High Stakes Testing: Setting School Up for Failure

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High Stakes Testing: Setting
Schools up for Failure.
Guest Post by The Teacher

2001 President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, a way to hold
schools, teachers, and districts accountable for student education. When you
look and think about this from a parent, community member, or any normal
thinking person, this sounds like a good idea. Why not when you can see schools
where a large percent of students can’t read, write, or complete math problems.
The problem lies in what each state is permitted to do. For instance each state
can choose the tool to test the students with. Each state is permitted to
decide how many students or what percent of the population is equivalent to
count for a cell. For instance in the state of Florida you need to have 30
students who are Black, White, ESE, etc. Now looking at Illinois has a minimum
of 40 students in a particular subgroup to count. So if you had 500 students in
Florida and 40 students were from an Asian Subgroup the cell would not count in
AYP, but in Illinois the subgroup would count for the same group of students.
Is this fair? How about research that shows the range of cell size is 10 to 80,
if this applied equally to all States we might get a different outlook for AYP.
recently in the state of Florida a particular district tested 77 different
elementary schools on the FCAT 2.0. This test is harder, more depth of
knowledge, and is created to trick, fool, and catch students. This district had
only 6 schools make AYP. Out of these six schools, none of them were your
normal schools; they were all charter schools where the school can cut you for
poor performance. So the question I ask is this, what is wrong with the picture
when a school has only 8% of all schools making AYP. So the question I pose is
this, where does the problem rest? Teachers, Students, Parents, Administrators,
or the District?, in my opinion for what it is worth, I would look at the
entire picture first and then break it down to the individual. It is
statistically improbable that this many teachers or even administrators or
students and parents are to blame. All of this to me points to poor leadership
from the TOP. Now this may lead to leadership at each individual school level
if they can’t hire good Administrators, but in my opinion we should look to the
District. What are they doing that has caused 92% of all schools in our
district to fail to make AYP? I would like to know what about you?
short, I am a bit tested out of high stakes testing for the following 5
don’t choose the strategies used to teach my class or methods. I implement the
ones I am directed to use by administration, who is directed to use them from
district supervisors.
tests don’t test growth, they measure end results. You wouldn’t take a 1 month,
3 month, and 6 month old child and expect them to be at the same size and
weight at the end of a 5 month period of time. The reason is each child would
grow according to where they are developmentally and arrive at different points
in five months. The same is true for students. I get yearly students who can’t
read at a Kindergarten level to those who can read a year above. How can I
expect them to all reach the same level?
test is created to trick, fool, and catch students off guard.
years ago when I started teaching 3rd grade a test questions would
be like this: What color was Jimmy’s coat in the story? You would find a part
where Jimmy had a coat and recall the color.
years ago the test question changed: What color was Jimmy’s coat in the story
on Wednesday? Not as easy as the first question because they have to identify
what is being asked and what specific date from several colors that will be
found in the story.
year ago the test question changed: If Jimmy’s coat was beige on Tuesday, what
other name could be used to describe Jimmy’s coat? Now you have to be able to
understand more then what is being asked.
2.0 last year’s test questions reached a new level of difficulty: Why did Jimmy
choose to wear the color coat he did on Tuesday? Now we have gone from recall,
to specific recall to comparison, to being able to identify reasons which can
be interpreted differently by different people.
am only evaluated by how the students’ final outcome is. Not growth, how far
they came, etc.
salary is based on the test score and nothing less.         

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  1. angela parker says:

    Great post. I am going to school for Special Education….makes me wonder what is gonna be my pay in 2 years… i think the testing should be different. like matt damon said, most teachers are not in it for the pay, otherwise they wouldnt be there, they do it to help kids and becasue they love it.

    [email protected]

  2. tiggysmum70 says:

    I am so with you there! I have made many of notes on my facebook page that say the same thing. Accountability is not there for the children and parents; however, every one else is accountability!

    Visit my page @ https://www.facebook.com/melanie.midaymeredith?sk=notes

    These are open for everyone to read and comment on! Enjoy!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I did not know all this…. That is totally crazy. I know our district is starting the STARR testing this year. We used to use TAKS test. STARR is supposed to be a lot harder and is supposed to also show growth. We will see…. I teach kinder, our testing is DRA, Mclass, and TPRI testing.
    Thanks for the interesting post.


  4. Just another reason why we choose to home educate and take that responsibility for ourselves and no one else.

  5. Teri, Canton Ga says:

    I live in Georgia and we use the grct, I have to say I have never been more frustrated as a parent between the cheating scandals, and the over all experience with all of my 4 kids in public schools. The amount of pressure on the kids and on the teachers to preform is sickening. Here a student can have straight A's but if they fail that test in certain grades they still fail. In my opinion they should give a student a test mid year to see how they have progressed as a teaching tool not a punishing tool and it should not have any outcome on there grades or on the teachers bonuses or contracts. Let there over all yearly academics prove that. It should be used to practice for the sat's like it was when we were in school.

  6. The Teachers Wife says:

    From The Teacher:

    The shame of all of this money is the SES tutoring companies are banking 50 to 70% profit out of the $3600. One or two head people hire many teachers for $10 bucks an hour. Then the other money is left for the head people. I feel that money should go to teachers not used to make Non-Educators Rich.

  7. Teri, Canton Ga says:

    I agree and also, my daughter came home after the grct crying because her science teacher embarrassed her in front of her peers by saying "if you don't pass this part of the test then you want to fail"… he is a good teacher and made it fun for the kids to learn but the pressure on him was very clear. Even though she was very stressed out she still passed it and had a.b. honor role at the end of the year. We have decided to move to Ohio where we have some family.. and the schools seem to be a little better. I wish there was a way to change the no child left behind law.. so that our kids and teachers won't suffer.

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