

These kids start hearing about these tests in September and the tests are stressed all the way through April. The kids already have a warped view of the tests because of how their parents discuss the absurdity of them. There is nothing common about "common core" and different teachers have different curriculum, it would seem. Class to class, school to school, district to district. And on top of everything else, the massive amount of reading and reporting on those reading (above and beyond the separate reading they do in school) is way too extreme. My son's graduating class will be full of anxiety-ridden kids.
I am not an educator  
Mike from Ohio : 4/13/2016 2:04 pm : link
but I have one child in middle school and another in elementary. Both have been immersed in common core for a couple of year now, and so far I am not a fan at all. The concept of what common core should be is a noble one - teaching critical thinking over rote memorization. But that is not what it is in practice.

Math is a perfect example. Both my kids have been identified as gifted, and both are very good at math. My eldest used to spend upwards of 90 minutes on math homework some nights because the problems needed to be solved 3 to 4 different ways. Some of those ways were easy for her, and she could come up with the correct answer immediately. But then she would get frustrated when she ran out of ways to solve the same problem. We would sit together for long periods brainstorming strategies to solve a problem she had already solved at least twice. Some problems would also require drawing pictures - this was in 4th and 5ht grade! She would solve the problem, but then spend 10 minutes drawing it!

Teaching multiple ways to solve problems is a good idea. But what is has turned into is making every child solve every problem every possible way. Kids who naturally take to one method of solving a problem may not necessarily take to another, and they will never need that method. But they have to spend time learning it because it may be what some other child needs.

I believe school provides a foundation of knowledge for children, but if that is not supplemented significantly at home, your children are not getting a good education. That is not a slight at teachers at all. They are just put in the position of having to apply individual solutions on a broad basis, which to me is madness.
RE: I am not an educator  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 2:26 pm : link
In comment 12900229 Mike from Ohio said:
Quote:
I believe school provides a foundation of knowledge for children, but if that is not supplemented significantly at home, your children are not getting a good education. That is not a slight at teachers at all. They are just put in the position of having to apply individual solutions on a broad basis, which to me is madness.


Boom. You got it.
RE: I'm not a teacher but my wife is and I also come from a  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 2:30 pm : link
In comment 12900206 PhiPsi125 said:
Quote:
family of teachers, as well as many friends are teachers.

My two boys are in 6th and 3rd grade and neither take the tests. My older son took it the first couple of years and did exceptional in math but not great on the english component (mostly due to the fact that he couldn't finish the test).

As a non-teacher, I struggle with the idea of opting out of the test. I'm certainly not the one to quit on something just because it's hard, and I try to get that message across to my kids as best I can. But there is something fundamentally wrong with these tests that I will not subject my children to.

These kids start hearing about these tests in September and the tests are stressed all the way through April. The kids already have a warped view of the tests because of how their parents discuss the absurdity of them. There is nothing common about "common core" and different teachers have different curriculum, it would seem. Class to class, school to school, district to district. And on top of everything else, the massive amount of reading and reporting on those reading (above and beyond the separate reading they do in school) is way too extreme. My son's graduating class will be full of anxiety-ridden kids.


And what do your wife, family, and friends who are teachers think about it? I'm guessing they have strong thoughts if your kids are opting out.
I have 2 children in the 6th grade  
RobCrossRiver56 : 4/13/2016 2:37 pm : link
And this is the first year we let them opt out. They did very well on the tests in the past but the math is absurd. My wife is a teacher, I like to think I'm smart yet we still had to hire a tutor. I went to the school a few months ago and suggested they were maybe pushing the kids to hard and the school suggested that I take a class to learn common core so I can help my kids with their homework. My response was "isn't that your job!"

The teachers were sending my kids home on Friday with a 50 question math book that had to be completed by Monday. like the other poster said, you just couldn't put in the answer but you had to show several ways to get to the same answer. It was taking my children 10+ hours each weekend just for MATH! We had enough.

We are not quitters in my household but I will not let my kids be robbed of their childhood either. Once we decided we were opting out we no longer made them do all of the math home work and got back to having fun as a family on weekends.
Britt, to be honest, most of the teachers I know DO have  
PhiPsi125 : 4/13/2016 2:56 pm : link
strong feelings about it in the same way I do. Most teachers I know also have their children opt out. But what's confusing is that many of them also seem to "punish" the children who opt out by making the day as miserable as possible for them. Can't put my finger on that one.

Teachers get killed because its easy to point the finger at teachers. Many people already dislike teachers because they "get the summer off" and vacations and stuff like that. So, blaming teachers is just an easy association for them. However, ALL the teachers I know agree with the common core to some extent. They are open to change and to new ideas to help teach their students. In fact, Mike from Ohio's post was spot on. Common Core - nice thought, failed application.
Teachers are on edge because as you mentioned...  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 3:05 pm : link
they are bearing the brunt of the public outcry. The uneducated public, like many issues, looks for the fall guy and in this case... Teachers are the easiest target.

But the truth is, their hands are tied in all circumstances. They can't discipline, they don't pick the curriculum, and they are held accountable for the performance of the students that they teach, in many cases, their job is on the line (or threatened with that).

It's a shame. What a society we live in where teachers and police officers are by and large viewed as the bad guys.
Reading threads like this makes me greater appreciate  
steve in ky : 4/13/2016 3:07 pm : link
That my wife used to be a teacher and is so able to now homeschool our children.


RE: I have 2 children in the 6th grade  
SimpleMan : 4/13/2016 3:16 pm : link
In comment 12900299 RobCrossRiver56 said:
Quote:
And this is the first year we let them opt out. They did very well on the tests in the past but the math is absurd. My wife is a teacher, I like to think I'm smart yet we still had to hire a tutor. I went to the school a few months ago and suggested they were maybe pushing the kids to hard and the school suggested that I take a class to learn common core so I can help my kids with their homework. My response was "isn't that your job!"

The teachers were sending my kids home on Friday with a 50 question math book that had to be completed by Monday. like the other poster said, you just couldn't put in the answer but you had to show several ways to get to the same answer. It was taking my children 10+ hours each weekend just for MATH! We had enough.

We are not quitters in my household but I will not let my kids be robbed of their childhood either. Once we decided we were opting out we no longer made them do all of the math home work and got back to having fun as a family on weekends.


To me that is less of a Common Core problem and much more of a teacher problem. 10 hours of homework on a weekend is absurd. The kids in my 5th grade class get little to no homework on weekends. If kids are taking forever to do their homework, it is on the teacher to adjust the amount, or teach the material better so the students understand what they are doing.
Edcuation has been totally politicized  
rocco8112 : 4/13/2016 3:17 pm : link
Which means, until this changes, nothing positive will likely ever come from the education system again. Do not get me wrong, there are amazing things happening in classrooms of all levels all across this great country every single day. But, taken in totality, the education system as we all have known it is screwed since it now is politicized.

Education in the US is a trillion dollar business that touches every community. It is 9% of the GDP, second only to healthcare. There are many out there who see the dollars associated with this and they are lining up to get their piece. That greed aside, let's look at how things came to be where the absurdities stated by the OP are now a matter of course in New York State.

There is a belief that the public school system is a failure. This goes back even as far as the Russians sending up Sputnik, but this narrative truly begins in 1983 with the publishing of "A Nation at Risk". Here we learned that the US school system is failing and that the country will fall behind completely if action is not taken. The belief of a failing system holds to his day and is the context for what is happening now.

Fast Forward to the 2000's and we get the infusion of Bill Gates and his "philanthropy" in education. Bill believes he has found that reason that the US' schools suck and it is because almost all of the teachers are horrible. In the 1990's this country was hit with the myth of the "welfare Queens" who bilked the social safety net throughout their lives. Now, we have a new propaganda myth, the unionized educator. This evil person, sitting cackling at their desk, putting down their newspaper only long enough to read their pension statement and laugh all the way to the bank. This is the reason our schools are suffering. But, never fear, Gates provides us hope. He says that even amidst these free loaders, there are teachers who are great. If only we could identify these teachers, figure out who they are and why they are great our education problems will be solved.

Gates is a numbers guy, he believes we can use math to find the good teachers. This whole education thing can be solved with measurement. How can we measure? Through tests, but we need a common thing to measure. Enter, the COMMON CORE, the federal standards that will be used as the baseline to measure the performance of our schools and teachers. Gates is the richest man in the world, so when he speaks and opens up the wallet, everyone listens.

One person who listened was president Barack Obama. Obama is elected with a surge of hope and a mandate to get things done. One of his first measures was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the stimulus bill. Attached as a rider to this massive bill was an extortion program, excuse me, competitive grant program called "Race to the Top". This gave states a chance to apply for federal money. The two main changes that had to be made by the states were the adoption of the Common Core and the tying of teacher ratings to a Value Added Data Score based on common core exams. You see it is illegal for the Department of Education to mandate a national curriculum. "Race to the Top" solved that problem by having the states agree to adopt the common core voluntarily in order to get some money.

So that brings us to the problem today. These tests serve no educational purpose. They are used as a measurement for schools. They are also used as a measurement of teacher performance, which is why a teacher will be sure to test prep since their employment may depend on it.

On one end of the spectrum there are those like Gates who I think that the end of the day are honest in their intentions. They just have no idea what they are talking about. The other end of the spectrum are the forces that want to get larger slices of the trillion dollar pie for themselves. They want to rip away pieces of the public education system for their own financial gain and they will use the common core data to make their case that the schools suck and must be replaced with private solutions.

My favorite part of this is how all the major decision makers send their kids to private schools. Schools were none of these policies take place. The president, the current and former Secretaries of Education and everyone else send their kids to private school, free from the mandates they claim are so good. Good for the peasants, not for their little saints.

There is some hope, that is the civil disobedience taking place in Long Island. The Opt-Out Movement. The government erred when it went after the affluent districts. You can dictate to the poor, you can dictate to those new immigrants to the US. The affluent communities that pay so much in property taxes for their schools, who run the bake sales, who are in the PTA, those are their schools. They are fighting to take them back. I hope one million students Opt-Out, just to prove where the power over the school system should really be. In the communities that the schools serve.

