The test results are back from the controversial, high risk, end of year tests. Based on the results from this test most of our students in this nation are not proficient in needed skills. Articles like this and this talk about what isn’t working and many bloggers, writers, and educators don’t seem to have an easy answer… and I know why… there is no easy answer! The results provide information from only one metric we chose to use at the end of the school year. Most students did not perform well on the standardized tests.
What it leaves me with are more questions than answers. As a nation, did we really expect all of our students to master these deeper learning concepts so quickly? Do our teachers have the needed resources to develop and guide the students through this shift in learning? Is this a good baseline to determine student growth as we move forward? Shouldn’t we use multiple types of assessment to determine how students are doing and ultimately the effectiveness of the common core.
These are not easy to implement, It can be scary knowing that you are going to learn less content for deeper learning. What gets left out? How do you balance it. What level do students need to be successful in life? How do we measure that success? I am a mother to four and each is so different.
Diane Ravitch’s blog has a great compilation of different tests and some issues with them. They show students from many states scoring proficient or above mostly between 30 and 50 percent. That means half or most are not proficient. What does that mean? It could mean many things…
- The test is valid, Our students are not able to think in the way we are now wanting them to perform and we can use this information to shape how we teach. That means putting it in a form that is usable for schools to look at programs and individuals and work on developing these skills.
- The test is invalid, The questions are biased / do not assess what is intended. Having a third party review the tests to determine validity would restore faith in this process.
- Technology has not caught up to use this test accurately (students struggling with typing, or schools not having the infrastructure to support online testing, glitches with wifi etc. skewing results.
- This type of test is not the best metric to gauge what is happening.
I do believe we need a metric outside the classroom to determine if students have the skills needed to be college ready. I am not convinced this is the only or best way to do that. Therefore I don’t think these results will tell us what we want to know about our children being prepared for the future.
The common core was designed to move away from content driven multiple choice tests. It would make sense that an evaluation of it should be more project based. Scaling that view could be challenging, but possible.
Technology will be the key to implementing and organizing engaging projects. It will provide tools for students to collaborate, revise and learn. We need to do more than change testing standards. We need to rethink the way we assess our students. Technology is the way in which we can make this happen.