Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Compassionate Teacher's Note to Students

A teacher in Indiana wrote this note to his students as they started testing.

On behalf of critically thinking educators everywhere, I would like to apologize to you for having to participate in this absurd ritual.

And I would like to remind you that whatever score the ACT labels you with, consciousness is not quantified and this test does not determine your intelligence, capacity for critical thought, compassion or your worth as a human being.

Thank you, (the aptly named) Mr. Robinson.


Anonymous said...

Are we anti-ACT now? If so - why? Are his students required to take the ACT? It's generally voluntary.

I saw a comment on one of the pro-More For Mann websites that the MAP and AP exams play a role in class and race stratification.

That comment and this teacher's criticism of the ACT make no sense to me.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Why do people perceive that if we put up threads, it means we against/for something?

I'm for the ACT but I think this was an act of compassion on the part of a teacher who recognizes the level of stress these students are probably going thru because of the number of tests they are taking in a year.

Anonymous said...

Compassionate, maybe. Irresponsible, definitely. The message delivered by Mr. Robinson in his note the day of testing could have been delivered throughout the school year and not on the day of testing. He pretty much ensured that his students underperformed that day. Let's hope there were no stakes attached to the ACT that day.

--- what are people thinking?

Anonymous said...

It was probably actually the ACT version of the PSAT although, some school districts are using ACT and SAT scores instead of HSPE or EOCs.


Anonymous said...

HP, no district is using ACT or SAT scores instead of the HSPE or EOCs. While ACT or SAT scores may be used by students as alternative assessments for graduation purposes, students have to take the HSPE and the EOCs before they can use alternative assessments.

Also, a high school's accountability is based on the HSPE and EOCs, not alternative assessments. Therefore, all students (except students with significant cognitive disabilities) are taking the HSPE and EOCs.

--- swk

dw said...

I agree with "what are people thinking". His message could have been delivered in a positive way throughout the year (though frankly, if he wrote this on the day of testing, I'd guess he belittled testing in general throughout the year as well).

This teacher may have felt like he was helping his students, but he likely hurt them instead. Most kids who are actually taking the ACT have vested interest in doing well on it, with real world consequences, like where you will be accepted for college.

Regardless of how you feel about this kind of testing, you need to be supportive of your kids and help them to do their best, not blow it off, because that's the system right now. Use your efforts outside the classroom to work to change the system if you like, but don't harm children who might otherwise have the ability and/or drive to get into a competitive college or university.

Besides that, his message is only half right. He's right that tests like the ACT do not measure compassion or worth as a human being. That's a good point, and important to remember in life. But well-designed tests, whether high stakes or low stakes, can indeed measure capacity for critical thought, among other useful things, and most importantly to the schools themselves, the likelihood of success in their college or university. For better or worse, it's why they're used. Fortunately, most colleges use a variety of methods to determine who gets accepted, and not every quality college puts SAT/ACT scores at the top of the heap.

I'd give this teacher a "B" for effort, but an "F" for helping his kids, at least on that particular day.

Anonymous said...


The teacher is in Illinois - not Washington.


Anonymous said...

Look into Gatto's "Bartleby Project" of nonviolent resistance to standardized tests. Just say "I would prefer not to".

open ears

Anonymous said...
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A-mom said...
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Anonymous said...

Wow! Almost all of you missed the (data) P O I N T.

~ Why don't you Get It?

Anonymous said...

I know for sure that I missed your P O I N T.

--- what are people thinking?

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