Also, as far as the school suggesting parents take a course on CCSS:  
SimpleMan : 4/13/2016 3:21 pm : link
My school offers the same. It came up here because countless times kids come in with a note from Mom or Dad saying they did not know how to do the homework. The school offers some help which I think is good. It gives parents who want to understand some of the stuff (particularly math) a chance to do so. A lot of parents already have a poor attitude because of what they read about the Common Core, so as soon as they see something different from what they did in the 5th grade 25 years ago, they call BS on it and tell their kids to stop doing their HW and write these notes to the teacher. I was glad when my school offered something to the parents.
RE: Edcuation has been totally politicized  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 3:30 pm : link
In comment 12900434 rocco8112 said:
Quote:
Which means, until this changes, nothing positive will likely ever come from the education system again. Do not get me wrong, there are amazing things happening in classrooms of all levels all across this great country every single day. But, taken in totality, the education system as we all have known it is screwed since it now is politicized.

Education in the US is a trillion dollar business that touches every community. It is 9% of the GDP, second only to healthcare. There are many out there who see the dollars associated with this and they are lining up to get their piece. That greed aside, let's look at how things came to be where the absurdities stated by the OP are now a matter of course in New York State.

There is a belief that the public school system is a failure. This goes back even as far as the Russians sending up Sputnik, but this narrative truly begins in 1983 with the publishing of "A Nation at Risk". Here we learned that the US school system is failing and that the country will fall behind completely if action is not taken. The belief of a failing system holds to his day and is the context for what is happening now.

Fast Forward to the 2000's and we get the infusion of Bill Gates and his "philanthropy" in education. Bill believes he has found that reason that the US' schools suck and it is because almost all of the teachers are horrible. In the 1990's this country was hit with the myth of the "welfare Queens" who bilked the social safety net throughout their lives. Now, we have a new propaganda myth, the unionized educator. This evil person, sitting cackling at their desk, putting down their newspaper only long enough to read their pension statement and laugh all the way to the bank. This is the reason our schools are suffering. But, never fear, Gates provides us hope. He says that even amidst these free loaders, there are teachers who are great. If only we could identify these teachers, figure out who they are and why they are great our education problems will be solved.

Gates is a numbers guy, he believes we can use math to find the good teachers. This whole education thing can be solved with measurement. How can we measure? Through tests, but we need a common thing to measure. Enter, the COMMON CORE, the federal standards that will be used as the baseline to measure the performance of our schools and teachers. Gates is the richest man in the world, so when he speaks and opens up the wallet, everyone listens.

One person who listened was president Barack Obama. Obama is elected with a surge of hope and a mandate to get things done. One of his first measures was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the stimulus bill. Attached as a rider to this massive bill was an extortion program, excuse me, competitive grant program called "Race to the Top". This gave states a chance to apply for federal money. The two main changes that had to be made by the states were the adoption of the Common Core and the tying of teacher ratings to a Value Added Data Score based on common core exams. You see it is illegal for the Department of Education to mandate a national curriculum. "Race to the Top" solved that problem by having the states agree to adopt the common core voluntarily in order to get some money.

So that brings us to the problem today. These tests serve no educational purpose. They are used as a measurement for schools. They are also used as a measurement of teacher performance, which is why a teacher will be sure to test prep since their employment may depend on it.

On one end of the spectrum there are those like Gates who I think that the end of the day are honest in their intentions. They just have no idea what they are talking about. The other end of the spectrum are the forces that want to get larger slices of the trillion dollar pie for themselves. They want to rip away pieces of the public education system for their own financial gain and they will use the common core data to make their case that the schools suck and must be replaced with private solutions.

My favorite part of this is how all the major decision makers send their kids to private schools. Schools were none of these policies take place. The president, the current and former Secretaries of Education and everyone else send their kids to private school, free from the mandates they claim are so good. Good for the peasants, not for their little saints.

There is some hope, that is the civil disobedience taking place in Long Island. The Opt-Out Movement. The government erred when it went after the affluent districts. You can dictate to the poor, you can dictate to those new immigrants to the US. The affluent communities that pay so much in property taxes for their schools, who run the bake sales, who are in the PTA, those are their schools. They are fighting to take them back. I hope one million students Opt-Out, just to prove where the power over the school system should really be. In the communities that the schools serve.


Wow, what a fantastic post. You nailed it. Should be required reading, kudos.

It's not just the politicians. I recently moved into a new house, school districts and all.... I don't mind saying that wife is the breadwinner in the family, and it allowed us to get into a really nice neighborhood. In fact, we moved into the same neighborhood as my former Principal/boss who is now a member of a neighboring county's school board. I found out that her two teenage children attend private school. What does that tell you?
RE: A few thoughts  
BronxBob : 4/13/2016 3:43 pm : link
In comment 12899920 Matt M. said:
Quote:
1) One problem is too many people treat Common Core and testing as synonymous. Common core, on its own, is a curriculum of value. It stresses more thought. However, it was poorly and hastily rolled out by many states, which is problem number one. Number two, it has been problematic to align exams to the curriculum, especially exams given by multiple states.

2) Interesting comment about making the test untimed removes the standardization of the exams. That is an argument I have not heard, but it is 100% true.

3) NYS made decisions that were purely reactionary to the opt-out movement. On paper, it sounds nice to say the exam is untimed, there are less questions, it is not tied to evaluations, etc. But, as mentioned above the untimed aspect lessens the validity to use it for any statistical measures. Saying there are less questions is technically true, but not significantly true. Not many questions were actually removed.

4) Problematic for me is that a new testing contract was awarded, but the same test bank from the previous vendor was used to create the 2016 exams.

5) I am not a fan the opt-out movement. Some standardized measures need to be in place and they are unavoidable as students go up in grade (in NYS Regents, SATs/ACTs, grad school entrance exams, etc.). Plus, each year there have been different reasons for this movement and each year they have been addressed. Soon, they will run out of reasons other than they simply don't want their kids to test.



I certainly agree with your first point; it's more fact than opinion. I think that if more people entered the discussion with an understanding of this, the debate about the role of standardized testing might be more productive.

Students entering college today, and for at least the past 4-5 years have deplorable reading skills. More precisely, nearly 70% of them have essentially sub-par (below grade) reading skills. They were not educated in a system that relied on the common core state standards and its testing regimen.

I was going to add that to say "these tests have no educational purpose" would simply be incorrect, but that would actually be violating my first rule above: keep the full picture in mind.

I think the standards and the pedagogy they represent can work when teachers are properly trained to use them, and to prepare students to be tested on them, with tests that are properly designed. Getting all those planets to align is the difficult part.
RE: RE: Edcuation has been totally politicized  
njm : 4/13/2016 3:53 pm : link
In comment 12900484 Britt in VA said:
Quote:



Wow, what a fantastic post. You nailed it. Should be required reading, kudos.

It's not just the politicians. I recently moved into a new house, school districts and all.... I don't mind saying that wife is the breadwinner in the family, and it allowed us to get into a really nice neighborhood. In fact, we moved into the same neighborhood as my former Principal/boss who is now a member of a neighboring county's school board. I found out that her two teenage children attend private school. What does that tell you?


Actually he didn't for the simple reason that the situation is not the same in every state. You have strong unions and weak (or no) unions. He decries the stereotyped teacher. Yet you have teachers in "rubber rooms" in NYC who can't be placed in any school in the city. That's even worse than the stereotype. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume they don't have "rubber rooms" in your district.

You have school officials with their kids in private schools. A pertinent question might be how those schools monitor the comparative progress of their students and how they deal with teachers who just don't cut it.
We do not have rubber rooms and Virginia does not have a teachers....  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 3:57 pm : link
union... But his summary about how we got here, and why we are here, is spot on.

There may be variations from state to state, but as rocco outlined, this is a Federal mandate.
RE: RE: RE: Edcuation has been totally politicized  
rocco8112 : 4/13/2016 4:05 pm : link
In comment 12900546 njm said:
Quote:
In comment 12900484 Britt in VA said:


Quote:





Wow, what a fantastic post. You nailed it. Should be required reading, kudos.

It's not just the politicians. I recently moved into a new house, school districts and all.... I don't mind saying that wife is the breadwinner in the family, and it allowed us to get into a really nice neighborhood. In fact, we moved into the same neighborhood as my former Principal/boss who is now a member of a neighboring county's school board. I found out that her two teenage children attend private school. What does that tell you?



Actually he didn't for the simple reason that the situation is not the same in every state. You have strong unions and weak (or no) unions. He decries the stereotyped teacher. Yet you have teachers in "rubber rooms" in NYC who can't be placed in any school in the city. That's even worse than the stereotype. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume they don't have "rubber rooms" in your district.

You have school officials with their kids in private schools. A pertinent question might be how those schools monitor the comparative progress of their students and how they deal with teachers who just don't cut it.


I never aid that there were no poor performing teachers. But, the idea all the vast majority of teachers just take advantage of their situation is patently absurd and it is a core argument by many.

Test is ridiculous. Mine opted out  
Steve L : 4/13/2016 4:43 pm : link
The final year (last year) they opted out. My GFs district actually mailed and emailed opt-out forms home to parents this year to make it easier.

My kids were mentally destroyed by these tests. The state also had one portion of the test scheduled for the second day back after spring break. Kids weren't even in school mode yet. Stupid
I have a question (ok, a bunch of them, actually)  
fkap : 4/13/2016 5:34 pm : link
what are 3rd graders being asked on the CCT?

The article is mostly just bitching about how someone (s) doesn't like the test, but is prevented from presenting any actual data about the test.

Am I supposed to join with side A and say "bullshit, the test is fine"? Or with side B that says "this test sucks"? and/or any of the variants that want you to hate it because it makes teachers look bad, or good, or automatons, or something?

You can find any number of people to interview and select quotes that satisfy any agenda you have, regardless of your view.

Without actually reading the test questions, all I see is someone's opinion. Without knowing the length or complexity or detail of the passages or questions, it's hard for me to agree or disagree whether reading 4 passages in a day is too taxing on a 3rd grader. are they see dick. see dick run. run dick run. What did Dick do: A) run, B) sit C) dick didn't do shit. or is it a passage from Moby Dick, and which of these best explains the meaning of the whale....? if you look you can find someone who thinks either case is good or bad.
That's a great question.  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 6:25 pm : link
Why do you think they're so secretive with the questions?

In my state, it's considered a violation if the teacher even sees most of the questions on the test. In ALL states, if a teacher happens to see what is on the test, they are forbidden to discuss it, and they have to sign a waiver that says if they do they can have their teacher's license revoked.

Seemingly, the only people who truly know what is on the test, are those that write the test. And that stands for even when the testing is completed.

