Saturday, January 24, 2009

Quote from WhiteHouse.gov on NCLB

From the White House website, when you click on agenda and then education. "Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests."

Is that what we are doing when we prepare students for the end of year tests in third, fourth, and fifth grades.  We are also teaching them reading and math, science and social studies.  When I look at the Virginia math test at any level, I want my students to pass it.  It is a pretty good multiple choice test.  I have more issues with the Virginia reading test, which goes beyond reading skills I feel and with a small part of the test assessing students on how well they use encyclopedias and other reference materials, which I would like to add, in this century students pretty much will never use.  

But with our school facing daunting pressure to meet AYP in both reading and math, how often are we just preparing students to master the material and how often are we teaching them to outsmart the test or practice filling in bubbles.  I would like to say we always focus on the former but when the pressure is on, we also want to make sure students know how to take a test.  That appears to be what Obama and Biden don't want but under this current system, when pressure is high, that kind of teaching does occur in any school in this country.  How do we have accountability for schools without multiple choice tests or having students practice filling in the bubbles?  I encourage you to check out the White house website and I will have to watch and see what Obama/Biden mean when they put quotes like the one above on their website.

2 comments:

  1. Matt,

    I was wondering Matt...after returning from visiting an Expeditionary Learning school if ALL schools actually do spend valuable instructional time practicing bubbling and requiring test prep practice.

    Something tells me in schools such as these students acquire such a deep understanding of the curriculum they are learning about through experiential learning and amazing amounts of research and writing (which we all know requires a much higher level of thinking, leading to a deeper understanding) that they never find the need or desire for such practice.

    As the eternal optimist-I would like to think that there is a small sampling of schools out there that the rest of us can learn from-schools that use 180 days a year to focus on learning all that is relevant, meaningful and exciting to a child.

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  2. Thanks for your comment Lisa. I just attended the EL conference and got to meet many schools that are not just practicing bubbling. My idealism has been reignited!

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