Too Bad Your Kid is "Average"

Too long AND very hard?  Tell your kid that the "average" kid won't be able to understand the test and do the whole thing in the time allotted?  (This is from the PARCC test but I wonder how different the SBAC is/)

How does that really help a student and how do you think your child would feel?  I know my sons liked a challenge but I also know that they both would have rushed to finish, maybe even guessing answers because they would not have wanted to be thought of as "average." 


Ann D said…
Just wow.
Anonymous said…
Ok. I'm stumped. What is the educational benefit of making the test "too hard" or so long it can't be finished in the allotted time? I really truly am stumped by the thinking behind that. I'm guessing there must BE some logic, but it escapes me entirely. Yes, kids need to be challenged sometimes - but not intentionally defeated.

Eric M said…
The logic is: lots of kids "fail", soooo, public schools are "failing", soooo, let's privatize and profitize. Simple playbook, really.
Public education and roads are the last evil vestiges of socialism.
Anonymous said…
I think it's to make the test adaptive, so kids aren't hitting the ceiling, much like the MAP (at least in younger grades it worked that way). Our kids are at least used to that concept.

TechyMom said…
When I was a kid, private school admissions tests were like this. The goal was to find the top of a students knowledge. I think they may have also been like that to test endurance.

My dad said that exams in his classes at Berkeley in the 1960s were like this, and then graded on curve with the middle getting C's. The SSAT and ISEE aren't like this anymore. Few college classes are either (Can you imagine half of the students in a freshman class at UW getting a 2.0 or below?). I don't know exactly why this practice was discontinued, but the system where students who do the expected work to the expected standard pass the test seems far more humane.

So... Why are we using this very outdated practice with 3rd graders in public school?
Does the reasoning of "adaptive" work for both the rigor and the length of the test? I wouldn't think so but maybe so.
Anonymous said…
Amazingly, it kind of makes you appreciate the SBAC a bit! Less need to wade through a slew of questions that are clearly too hard or too easy. At least in theory.

Half Full
Anonymous said…
I haven't look at it yet (is it available?), but I'd love to see what results teachers will see, and how they will incorporate the results into a learning plan for an individual child. Seems like these adaptive factors (incl. time) will make it difficult to compare scores across kids. Or rather, I guess I just don't trust the testing bozos to make it quality comparative data. And I don't trust SPS to adequately train the teachers to use the data to improve learning for each student. I really don't. There will be a ton of data that some people will try to use in the aggregate to generalize about individual schools or the district in total. But when it comes to my kids, I really have no faith that they will benefit in any discernible way. And it's no longer sufficient to hope that I'm wrong.

- Tested Out
seattle citizen said…
Adaptive tests (MAP, SBAC, Read 180, etc) produce a disconnect: They produce a number (lexile, percentile, etc) divorced from the questions/problems asked, the give that number to the teacher. So teacher can't look at problem and ask self, Knowing Johnny, why did he answer this way? because teacher doesn't even see question/problem(s) number is derived from. Teacher is separated from flesh-n-blood student by the Machine, and have to trust that the Machine crunched the numbers in an accurate way.
Talk about dehumanizing - students and teachers both become reliant on (and measured by) the Machine.
Who needs Terminators when simple computer programs can as effectively kill humanity?
Anonymous said…
Are there separate instructions for girl students? (snark)

So easy to use 'student' or 'they' as substitutes for he/she - this lack of attention to detail makes me doubt/dislike this organization even more!

cmj said…
There is an art to taking tests -- especially multiple choice tests -- and it's a valuable skill for students to learn.

But that's no reason to take up multiple days of instructional time for a test that most students will not pass. Students don't really need test-taking skills until they get to high school.

I'm thinking back on Nyland's letter to teachers about SBAC. It's funny how he tends to threaten teachers with discipline (up to loss of teaching certificate) for opposing him politically even if students or their educations are not endangered. He threatened to discipline the teachers at Garfield for letting their students rally against the district's choice to cut a teacher. Now he's threatening all teachers if they refuse to give the test.

It's also funny how Nyland and Carr both said "we swore to uphold the law" when it came to giving SBAC...but I never heard them say that when it came to Title VII (Native American Ed.), Title IX, IDEA, or FERPA. Or the district's own policies -- not technically laws, but I'm sure Nyland and the Board swore to uphold them as well.
seattle citizen said…
StepJ, if your comment about gender pronouns was aimed at me, I actually thought of that as I wrote "Johnny....he..." but then decided, oh, what the heck, we've used "Johnny" as generic student for years, I'm going with it! In my defense, I am very conscious in my efforts to make my language gender neutral. : )
Anonymous said…
Oh gosh no SC. It was aimed at the pamplet from PARCC - Reassure your Child paragraph, where only 'he' is to be reassured.

I take no offense to generic Johnny. :-) Sorry my comment came across that way.


Anonymous said…
This was how O Chem was when I was in college, oh, a million years ago. I view it as mostly appropriate for a 2nd year college course mainly taken by people interested in pursuing additional chemistry, but inhumane for elementary and middle school students as well as unnecessary for high school students.

NE parent
cmj said…
I said It's also funny how Nyland and Carr both said "we swore to uphold the law"

Sorry, I can't confirm that Carr said that. My apologies.
Anonymous said…
Speaking of O Chem, I had a friend in college who got a 10 on a test. The average was 8 so she got an A. Kind of wonder about what a test is testing and what people are learning when the average is 8. These were all Chemical Engineering majors.

Anonymous said…
I had this sort of adaptive test for professional licensure. It made some grown colleagues cry with anxiety and self-doubt. It seems cruel to see questions become more difficult when you are doing well, and equally cruel to see questions become more simple, knowing you have made an error in answering. My child also will not be taking these tests. -J
mirmac1 said…
The test brings to mind Swift's "A Modest Proposal". The difference is that instead of eating our young, the Gates plutocracy will put them through myriad "solutions", disappoint them and then consign them to the for-profit prison pipeline.

Yes, I'm cynical.
mirmac1 said…
As you well know the legislature that district's give the >60% 3rd grade students who "fail" to meet standard (oops, there's that word again) a parent-teacher conference. As you know, the lost November week and now a Spring week of conference will eat away yet MORE instructional time. The geniuses who contrived or voted this in are now being lobbied to "relax" the requirement.

So, the thinking is that SBAC 3rd grade results will be available by late April. Only some 3rd grade failures will be required to have a conference. Next Spring the whole kit-n-caboodle will go down. Somehow a conference will work wonders for the last month of real learning left for the June wind down.

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