Why do you think that is?
I'm not an expert on educational methods  
eclipz928 : 4/13/2016 6:58 pm : link
so my opinion is based mostly on anecdotes and personal feelings



. . . . is what I wish everyone would preface the comments that they have concerning the effectiveness of common core.
So just to clarify my last post....  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 7:19 pm : link
you, the parent, will NEVER be privy to what is on the test.

If your student's teacher happens to see the test, which would only happen if they were directly observing a student take the test (not supposed to), they're forbade from ever repeating what they saw as far as content, with the threat of having their career ended, looming.

The people that write and grade the test, are a commercial company that is paid billions by the government to write, grade, and evaluate the test to pass down to the schools and then scoop it back up, with zero input from the schools or the communities they govern.

That all sounds completely reasonable, doesn't it?
Britt  
fkap : 4/13/2016 7:56 pm : link
perhaps it is so that teachers can't simply coach the answers? that's been one of the huge beefs in the past, that teachers are just teaching for a good test score.

honestly, not a snark. just a thought. if you want an honest evaluation of how well a child is being taught, the testing should be blind to the teacher. I'm assuming that the teachers are told what the subject matter is that is supposed to be taught.

After the fact, when the testing is done, there should be some transparency so that parents and teachers (and all the associations, unions, etc) can evaluate if the testing was appropriate and/or fair.



I'd be fine with that, but the fact is....  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 7:59 pm : link
there is no transparency. The content of the test is never revealed to anybody.
And by fine with that...  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 8:13 pm : link
I mean transparency would be a start towards understanding why they feel these tests are effective/important.
The public school system and  
rocco8112 : 4/13/2016 8:14 pm : link
the tests they administer belong to the people. Any parent or educator should be able to view any past exam any time they wish. It should send a chill down the spine of any American that these tests are treated like state secrets. Everything that goes on in the school system should be fully transparent to all. This should not even be open to discussion.

For a society that loves to find a boogeyman in every aspect...  
Britt in VA : 4/13/2016 8:24 pm : link
of the government and it's influence on their lives, it strikes me as odd the way this is brushed off by some.
RE: The public school system and  
mdc1 : 4/14/2016 8:26 am : link
In comment 12901024 rocco8112 said:
Quote:
the tests they administer belong to the people. Any parent or educator should be able to view any past exam any time they wish. It should send a chill down the spine of any American that these tests are treated like state secrets. Everything that goes on in the school system should be fully transparent to all. This should not even be open to discussion.


welcome to the various dept of education controllers. If you ever want to f something up give it to a government entity, state, local, federal. They can't get out of their own way. They are succeeding however in terms of dumbing down the intelligence of americans on a daily basis, that and media. The best thing I ever did for my kid was bypass that whole failed fork and spend the money (INVEST) in my kid's future (Ivy league). Sad that other Americans have to accept a product or service that does not work is not adequate with no accountability or recourse. More of a social engineering lab and eventually the failed promise will lead many to student loan debt from the legalized loan sharks that are backed by the government.
RE: I'd be fine with that, but the fact is....  
njm : 4/14/2016 8:36 am : link
In comment 12900993 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
there is no transparency. The content of the test is never revealed to anybody.


Is the lack of transparency due to the legislation or Pearson? As I recall, the SAT questions were as guarded as what you describe the year they were given but released to the public at a later date.
rocco  
fkap : 4/14/2016 9:02 am : link
don't disagree at all.

BUT...if transparency is the issue, then that should be the main thrust of the article/argument, and not the testing set up sucks. ie: the title of the OP should have been 'what are 3rd graders being asked on the '16 Common Core Test?'

IMO, the article (and a lot of the comments) reads as just another agenda driven opinion piece railing against standardized testing/ gov't getting involved automatically bad.
RE: rocco  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 9:14 am : link
In comment 12901663 fkap said:
Quote:
don't disagree at all.

BUT...if transparency is the issue, then that should be the main thrust of the article/argument, and not the testing set up sucks. ie: the title of the OP should have been 'what are 3rd graders being asked on the '16 Common Core Test?'

IMO, the article (and a lot of the comments) reads as just another agenda driven opinion piece railing against standardized testing/ gov't getting involved automatically bad.


The title of the OP is the title of the article, abbreviated to fit in the subject line.

As far as content, I thought they did a very good job of giving you a glimpse of how insane the structure was of the test at a third grade level, without jeopardizing their job. The following doesn't raise ANY red flag for you?

Quote:
1.) The 2016 Common Core English Language Arts test was as unacceptably long as it was in 2013, 2014 and 2015 — despite the fact that it was shortened by just one reading passage and by a handful of multiple choice questions.

2016 Grade 3 Common Core English Language Arts Test

Day One: Four reading passages, 24 multiple-choice questions (students darken the circles on Answer Sheet 1)

Day Two: Three reading passages (same as 2015), seven multiple-choice questions (students darken the circles on Answer Sheet 2), two short-response questions (students write answers directly in Book 2.) one extended-response question (students write answer directly in Book 2).

Day Three: Three reading passages (same as 2015), 5 short-response questions (students write answers directly in Book 3) and one extended-response question (students write answer directly in Book 3).

TOTALS: 10 reading passages, 31 multiple-choice questions, seven short-response questions and two extended-response questions.


Keep in mind two things. 1. This is third grade. 2. English isn't the only test they take. There is also Math, and then Science, and then World History.

If you read that article and still come away with wondering whether the test questions are "see dick. see dick run. run dick run. What did Dick do: A) run, B) sit C) dick didn't do shit." then I guess there is no convincing you otherwise.

Just out of curiosity, do you have any experience with the test? Kids currently in the system perhaps, or some sort of association with education? I'm just curious on how you've built your views.
Lousy situation  
trueblueinpw : 4/14/2016 9:37 am : link
Here in Port Washington we have terrific public schools. The parents and other members of the community fund the district and do everything possible to help the kids be successful in school. Most of the teachers are terrific, some are less so and some aren't all that wonderful. It's a great district and a vey strong community. Why we have 50 to 70 percent opting out is a bit of a mystery to me. Not sure these test really impact our community one way or another.

I wonder why the kids in the city, where the schools are really in trouble, have opt out rates that are so much lower?

My neighbors have their kids taking some of the tests but not others. What's the reasoning there I do not know.

What kind of message does it send to the kids to tell them to opt out of a test because they are challenging or difficult?

Should all test questions be made available to the public? How would that impact test results and teaching to the questions?

The million dollar question is this, with all the money we spend on education here in the US, why are we under achieving?
RE: Lousy situation  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 9:46 am : link
In comment 12901756 trueblueinpw said:
Quote:
Here in Port Washington we have terrific public schools. The parents and other members of the community fund the district and do everything possible to help the kids be successful in school. Most of the teachers are terrific, some are less so and some aren't all that wonderful. It's a great district and a vey strong community. Why we have 50 to 70 percent opting out is a bit of a mystery to me. Not sure these test really impact our community one way or another.

I wonder why the kids in the city, where the schools are really in trouble, have opt out rates that are so much lower?

My neighbors have their kids taking some of the tests but not others. What's the reasoning there I do not know.

What kind of message does it send to the kids to tell them to opt out of a test because they are challenging or difficult?

Should all test questions be made available to the public? How would that impact test results and teaching to the questions?

The million dollar question is this, with all the money we spend on education here in the US, why are we under achieving?


Good questions, I have some theories.

You have talk about how high your opt out rate is in your community, while comparing the opt out rate in the inner city being low.

Parental involvement. Based on your description, it sounds like the parents in your community are very involved, and probably taking a very close look whether the test is actually beneficial to their children. As mentioned previously in this thread by rocco, you're also seeing this opt-out phenomena in the very affluent Long Island.

It's a matter of education, understanding, and involvement by the parents.

In high poverty areas, like inner city schools, we have a hard enough time having parent even knowing whether their kids are at school, let alone passing or failing. There is very minimal parental involvement, and therefore parents are not opting out because they don't even know that their kids are probably even taking a test.
This is a great point-  
Cam in MO : 4/14/2016 9:59 am : link
Quote:
My favorite part of this is how all the major decision makers send their kids to private schools. Schools were none of these policies take place. The president, the current and former Secretaries of Education and everyone else send their kids to private school, free from the mandates they claim are so good. Good for the peasants, not for their little saints.


This isn't really a new phenomena. The difference now is that unless you reside in certain districts (that are very few and far between), you're not going to get your child a good education without spending money (outside of homeschooling).

On the other end, one thing that folks need to keep in mind is that there is no right to "the best" education. Public education is mandated to educate your kids, not to give them the best education possible.

Anyway- with the money involved and the bloated administrations, it's hard to see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel for our public education system.


RE: This is a great point-  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 10:12 am : link
In comment 12901827 Cam in MO said:
Quote:


Quote:


My favorite part of this is how all the major decision makers send their kids to private schools. Schools were none of these policies take place. The president, the current and former Secretaries of Education and everyone else send their kids to private school, free from the mandates they claim are so good. Good for the peasants, not for their little saints.



This isn't really a new phenomena. The difference now is that unless you reside in certain districts (that are very few and far between), you're not going to get your child a good education without spending money (outside of homeschooling).

On the other end, one thing that folks need to keep in mind is that there is no right to "the best" education. Public education is mandated to educate your kids, not to give them the best education possible.

Anyway- with the money involved and the bloated administrations, it's hard to see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel for our public education system.



Cam, I agree, that's not a new phenomena... But what I have been surprised at lately, are the number of Principals, Assistant Principals, and even teachers that are doing everything they can to get their kids in private schools.

Among my peers, private schools have become a hot teaching commodity, because even though the pay and benefits aren't nearly as good as being a government employee, teachers are taking the jobs for the perks of getting their kids in at reduced rates to schools they otherwise couldn't afford, just to avoid the test, and the test "effect".

When the people you employ to teach your kids no longer believe in the effectiveness, that's a major, major problem. We're losing teachers at an alarming rate.
RE: Lousy situation  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 10:21 am : link
In comment 12901756 trueblueinpw said:
Quote:
Here in Port Washington we have terrific public schools. The parents and other members of the community fund the district and do everything possible to help the kids be successful in school. Most of the teachers are terrific, some are less so and some aren't all that wonderful. It's a great district and a vey strong community. Why we have 50 to 70 percent opting out is a bit of a mystery to me. Not sure these test really impact our community one way or another.

I wonder why the kids in the city, where the schools are really in trouble, have opt out rates that are so much lower?

