--> Getting It Right: Standardized tests? Bad idea, says BCTF

Friday, April 21, 2006

Standardized tests? Bad idea, says BCTF

On CKNW this morning:

Parents are being urged by the B.C. Teachers' Federation to pull their children from provincial tests intended to give a snapshot of performance in the three R's.
A pamphlet sent to parents says some students suffer from test anxiety and can lose their motivation to learn if they don't do well.

The tests have no bearing on grades, but teachers say they feel pressured to teach to the test while ignoring parts of the curriculum.

The B.C. Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association says the tests are relatively short assessments that are intended to gauge whether students are mastering basic skills.


Yes, you read that right. The BCTF doesn't want to measure how students are achieving on basic skills because it might hurt their feelings. How about failing and dropping out of school - do you think that might hurt more?

Not sure how this helps the BCTF's demand for a 24% wage hike, but I'm sure it fits in somewhere.

13 Comments:

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Sean P., Vancouver-Quadra said...

Personally, I love teachers, I totally respect teachers, and a friend of mine is a high school phys-ed teacher....

...But, according to Minister Bond, the teachers helped to implement these exams, didn't they?

Doesn't the Ministry of Education, together with the elected school boards and the parent advisory councils run the education system?

 
At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posted by Bernie

Relevant website

www.takingchildrenseriously.com

See articles:
"Unschooling and Academic Euucation" parts one two and three.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger Erin Airton said...

Yes, but Sean P - Jinny Sims wants to be the sole arbitrator on what is allowable in the system.

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger Brandon said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the last round of these tests show BC students performing better than ever?

It's as if they're resisting these tests because they undercut their argument for more money.

 
At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest threat to our public school system is not testing it is the agenda of the BCTF. Basically they would like to hide test results that might identify inept teachers. After all, every teacher is equal accoridng to the BCTF. Too bad if you happen to be a great one, however great deal if you are lousy one.

 
At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

A test is not the best or fairest way to measure the compentence of a teacher. Firstly not all that is taught is testable and secondly the clientele of the teacher will makes a huge difference in the results of the test. It is too easy to draw incorrect conclusions on the ability of a teacher when looking test results.

 
At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

(p.s. Erin: your link to David Schreck's Strategic Thoughts website should be .com not .ca)

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger Walter Schultz said...

Our childrens education involves many stakeholders, Parents, Principals, Teachers, Relatives, School Trustees, and even the Government which we elect to oversee the entire Education system. It is truly disappointing to see the BCTF play politics with our childrens education, to advance their olitical agenda. Long live blogs.

 
At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

(as posted elsewhere)

If you go to Google Scholar (the search engine for scholary work, i.e. journals, academic books, theses, etc.) and search for standardized testing, the results you get are:

1. "Contradictions of School Reform: Educational Costs of Standardized Testing"

2. "Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools"

3. (irrelevant article about cultural biases in IQ tests)

4. "Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do To Change It."

5. "Beyond Standardized Testing: Assessing Authentic Academic Achievement in the Secondary School."

6. "Raising Standardized Achievement Test Scores and the Origins of Test Score Pollution"

etc., etc.

Do you see it as a possibility that there are genuine educational-based concerns with the notion of standardized testing? Is it possible that the BC Liberals (a political party) are implementing them for political rather than educational purposes?

The idea of standardized testing is controversial, but from my brief survey the experts seem to believe that it is generally a bad idea. Like global warming I'm sure you can find experts who disagree, but it appears that they are a small and shrinking minority.

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FSA tests are not high-stakes tests with punitive results for student "failures".

FSAs test the system, not the child. They are about building trust - trust in the public education system.

FSA testing gives two fundamental assurances to parents:
- that the school has been able to be effective in giving every child the necessary skills to function as a successful adult; and
- that there is consistency in quality between schools (if I move to a different area, will my child still receive the same level and quality of basic education).

They are called "Foundation Skills" assessments for a reason. And if they show that my child has learned her timestables and can put coherent thoughts into coherent grammatical sentences by the end of elementary school, then I certainly hope they reflect that the school has been "teaching to the test".

 
At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

Those article's aren't solely about FSAs. But then again who really cares what the experts who have researched these topics and written books and published peer-reviewed journal articles? Anonymous right here has concluded the opposite, based on...? Pfff.

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For more details, and a humourous view, visit http://bcpolyblog.blogspot.com.

 
At 2:25 AM, Blogger stephen buckley said...

anonymous said,

"They are called "Foundation Skills" assessments for a reason. And if they show that my child has learned her timestables and can put coherent thoughts into coherent grammatical sentences by the end of elementary school, then I certainly hope they reflect that the school has been "teaching to the test"."

after spending 12 years teaching the far-from-objective art and style-based english language in public high schools, i think i can safely say that standardized tests cannot meaningfully test students' ability to work with grammar. the english language is a perverse beast full of exceptions and sylistic subjectivities. standardized testing in english is at best silly.

even if we were crazy enough to want to teach to the english fsa, we couldn't. there isn't enough objectivity in english grammar to succeed in teaching it in a standardized way.

 

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