My neighbors have their kids taking some of the tests but not others. What's the reasoning there I do not know.

What kind of message does it send to the kids to tell them to opt out of a test because they are challenging or difficult?

Should all test questions be made available to the public? How would that impact test results and teaching to the questions?

The million dollar question is this, with all the money we spend on education here in the US, why are we under achieving?


And just to follow up on my answer to you, rocco put it so well that I just had to post what he said again, in case you missed it. Sounds exactly like what's happening in your community. I urge everybody to read rocco's post yesterday at 3:17pm. It's unbelievable how accurate a summary it is. The excerpt:

Quote:
There is some hope, that is the civil disobedience taking place in Long Island. The Opt-Out Movement. The government erred when it went after the affluent districts. You can dictate to the poor, you can dictate to those new immigrants to the US. The affluent communities that pay so much in property taxes for their schools, who run the bake sales, who are in the PTA, those are their schools. They are fighting to take them back. I hope one million students Opt-Out, just to prove where the power over the school system should really be. In the communities that the schools serve.
and I missed where you said that you were actually in Long Island....  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 10:22 am : link
sorry.

So he is talking about you.
RE: RE: This is a great point-  
njm : 4/14/2016 10:24 am : link
In comment 12901874 Britt in VA said:
Quote:


Among my peers, private schools have become a hot teaching commodity, because even though the pay and benefits aren't nearly as good as being a government employee, teachers are taking the jobs for the perks of getting their kids in at reduced rates to schools they otherwise couldn't afford, just to avoid the test, and the test "effect".


Is it just "the test", or is that just one of a number of factors. Grappling with the non-test bureaucracy? Discipline and behavior in the classrooms?
RE: RE: RE: This is a great point-  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 10:33 am : link
In comment 12901911 njm said:
Quote:
In comment 12901874 Britt in VA said:


Quote:




Among my peers, private schools have become a hot teaching commodity, because even though the pay and benefits aren't nearly as good as being a government employee, teachers are taking the jobs for the perks of getting their kids in at reduced rates to schools they otherwise couldn't afford, just to avoid the test, and the test "effect".




Is it just "the test", or is that just one of a number of factors. Grappling with the non-test bureaucracy? Discipline and behavior in the classrooms?


It is the test, and the ways all of their hands are tied because of it. All that matters is the test, and the results. Teachers are losing their abilities to teach, and are handed such rigorous pacing guides in core subject that is nearly basically amounts to reading from a script, with very little room to tailor the lessons towards the needs of their students. They are essentially taking away the teacher's ability to teach, but then turning around and holding them accountable for the results, or blaming them for the results.

Discipline has always been an issue, but yes, the test exacerbates that because their hands are tied also in discipline, and one student can throw off an entire day/month/year and they don't have the ability to address it.

The test has a lot more effects than just rigors of administering/taking it. It changes the whole year.

People say you can't show the answers because teachers will "teach to the test". Guess what? That's what they're doing anyways, with things handed down from the School Board that tell you this is what you need to teach in order to achieve. Yeah, it's not the actual questions and answers, but it's dictated nonetheless.
Sorry for my typos.  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 10:34 am : link
.
I don't care about the test per se  
WideRight : 4/14/2016 11:18 am : link
My kids are taking it right now.

Its just another huge waste of valuable time by a system that already wastes way too much time.

It is the reason to go to private school.
RE: Sorry for my typos.  
Bill L : 4/14/2016 11:19 am : link
In comment 12901950 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
.
Obviously if you had had to pass the test, that would not be an issue.
Britt...  
trueblueinpw : 4/14/2016 11:53 am : link
Not sure I'm reading rocco's post correctly, but, very respectfully, I think its a bit of a stretch to characterize the opt-out "movement" here on LI is civil disobedience. In fact, there's a lot of people here in PW that feel like the whole opt-out exercise is basically a dilettanti's cause which hinders well meaning intentions for our woefully broken city schools.

The fact here in PW, and most LI public schools districts with ultra high opt-out rates, is that these test's won't impact us at all. Our schools are already great, our kids are well cared for, parents are hyper involved and our teachers and administrators are absolutely the best in the business. These test can come or go here in PW and not much will change here. Unfortunately, these test can come and go in the city school's as well and not much there will change.

I'm extremely sympathetic to both sides. There's clearly something wrong with public education in the US where we have very high costs and very low results. Something needs to be done. But I'm extremely dubious of the value of standardized testing in education policy and I am ultra concerned about federal standards being imposed on state and local school boards.

Its a genuinely interesting debate.
.  
rocco8112 : 4/14/2016 12:23 pm : link
**But I'm extremely dubious of the value of standardized testing in education policy and I am ultra concerned about federal standards being imposed on state and local school boards.**

Agreed.

This is the problem. Many will opt-out their kids for different reasons. But, this is the issue and the opt-out movement is push back against these policies.
IMO...  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 2:29 pm : link
part of the problem is people referring to the "Common Core" as a test or a curriculum.

It is neither. It is a set of standards that states have been free to adopt. As was correctly mentioned here - the "Race to the Top" program did require adoption, but I don't know of any states who actually adopted solely for that reason. The CCSS were in development with the backing of almost all the states before Pres. Obama gave his 2004 DNC speech that propelled him into the national spotlight.

Problems abound in education. Having a standardized set of educational goals isn't one of them.

Undesirable outcomes mentioned in this thread include:

1. Students stressing about the test - to the point of tears and break downs.

2. Teachers stressing about the test - to the point of failing to educate properly and "teaching to the test".

3. Teachers stressing about the standards, and some unwillingness to adopt them.

4. Parents stressing about the test, the curriculum, and the standards.

Regarding #1:

IMO (public alternative HS math teacher for 7 years now, retired in 2008 from career in banking, MBA), the blame for students stressing out falls somewhere between the teachers, parents and the administrators. There is absolutely no way young children develop test anxiety on their own. It's just another activity. Teachers, parents, and administrators contribute to this anxiety by emphasizing how important the tests are.

When I was a kid, I took a battery of very long IQ and psychological tests. I barely remember them. I certainly wasn't stressed about them. Due to the outcomes I was placed in an educational track that affected the rest of my life. They were certainly more important to me than PARCC or SBAC is to any individual student today.

Shame on the parents, teachers, and administrators who create a culture of anxiety around these tests. I believe this happens because teachers generally are not accustomed to failing. Derek Jeter is a certain HOFer who struck out 1,840 times in his career. A teacher who gets a negative review once in their career sues, providing as evidence all the previous positive reviews and test results, as though a great teacher cannot have had a bad year. What is wrong with getting a negative review once in a 20+ year career? Teachers and administrators need to understand that even master teachers have variability in their performance and outcomes and can study and learn from the bad, not freak out, over-react, and pass anxiety along to students.

Regarding #2: Shame on the teachers, administrators, lawmakers and parents who create a culture where teachers are more concerned about the test than they are about their students' learning.

Regarding #3: Shame on the teachers who refuse to adopt state-mandated standards. Shame on the administrators who fail to hold them accountable for this failure. I realize this is a small portion of teachers at this point, as over the past seven years I've seen the number reduced from a majority to a minority, but there are still teachers out there refusing to take seriously the new standards, instead pushing towards retirement.

Regarding #4: Shame on the parents who fail do the work to understand the problems in education, but take on the tremendous tasks of politically fighting the system and (IMO lazily) fall for simple, one-line slogans like abolish the Common Core. I've had many discussions with many parents who have no idea what the CCSS are, but are mad as hell about them.

I was invited to a town-hall meeting about a year or so ago which purported to be a discussion about the Common Core. When I got there I found it to be a (dis)information meeting held to gain support for their abolishment. The main organizer was an "at-home" educator who didn't know that the CCSS was not a curriculum or a test. She had prepared a slideshow of criticisms of the CCSS which was full of incorrect statements. Town hall participants were up in arms about what was happening to their students. The organizer had the backing of a political faction who did not allow for a fair discussion about the facts which several educators (myself included) were trying to share.

I will tell you that the same political players were the primary backers of the "No Child Left Behind" laws which created the testing and accountability culture most of the parents were upset about. Shame on the sheeple who listen blindly, adhering strictly to their political alliances, following the rants of political commentators, rather than intelligently studying the problem, and earnestly seeking the input of those who spend every professional minute of their lives working on it.

What we need in this country is a return to the slogan "think globally, act locally". Teachers and administrators need to be met and treated as partners at the local level. Parents need to be aware of global trends as they form their own opinions about what should be done, and should invest the time needed to discuss education issues with local education professionals.

Parents, teachers, and educators need to step into the line of fire and brave the negative outcomes without passing along their anxieties and concerns to their students.

Sorry for the rant - been mostly lurking for several months but as you can tell this topic hits close to home for me.
I just googled....  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 2:45 pm : link
"Teacher sues over negative review" and "Teacher sues over negative feedback" and not one single news story came up.

Do you have an example of teachers suing over a negative review to give an example of a being afraid of failure?

As far as teachers needing to step into the line of fire and suffer the negative consequences, wouldn't bashing the testing procedures in the Washington Post qualify as stepping out there?
Dan, it hits home for a lot of people, for various different reasons.  
PhiPsi125 : 4/14/2016 2:49 pm : link
But there are some things you mention that I take issue with:

Quote:
There is absolutely no way young children develop test anxiety on their own. It's just another activity. Teachers, parents, and administrators contribute to this anxiety by emphasizing how important the tests are.


Are you an authority on the psychology of children? Who are you to say that children don't develop test anxiety on their own? Different children have different developmental needs and traits. I have two sons. My older son certainly has anxiety to a certain degree and my younger one does not. Personally, we as parents have never placed an importance on these tests. The opposite actually.

Quote:
When I was a kid, I took a battery of very long IQ and psychological tests. I barely remember them. I certainly wasn't stressed about them.


Well, that's good for you...but what does that have to do with all these other children, in a different generation, with different experiences?

Quote:
Shame on the teachers, administrators, lawmakers and parents who create a culture where teachers are more concerned about the test than they are about their students' learning.


Wrong again. Are you telling me that you know that all of these people are concerned about the test more than they are about students learning? Huh, maybe some are but certainly not the majority, in my experience. The students can't escape the curriculum (as horrible as it is laid out for them) but the tests are useless and a step in the wrong direction.

In fact, your rant has a lot of shaming and a ton of conjecture...which makes it hard to take you seriously. You shame parents/teachers/administrators for not knowing enough details but you are fine to make assumptions to support your view with no basis in fact.

To me, you are no better than the people you are shaming.
And it's been repeatedly said in this thread....  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 2:50 pm : link
that people are okay with the concept of Common Core, and in my state "Standards of Learning", which both were actually started in Virginia in 1992. They were written and distributed as a "guide", but it wasn't until No Child Left Behind and the introduction of Standardized testing that it all blew up.

The Virginia Standards of Learning were used for 10 years with no problem. I know, because I was in college at VCU when they were written for my subject, by my professors.
RE: I just googled....  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 2:59 pm : link
In comment 12902639 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
"Teacher sues over negative review" and "Teacher sues over negative feedback" and not one single news story came up.

Do you have an example of teachers suing over a negative review to give an example of a being afraid of failure?


Here's a Wall Street Journal article detailing exactly this. Check out how it starts:

Quote:
Last fall, a Long Island teacher who said she always had received enthusiastic evaluations for her performance sued New York state because the portion of her 2013-14 review tied to state test results gave her just one of 20 possible points.

Sheri Lederman was shocked to be deemed “ineffective” in that category, after receiving 14 points the year before.

On Thursday, Dr. Lederman said that measure bounced up to 11 for this past school year, giving her an “effective” in that part of her rating.

To Dr. Lederman, who teaches fourth grade at Elizabeth Mellick Baker Elementary School in Great Neck, N.Y., the swings of the past two years are further proof that the state’s approach is flawed.

“It’s the variability and volatility of this model that makes it so arbitrary,” said Dr. Lederman, who started her 19th year as a teacher this week. “There’s no reason to suggest that my performance with my children has varied that much year to year.”

Quote:
As far as teachers needing to step into the line of fire and suffer the negative consequences, wouldn't bashing the testing procedures in the Washington Post qualify as stepping out there?


There are many examples of teachers who are willing to step into the line of fire, and I'm not suggesting no teachers do this. Bravo to those who take on the administrators. Yet the biggest key is how they act in their classroom. Shame on the ones who create a culture of stress and anxiety related to the SBAC or PARCC outcomes that leads to children breaking down emotionally. What good does it do to fight the administrators if you go back to your classroom and traumatize your students and their parents? Be brave enough to completely downplay the results. Honestly, neither the students nor the parents are being evaluated by these exams. There is no reason for either to be concerned about them one bit.
So is that an example of a teacher being scared to fail....  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 3:07 pm : link
or a teacher who feels she was unfairly graded by a non transparent system that couldn't explain a complete 180 on her performance review that is tied to her permanent record?

Also, that's one instance. How many teachers are there in the United States?
And not to mention, a 4th grade teacher who has her P.H.D.  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 3:08 pm : link
.
RE: Dan, it hits home for a lot of people, for various different reasons.  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 3:23 pm : link
In comment 12902645 PhiPsi125 said:
Quote:
But there are some things you mention that I take issue with:

Are you an authority on the psychology of children? Who are you to say that children don't develop test anxiety on their own? Different children have different developmental needs and traits. I have two sons. My older son certainly has anxiety to a certain degree and my younger one does not. Personally, we as parents have never placed an importance on these tests. The opposite actually.


Fair enough. Some (a few) students suffer from test anxiety that they may develop independently. Teachers have experience working with these students. They often experience this anxiety even when completing weekly spelling quizzes, etc. My point remains that the teacher's job is to help the student deal with this anxiety by creating a culture that does not emphasize testing as high-stakes, but as just another type of learning activity for the student. A good teacher may not be able to help 100% of students to do this, but they can come close.

Are you denying that teachers have contributed heavily to the anxiety students are feeling related to testing? IMO they are the number one cause of this anxiety. I can tell you my students don't seem anxious at all about the tests. Maybe I'm just lucky.

Quote:

Well, that's good for you...but what does that have to do with all these other children, in a different generation, with different experiences?


It's called an anecdote and its purpose is to illustrate that weeks of high-stakes testing can occur without inducing stress, depending on the climate of the testing situation. I don't remember a single kid being emotionally disturbed even though these tests were longer and more important to their futures than the current tests everyone finds so objectionable. This anecdote, along with my current experience as a teacher, supports my hypothesis that teachers and administrators, as much as anyone else, are responsible for the current anxiety students feel when testing.


Quote:

Wrong again. Are you telling me that you know that all of these people are concerned about the test more than they are about students learning? Huh, maybe some are but certainly not the majority, in my experience. The students can't escape the curriculum (as horrible as it is laid out for them) but the tests are useless and a step in the wrong direction.


I didn't say that all of these people are more concerned about the test. I know many who are not, including myself. My comment was a response to the second undesirable outcome that I mentioned in my post. If you've missed it, many parents and even politicians have complained describing scenarios where students spend months preparing for the test, leaving little time for quality instruction. The term used is "teaching to the test". It happens, and I was sending shame along for those who have created the culture where this outcome exists.


Quote:
In fact, your rant has a lot of shaming and a ton of conjecture...which makes it hard to take you seriously. You shame parents/teachers/administrators for not knowing enough details but you are fine to make assumptions to support your view with no basis in fact.

To me, you are no better than the people you are shaming.


That's fine. I can admit first that I've only stated things as I've seen them, from my perspective. I admit that my perspective may be skewed and may not be entirely fact-based. I may be completely wrong about it all.

And I'm not trying to win you or anyone over to my point of view, that somehow I'm better than those who I'm shaming. I don't consider myself "better" than them anyway.

I think what you've missed about my response is that it isn't directed at education in general, but at a narrow slice of the educational spectrum. That is, the slice that has resulted in; (1) students stressing about the test - to the point of tears and break downs, (2) teachers stressing about the test - to the point of failing to educate properly and "teaching to the test", (3) teachers stressing about the standards, and some unwillingness to adopt them, and (4) Parents stressing about the test, the curriculum, and the standards.
And I'm sorry...  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 3:23 pm : link
the notion that teachers need to put their necks on the line to fight this publicly is ridiculous. They have families to feed, too, and many already work two jobs as it is.

And we all know it's a losing battle. Only the parents and general public can fight this battle. Teachers are merely pawns.
And I'd wager that batter of long tests you were subjected to...  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 3:30 pm : link
was a one time thing, to change your educational track, right? Probably similar to an IQ, or Iowa test.

Well this is a multiple subject, multi year test that starts in the 3rd grade and continues every year until graduation. It's intense and rigorous in nature, and by your own admission, serves no purpose or has any affect on the students that take it, correct? But we're going to subject them to that sort of testing to make sure the teachers and schools are appropriately doing what they're supposed to? Seems like the students pay a heavy price to evaluate school performance.

We all stressed about the S.A.T.'s as high schoolers. This is the equivalent of taking 4 S.A.T.'s per year, every year, starting in the 3rd grade.
Sure, I've seen teachers contribute to the stress of the test  
PhiPsi125 : 4/14/2016 3:32 pm : link
I don't deny that. But there is a lot more importance placed on the test and curriculum associated with the test, so I expected that to some degree. And maybe this affects some children in a different way, some maybe not.

I understood your anecdote, I just don't think it's relevant. When I was a child, we had standard testing. However, it was never discussed and the testing was a great deal less strenuous than it is today. I get it...you are a good test taker. Not everybody is.

There's a lot wrong with this whole process and many of the reason's why are in this thread. Hard to change peoples mind and I try to not do that anyway. Good discussion though.
RE: So is that an example of a teacher being scared to fail....  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 3:33 pm : link
In comment 12902683 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
or a teacher who feels she was unfairly graded by a non transparent system that couldn't explain a complete 180 on her performance review that is tied to her permanent record?

Also, that's one instance. How many teachers are there in the United States?


This is a teacher who refuses to accept her evaluation and is taking to the courts for a resolution.

Have you read about her? She, and others who support her, specifically point to her track record of consistently producing students who have performed exceptionally well as evidence that she is a good teacher.

I think she is probably an amazing teacher. My guess is that if she analyzes her teaching practices she might find more ways to better prepare her students next year to improve. What I find illustrative here is the response to the negative outcome.

This is a single example, but there have been MANY educators and educational professionals who back her and are concerned about her situation.

What are we worried about? That a teacher who for 19 years has been exceptional might for a year or two get a "does not meet" evaluation? Why should this exceptional teacher have that much stress about it? Why can't she (and other education professionals) simply accept that this was not one of her best years, that her kids simply under-performed this time? Does her professional ego not allow for her to someday retire content with all of the rewards that a career in teaching brings because she got a bad review this one time?

How do we teach our students that it's okay to try and fail when exemplary teachers are unwilling to live with a system that might result in occasional years of failure?
Because she believes, as do a lot of teachers out there,  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 3:37 pm : link
that the evaluation was unfair, unable to be explained/reasoned, and possibly flawed, the same way they feel about the test.

Oftentimes, these initiatives are handed down incomplete, and the people who are doing the evaluating haven't been properly trained to evaluate.

There are a ton of reasons why a P.H.D. holding veteran teacher with an exceptional track record should be mad that she scored a performance score of 1/20 or whatever it was, and it was likely not well explained as to why it was scored that way.

Just like the tests, as mentioned in the Washington Post article in the OP.
And I can understand you stance, it makes perfect sense.  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 3:40 pm : link
You are a numbers guy. You were a banker. You are now a career switching math teacher.

You thrive on data. You fully buy into the data driven reality that is education now. Not everybody does.

But just like sports statistics, numbers can tell a lot of different stories.
RE: Sure, I've seen teachers contribute to the stress of the test  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 3:43 pm : link
In comment 12902735 PhiPsi125 said:
Quote:
I get it...you are a good test taker. Not everybody is.

This comment says you don't get it at all. My point isn't that I am a good test taker. My point was, in your own words
Quote:
teachers contribute to the stress of the test


If you agree that teachers are contributing to the stress of the test, do you think it's legitimate of them to do so? Should they pass their own anxieties along? It seems you think they should.
Quote:
...there is a lot more importance placed on the test and curriculum associated with the test, so I expected that to some degree.


If you think that it's okay that students have to come home crying and that teachers and administrators are in any way contributing to that outcome, we simply have to disagree.

I cast shame on these particular administrators and teachers, because in my mind, even if I'm facing termination of employment, even the loss of my teaching license, I don't think I should ever do anything that INCREASES testing anxiety. In fact, I should still do all in my power to reduce it.

Quote:
Good discussion though.


I agree with this!
Not for nothing,  
Bill L : 4/14/2016 3:44 pm : link
but I think that lawsuits are a poor indicator of just about anything. Anyone can sue about anything.
RE: And I'm sorry...  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 3:47 pm : link
In comment 12902725 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
the notion that teachers need to put their necks on the line to fight this publicly is ridiculous. They have families to feed, too, and many already work two jobs as it is.

And we all know it's a losing battle. Only the parents and general public can fight this battle. Teachers are merely pawns.


Not suggesting teacher should put their necks on the line and fight this publicly. I might have to go back to see where I did that, because I didn't mean to. If you can point out where I suggested such a thing, please help me out. I agree that it's not something that teachers can solve.

What they should be doing is simply work to create the best learning environment possible. It seems, given the anecdotes shared here and elsewhere, that is not always the case.
Second to last line in your first post  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 3:50 pm : link
Quote:
Parents, teachers, and educators need to step into the line of fire and brave the negative outcomes without passing along their anxieties and concerns to their students.
RE: And I'd wager that batter of long tests you were subjected to...  
njm : 4/14/2016 3:50 pm : link
In comment 12902730 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
We all stressed about the S.A.T.'s as high schoolers. This is the equivalent of taking 4 S.A.T.'s per year, every year, starting in the 3rd grade.


1. I was never coached in test taking.

2. When I took the SATs I'd look around the room and see some people were stressed. I'd say myself I have an advantage because I'm calm and they're not. It actually was a confidence builder.

3. I think the teacher CAN play a role in stress reduction for the students.
I can not wait  
rocco8112 : 4/14/2016 3:53 pm : link
for the Lederman decision. I hope she wins and it helps put and end to the farce that is Value Added Measures.

I totally reject the idea that a formula can measure how much a teacher helps a student learn. There are way too many factors for this to be possible to dictate with a number.

On top of it, in NYC, no one from the chancellor to the lunch ladies can explain how the ratings are even achieved. You receive a spreadsheet from city that makes no sense at all and no one ever bothers to explain it.

This is horrible because math has great power. The numbers in your bank account certainly have great meaning, and the physics behind say, flight, certainly matter. Besides being enshrined in the law, there are people out there who think these measurements actually have meaning. It is voodoo math. Bullshit math.

On top of some subjects have no legitimate measurement. You have gym teachers being rated on English tests. Art teachers rated on math. It makes no sense at all and no one can even explain it.

Now, I am certain this math is bullshit, but even if we accept it is possible to create such a math formula. I know for a fact that such advanced mathematical capabilities would never be in the possession of the State Government of NY. Albany at best is incompetent and at its worst is banana republic criminal.

This is why the Common Core exists. It is supposed to provide the standards that will allow for the creation of assessments that will be used for this voodoo math VAM.

I hope the Lederman case in addition to the Opt Out movement brings this whole thing crashing down.
RE: Not for nothing,  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 3:55 pm : link
In comment 12902767 Bill L said:
Quote:
but I think that lawsuits are a poor indicator of just about anything. Anyone can sue about anything.


No doubt. If you're interested you might want to read the reactions within the professional educator community on countless blogs and editorials to the lawsuit. They are insightful.

Britt's 3:37 is a classic example. Rather than accept an evaluation as valuable information that drives improvement, educators consider it a reflection of their worth as teachers. Of course they then defend this all the way. Notice what Britt has now mentioned twice? That she is a PhD? What difference does that make? How in any way is that reflective of the job she did with her class in 2014?

If having a PhD justifies overriding your class's disappointing performance one year, why wouldn't it justify overriding it every year?
rocco, exactly right:  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 3:57 pm : link
Quote:
On top of some subjects have no legitimate measurement. You have gym teachers being rated on English tests. Art teachers rated on math. It makes no sense at all and no one can even explain it.


We have to present our Art Standards via an English Standard exercise called "unpacking the standards", which is supposed to be the end all, be all way to use an individual standard across the county.

Unfortunately, many of the standards are so vague that they can be used 30 different ways. So I can conceivably use the standard one day, then turn around and use it in a way that goes COMPLETELY against the way I used it yesterday.

On top of that, my assistant principal who evaluates me is a former guidance counselor who knows nothing about Art or English. She just goes down the spreadsheet and tries to figure it out.

It is one size fits all education. And that does not work. Students are living breathing human beings, not statistical numbers in a database vacuum.
RE: Second to last line in your first post  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 3:57 pm : link
In comment 12902780 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
Parents, teachers, and educators need to step into the line of fire and brave the negative outcomes without passing along their anxieties and concerns to their students.


Interesting that you interpreted that as meaning they should do anything publicly. What I meant by this was that they should be willing to accept the outcomes of testing while [bold]NOT[/bold] making their anxieties public.
Dan, you are twisting around my words and taking snipets  
PhiPsi125 : 4/14/2016 3:58 pm : link
without context to support your view. I agreed that I've seen some teachers add to the anxiety of the students. But it's hardly the norm. And I'm sure that there were teachers who put stress on their students well before all of this testing.
RE: RE: Not for nothing,  
rocco8112 : 4/14/2016 3:59 pm : link
In comment 12902791 Dan in the Springs said:
Quote:
In comment 12902767 Bill L said:


Quote:


but I think that lawsuits are a poor indicator of just about anything. Anyone can sue about anything.



No doubt. If you're interested you might want to read the reactions within the professional educator community on countless blogs and editorials to the lawsuit. They are insightful.

Britt's 3:37 is a classic example. Rather than accept an evaluation as valuable information that drives improvement, educators consider it a reflection of their worth as teachers. Of course they then defend this all the way. Notice what Britt has now mentioned twice? That she is a PhD? What difference does that make? How in any way is that reflective of the job she did with her class in 2014?

If having a PhD justifies overriding your class's disappointing performance one year, why wouldn't it justify overriding it every year?


The day someone in simple terms, terms that are practical and can be used in a meaningful way, can explain how the VAM is created and how it can make someone perform better as a teacher is the day I will think they carry any real meaning.

I assure you, in NYC, the largest school district in the US, this does not happen.
RE: rocco, exactly right:  
rocco8112 : 4/14/2016 4:01 pm : link
In comment 12902798 Britt in VA said:
Quote:


Quote:


On top of some subjects have no legitimate measurement. You have gym teachers being rated on English tests. Art teachers rated on math. It makes no sense at all and no one can even explain it.



We have to present our Art Standards via an English Standard exercise called "unpacking the standards", which is supposed to be the end all, be all way to use an individual standard across the county.

Unfortunately, many of the standards are so vague that they can be used 30 different ways. So I can conceivably use the standard one day, then turn around and use it in a way that goes COMPLETELY against the way I used it yesterday.

On top of that, my assistant principal who evaluates me is a former guidance counselor who knows nothing about Art or English. She just goes down the spreadsheet and tries to figure it out.

It is one size fits all education. And that does not work. Students are living breathing human beings, not statistical numbers in a database vacuum.


yup

Why is it so hard to think that something can not be given a mathematical measurement? Can we measure love with a score? Pride? The value of art? Can you put a number on how much you love the Giants? Did your value of watching the Giants drop this year (well maybe it did with that crazy season)? Some things can not be measured with a number.
And since we're giving personal anecdotes, here's one on Teacher...  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 4:08 pm : link
Evaluation here in Virginia.

We have a similar evaluation to Value Added Measures. A rubric sort of deal to evaluate teacher performance.

There are four categories your score can fall into:

Exceptional
Meets Standards
Below Standard
Inadequate

They put this in four years ago. When they introduced it to us, they told us none of us could meet the exceptional standard. When pressed on why, it came out fairly bluntly that "we haven't gotten that far in writing it yet". So teachers were like, you're telling me that if I jump through every hoop, cross every T, and dot every i that I can't be labeled as Exceptional? And they said no.

That is a perfect example of what is happening. They are evaluating us as guinea pigs for an incomplete, untested, flawed measurement, and putting it into our permanent records.

You're g-damned right people are pissed.
RE: RE: RE: Not for nothing,  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 4:09 pm : link
In comment 12902804 rocco8112 said:
Quote:
In comment 12902791 Dan in the Springs said:


Quote:


In comment 12902767 Bill L said:


Quote:


but I think that lawsuits are a poor indicator of just about anything. Anyone can sue about anything.



No doubt. If you're interested you might want to read the reactions within the professional educator community on countless blogs and editorials to the lawsuit. They are insightful.

Britt's 3:37 is a classic example. Rather than accept an evaluation as valuable information that drives improvement, educators consider it a reflection of their worth as teachers. Of course they then defend this all the way. Notice what Britt has now mentioned twice? That she is a PhD? What difference does that make? How in any way is that reflective of the job she did with her class in 2014?

If having a PhD justifies overriding your class's disappointing performance one year, why wouldn't it justify overriding it every year?



The day someone in simple terms, terms that are practical and can be used in a meaningful way, can explain how the VAM is created and how it can make someone perform better as a teacher is the day I will think they carry any real meaning.

I assure you, in NYC, the largest school district in the US, this does not happen.


I'm not in any way defending the VAM. I have personal experience with the incompetence at the highest levels of state educational authority. My school was rated "four star" after the first year of evaluations. One of the major reasons given was the improvements our math students showed. We were only one point away from the "five star" rating. The next closest alternative school in the state was rated "two star".

The next year we received a "two star" rating, in spite of improvements in every measured objective. When I asked for an explanation no one could provide one. I pressed all the way to the state superintendent and was told they would look into it. This was after I worked my way up the chain of command and found out that nobody had a working or clear idea anymore of how the ratings were calculated.

Two years on from this they have removed our ability to calculate our own scores. I am not able to see how our school did on the SBAC anymore. After waiting 7 months for the scores to be published (which is too late for an effective post-mortem), our scores are all blanked out, apparently because the sample size was too small.

In the meantime, a state DOE employee confidentially let me know that our scores had to be changed, because we were an outlier and the other alternative schools were challenging the rating system, saying it was unfair to alternative schools. Anyone getting a 4 or 5 would harm that argument.

I understand the frustration about the ridiculousness of the exercise. What I don't sanction is allowing any of that to filter through to my students.
RE: Dan, you are twisting around my words and taking snipets  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 4:11 pm : link
In comment 12902800 PhiPsi125 said:
Quote:
without context to support your view. I agreed that I've seen some teachers add to the anxiety of the students. But it's hardly the norm. And I'm sure that there were teachers who put stress on their students well before all of this testing.


You've done the same. I have not said that it was the norm.

I have no idea what the norm is. And I agree that there have been teachers who always stressed their students.

Shame on them too.

Are you sure you understand my point? It seems to me that you and I have more in common than you think.
RE: And since we're giving personal anecdotes, here's one on Teacher...  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 4:18 pm : link
In comment 12902825 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
Evaluation here in Virginia.

We have a similar evaluation to Value Added Measures. A rubric sort of deal to evaluate teacher performance.

There are four categories your score can fall into:

Exceptional
Meets Standards
Below Standard
Inadequate

They put this in four years ago. When they introduced it to us, they told us none of us could meet the exceptional standard. When pressed on why, it came out fairly bluntly that "we haven't gotten that far in writing it yet". So teachers were like, you're telling me that if I jump through every hoop, cross every T, and dot every i that I can't be labeled as Exceptional? And they said no.

That is a perfect example of what is happening. They are evaluating us as guinea pigs for an incomplete, untested, flawed measurement, and putting it into our permanent records.

You're g-damned right people are pissed.


Britt - we have the same thing here and I was told the same thing. "You cannot be rated Exceptional".

My reaction to all of this is to discount the rating. If it is something they are making up, then why validate it by giving a crap? I'm just going to try to improve my practice every year, try to get better so that I can help my students more.

It has been a lot of work getting credentialed to move over into education, at a lot of personal up-front expense while foregoing a much larger financial return. By the time I retire I will have lost a small fortune by choosing to get into education. I knew this going in, and chose to be a teacher anyway because I love teaching. I'm not going to let some incompetent administration/management practices get in the way of my personal daily satisfaction at the decisions I make. Even when I find them personally frustrating.
I agree  
rocco8112 : 4/14/2016 4:18 pm : link
it is the teacher's job to create the best positive learning environment for their students. Actually, a large part of the job of all good educators today is to insulate the students as much as possible from the politics of education.

The story you describe with your school is horrifying and a clear example of the idiocy of the politics of the education system as exist today.

That is why I want Lederman to win. That is why I wish the Opt-Out movement would grow to unfathomable numbers. Those with the power to change things are not going to do anything. It is time for other means to fight back. There is hope. I really do hope Lederman wins. In addition, the new NYS Regents Chancellor is against the endless testing and she has stated she would opt-out her own kids. This is good news here in NYS.
RE: I agree  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 4:27 pm : link
In comment 12902850 rocco8112 said:
Quote:
The story you describe with your school is horrifying and a clear example of the idiocy of the politics of the education system as exist today.


I believe strongly that education policy is best formed by a partnership between teacher, school, and parent. This should be the highest authority.

The role of the federal government should be to do what cannot be done at lower levels. Primarily, they should oversee the analysis of teaching practices and research and communicate it to those who hold authority to make changes.
RE: RE: And since we're giving personal anecdotes, here's one on Teacher...  
Britt in VA : 4/14/2016 6:13 pm : link
In comment 12902847 Dan in the Springs said:
Quote:
In comment 12902825 Britt in VA said:


Quote:


Evaluation here in Virginia.

We have a similar evaluation to Value Added Measures. A rubric sort of deal to evaluate teacher performance.

There are four categories your score can fall into:

Exceptional
Meets Standards
Below Standard
Inadequate

They put this in four years ago. When they introduced it to us, they told us none of us could meet the exceptional standard. When pressed on why, it came out fairly bluntly that "we haven't gotten that far in writing it yet". So teachers were like, you're telling me that if I jump through every hoop, cross every T, and dot every i that I can't be labeled as Exceptional? And they said no.

That is a perfect example of what is happening. They are evaluating us as guinea pigs for an incomplete, untested, flawed measurement, and putting it into our permanent records.

You're g-damned right people are pissed.



Britt - we have the same thing here and I was told the same thing. "You cannot be rated Exceptional".

My reaction to all of this is to discount the rating. If it is something they are making up, then why validate it by giving a crap? I'm just going to try to improve my practice every year, try to get better so that I can help my students more.

It has been a lot of work getting credentialed to move over into education, at a lot of personal up-front expense while foregoing a much larger financial return. By the time I retire I will have lost a small fortune by choosing to get into education. I knew this going in, and chose to be a teacher anyway because I love teaching. I'm not going to let some incompetent administration/management practices get in the way of my personal daily satisfaction at the decisions I make. Even when I find them personally frustrating.


What do you think we're all doing? Of course we sat there and took it for what it was. Those that didn't either quit or resigned (ahem, were fired or had their lives made miserable by the powers that be until they quit). Just like you're doing. Doesn't make it right, and doesn't mean we can't point out how flawed it is.

We're all sacrificing for a love of teaching. There is not any logical financial reason to get into this profession unless you love it.

And those of us pointing out all of the flaws are doing it out of principle, out of the love for education and keeping those best interests at heart.
Britt...  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 7:01 pm : link
my criticisms are reserved for those teachers who are so concerned about their evaluations that they either (1) sacrifice valuable teaching time and/or modify their curriculum to teach to the test, or (2) through their behaviors create an environment in the classroom that increases the stress students feel this time of year.

It's my contention that the stress students feel can be minimized if teachers do it right. There's nothing wrong with being upset or pointing out how stupid/flawed education evaluation systems are in practice. The complaints made on this thread by parents suggest that teachers are allowing this to effect their students and/or their teaching. That's where I have a problem.
Dan  
Matt M. : 4/14/2016 9:06 pm : link
Well, in NYS, for at least the next few years, the tests are not tied to teacher evaluations at all.
Also, quoting the PS 321 Principal isn't really saying much  
Matt M. : 4/14/2016 9:08 pm : link
She has an agenda; she's not anti the current tests, she's basically anti testing. She has been pushing her parent population to have their kids refuse to test for years.
RE: And it's been repeatedly said in this thread....  
Matt M. : 4/14/2016 9:19 pm : link
In comment 12902646 Britt in VA said:
Quote:
that people are okay with the concept of Common Core, and in my state "Standards of Learning", which both were actually started in Virginia in 1992. They were written and distributed as a "guide", but it wasn't until No Child Left Behind and the introduction of Standardized testing that it all blew up.

The Virginia Standards of Learning were used for 10 years with no problem. I know, because I was in college at VCU when they were written for my subject, by my professors.
The introduction of standardized testing? Standardized testing has been a way of life in NYC and NYS for at least 50 years.
RE: Dan  
Dan in the Springs : 4/14/2016 10:01 pm : link
In comment 12903339 Matt M. said:
Quote:
Well, in NYS, for at least the next few years, the tests are not tied to teacher evaluations at all.


Britt was right in his observation that as a former banker and numbers guy, I like data. I also believe that performance management principles can and should be used effectively in the classroom by teachers. What I don't like is the interpretation of data in a vacuum, out of context.

In my view and experience teachers are best evaluated qualitatively. Standardized teacher evaluations like the Charlotte Danielson model are fine, in that they provide a framework for analyzing a teacher's performance. I value feedback of all types (administrator, self, peer, student, and parent feedback) and consider this data critical in assessing my performance, informing the adjustments I need to make to my teaching.

Standardized test scores are interesting to look at, although the best analysis of these outcomes can only come from the teachers themselves.

I have never concerned myself with the impact the tests have on my evaluations, probably because I'm okay with receiving evaluations that tell me I need to improve. I agree with that evaluation. I'm not getting the performance I want out of my students yet, so I need to improve.

When I hear stories from parents and teachers about students, schools, and classrooms that are so driven by fear of bad test scores I get really upset. Teachers and Administrators need to model a healthy attitude about data from standardized tests. I am concerned too many fail to do so.

I didn't know about NYS. That's interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Dan, you and I are probably a good example of people on two different  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 9:36 am : link
sides of the education spectrum. You're a Math guy, and I'm an Art guy. The whole right side vs. left side of the brain thing.

But let's talk about this from my perspective for a minute, with another personal anecdote from my side:

Quote:
What I don't like is the interpretation of data in a vacuum, out of context.


This is exactly how I'm being evaluated by my School Board. In an elective, because we're not under the umbrella of the standardized testing, I'm required to design and implement two student growth measures per year, which include a pre and post assessment and all data in between. Student Growth Measure #1 is a Visual Component, and Student Growth Measure #2 is a written component. I'm given several choices for each that are standard across the County. I choose portrait as my visual, and critique as my written. I design a rubric to grade them.

For the visual component, I'm required to ask them to do a portrait with no instruction or assistance. I'm then to teach them how to draw a portrait, which with my class is a three week, intensive process that involves detailed studies of the eye, nose, mouth, etc... and the forms that help visually create an illusion of depth, blah, blah, blah... I won't bore you with the details, but it is intensive. Anyways, the school board requests that I photograph the process for every student, which amounts to hundreds of photographs of student progress along the way, creating a visual portfolio for each student for my records, finally culminating in a finished self portrait (at the lowest Art I level, and more complicated portraits at the upper levels).

I teach portrait drawing at all levels, so actually teaching this stuff is no departure or change whatsoever, nor has it changed the way I teach the lesson. BUT... the documentation is hours upon hours of extra work.

Anyways, once I complete the three week lesson/unit, and score everything, it's ready to be submitted to the school board, and I must show that I have 100% "growth" in every single student on my roster. I have two scores, a rubric graded pre-assessment score, and the same rubric post-assessment score.

Here's the kicker. I only turn in those two scores to the School Board. None of the visual portfolios, none of the actual work, just two columns of numbers. Pre and post rubric score. It may look like this:

Student 1: 13/16, 15/16
Student 2: 6/16, 11/16
Student 3: 0/16, 2/16

That's it. Hours upon hours of required documentation, and in the end, that's all they want. Arbitrary numbers that I can manipulate via a rubric I created to tell any story I want it to. Zero context, whatsoever.

So when I read about standardized tests where all the students get a score, with no idea what they got right or wrong, just another number for somebody sitting in a room somewhere crunching these numbers with no context of anything other than the score, it really pisses me off and makes me question the whole system.

I know that's not the case in the core subjects, that there is a little more context to it... But still, to me, it illustrates a VERY flawed system whether it be in the Test, the Teacher Evaluation, whatever... To me, it signals something that is very off with this evaluation system, from top to bottom.
And to tell the truth....  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 9:44 am : link
To me, this is all necessary because some high up, somewhere, is justifying his salary/job by designing these things, and having the minion teachers carry them out.

Basically throwing sh-t against the wall to see what sticks.

Standardized testing, as it exists now, is going the way of the dodo. The President said as much last Spring. What annoys me is that it's going to take years and move at a snails pace, because that's how political legislation works. It was a failure, they know it was a failure, and yet somebody somewhere is clinging to it because without it, they're out of a job. Whether it be in politics (Dept. of Education), Pearson, whatever. Somebody is losing money, and that's the only thing keeping these things around right now.

And the kids are the losers in all of this.

I have class after class, year after year, of high school students that don't know what an inch is on a ruler. Some struggle to read an analog clock. Why? Because it's not on the test. These are the things that are getting sacrificed at the elementary school level in order to cram for the test.
All anecdotal, of course. But I bet others across the country...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 9:45 am : link
are experiencing the same.
Yeah...  
Dan in the Springs : 4/15/2016 9:47 am : link
that's part of dealing with the bureaucracy. If you have good administrators that can sometimes help.

In my case I am still relatively new to my craft and enjoy taking an analytic approach to improving, so I would probably be collecting as much of that data as possible anyway.

Have a great day!
And you know...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 9:56 am : link
The phrase "waste of time" has been mentioned several times in this thread....

I waste countless hours a year doing this stuff. Hours that used to be filled with actually helping my students improve either via me having more one on one time with them, or me working on my professional growth to offer them a better product.

One thing we appear to agree on for sure, we love to teach. Just cut the bullsh-t out and let us get back to that.

I hope you have a great day as well.
Dan  
Matt M. : 4/15/2016 11:48 am : link
This statement by you is one of the best:
Quote:
Standardized test scores are interesting to look at, although the best analysis of these outcomes can only come from the teachers themselves.

Standardized test were, at one time, supposed to be used primarily to guide instruction. There were some comparative measures to be used at a high level based on the data (i.e. comparing districts, municipalities, etc.). But, it was all supposed to guide instruction. The intent was never to evaluate teachers, principals, etc. nor to use the results as a primary factor in promotions, admissions, etc.

Over the last couple of decades, they morphed into these measures and now are starting to morph back over the last 2-3 years.
And thanks to everybody else for the great, civil discussion...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 11:49 am : link
and allowing me to vent.

As mentioned, most of the time we just have to eat sh-t, so it's nice to have an arena to just sound off and get real world responses.
Dan  
Matt M. : 4/15/2016 11:51 am : link
Also, the decision this year to remove the link to teacher evaluations was in direct response to the growing opt out movement which gained a lot of steam in NYS last year when more weight was placed on the exams for teacher evaluations. Teachers, both as individuals and the unions, were openly vocal and leading protests.

However, this is not necessarily a permanent decision. It was extended for another 2-3 years, to be revisited. I think it was intentionally ambiguous to leave wiggle room to add back evaluations if they deem changes to the exam format acceptable. Acceptable to whom? I don't know.
This is a great discussion.  
Cam in MO : 4/15/2016 1:06 pm : link
I'd like to point out though that not being able to score the highest possible score on an evaluation is not unique to just about any career. In fact, in my experience it is pretty common.

Part of it is related to the flawed concept of, "You have to allow room for improvement in every category."

In my 20+ years I've never received, nor have I every been allowed to give out a perfect score on any individual category on an evaluation.

The real effect of course is that it just changes the scale instead of impacting whether or not there is room for improvement. Our amps only go up to 9, effectively.



I don't take issue so much with not being able to be scored  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 1:28 pm : link
exceptional, as much as I take issue with the reason being that the evaluation process itself was being implemented as both incomplete and vague.
And that the people doing the evaluating...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 1:31 pm : link
are untrained in how to use the process, as well. Not to mention, not qualified in many instances ie: a former English who is now an administrator evaluating a Math teacher.
Which, if you read the details of the lawsuit Dan referenced...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 1:52 pm : link
that's at the heart of it all.

A veteran teacher, who had an exemplary track record, was all the sudden scored as inadequate at the lowest level by a system that was not complete, transparent, nor clear. And nobody could explain why she was scored that way. So she sued them.
Been great  
ctc in ftmyers : 4/15/2016 2:07 pm : link
following the thread. Thanks to all for the good discussion.

Have to agree with Cam. Not unique to the education sector.

What is unique is the national aspect of it and the consequences of poor evaluations to schools, students, teachers, administration, and states on so many different levels.

A nightmare.
Also, here's an update on the Lederman case that Dan posted about:  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 2:17 pm : link
Quote:
Teacher won't settle evaluation lawsuit
Educator wants state to drop rating, admit that model is arbitrary

By Bethany Bump Published 11:07 pm, Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Long Island teacher has vowed to continue fighting New York's teacher evaluation system in court, despite a recent offer from the state to settle, her attorney said.

Sheri Lederman decided to sue the state in September 2014 after it gave her an "ineffective" rating on the student growth component of her annual evaluation, even though her students' test scores met or exceeded those of other students statewide by more than two times.

The growth model the state used to calculate her score has been panned by independent educational associations and university professors, who warn it should not be used to make high-stakes decisions, like hiring or firing.

In December, facing a mounting test-refusal movement, the Board of Regents followed the recommendation of a task force appointed to review the state's Common Core program and approved a four-year moratorium on the use of the model.

"The position of the Education Department was that some or all of the case had become moot," Lederman's attorney and husband, Bruce Lederman, told The Capitol Pressroom's Susan Arbetter this week. "We disagreed."

Last week, attorneys for the state offered to "find some accommodation" on Lederman's rating if she would drop the case — an offer she "found unacceptable for a variety of reasons," Bruce Lederman told Arbetter.

The Ledermans want the state to invalidate her rating, but they also want the state to admit that the growth model it used was arbitrary and capricious, he said. In addition, they're calling for the growth model to be adjusted so it can rationally evaluate teacher performance. If that's not possible, they want it done away with entirely and permanently — not just for four years.

State Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough has asked for each side to file a legal brief on the issue of mootness by Feb. 29 before he decides. If he decides the case is moot, Lederman said they plan to appeal.

The state Education Department declined to comment.


She is destroying them.

Link - ( New Window )
And the NYSED still can't come up with the data to support...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2016 2:20 pm : link
the evaluation.
My son is in 3rd grade currently  
GeneInCal : 4/15/2016 2:45 pm : link
and I'm convinced that his teacher is struggling with common core as much as the kids are. Homework is absurd.

I don't blame the teacher at all. She's been a 3rd grade teacher for 20 years and now she has to completely change everything about her approach to teaching.

She was teacher of the year twice, in a very large district here in So Cal. Very well respected but I think she's completely frustrated with he whole process, which is not good.

Common core is a bureaucratic cluster-f
RE: My son is in 3rd grade currently  
Dan in the Springs : 4/16/2016 2:33 am : link
In comment 12904652 GeneInCal said:
Quote:
and I'm convinced that his teacher is struggling with common core as much as the kids are.


I understand she's a former teacher of the year, but struggling with the 3rd grade math standards, Common Core or not, is a problem at this point. She's had years of time to prepare and learn about them. If she's still truly struggling with them perhaps she's practicing math avoidance - common among those with math anxiety.

Before you discount this possibility, you should check out the research on it. Some very interesting conclusions have been found recently. Check out this blog - it has a nice summary of the findings and links to the actual research papers as well.

From the blog:
Quote:
Who do you think would have the highest math anxiety? Yep, elementary education majors.
not sure about the tests specifically however,  
idiotsavant : 4/16/2016 9:02 am : link
(two kids in public schools, on is in the tests now, my take this year was just to say that 'I trust you don't sweat it' ) I will say this:

We got lucky, in the sense that we now have two really, really great Principles (different schools leadership people). Really smart ones.

So, in circumstances like that, you really wish that they had less constraints, less mandates, and that it would be more of a benevolent dictatorship, which is a great model for excellence in creative endeavors like bringing out excellence in all. the. kids.

Put me broadly aligned with a group that says:

'that too many mandated activities, far, far too large classes, possibly not enough power vested in principles to changes things and teachers'.....'all factors that have conspired to make in hard to deploy those true, time tested, obvious, and common sense teaching practice methods.'

Such as one-on-one discussions, lessons and examples.

There are just far too many kids per class for that, far to little time actually in each class.

As a result, worksheets rule the day, little, easy, however very many and myriad tasks, as opposed to long stretches on one thing and deep learning, revising and thinking tasks.

.  
Britt in VA : 4/17/2016 7:05 pm : link
Quote:
These evaluations systems were pushed by the Obama administration through its multibillion-dollar Race to the Top initiative and waivers it gave to states from the most onerous parts of the flawed No Child Left Behind, the K-12 education law that was finally replaced by Congress in December, eight years late. Assessment experts, such as the American Statistical Association, the largest organization in the United States representing statisticians and related professionals, warned against using what is known as “value added measurement” — a method of using test scores to evaluate teachers — for high-stakes decisions such as salary and job retention, but policymakers ignored them for years.


Quote:
With the emergence of an opt-out movement among educators and parents against high-stakes testing and test-based evaluation, some states are backing away from these assessment systems. But damage has been done, and there have been consequences for students and educators alike.

The results of the Network for Public Education’s survey are not statistically representative of the nation, but they do echo those found by a number of other national polls showing that teachers believe that their profession has been targeted by school reformers and that they are under unprecedented stress. Cody said the outreach to teachers was not random but that he and the team were looking for something that was “qualitative and descriptive.” Thousands of comments were added to the survey questions from the 2,964 teachers who responded.


Washington Post 4/17 - ( New Window )
And here's the full report:  
Britt in VA : 4/17/2016 7:05 pm : link
.
Link - ( New Window )
Not exactly on topic ...  
sphinx : 4/18/2016 7:58 am : link
Quote:
Florida teachers who benefited from the state's controversial "best and brightest" bonus plan are more than twice as likely to work with students from more affluent families than with youngsters living in poverty, an Orlando Sentinel analysis has found.

The bonuses have highlighted a long-standing problem: That Florida's best teachers are often not in the classrooms that most need them. The bonuses also have failed to help with what state educators say is a long-standing goal of equally distributing "excellent educators."

[...]

The Sentinel's findings dovetail with a study the Florida Department of Education did last year and with national research, all of which shows youngsters in high-poverty schools are less likely to be taught by talented teachers than those on campuses serving more well-off families.

Orlando Sentinel ... - ( New Window )
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