Monday, June 25, 2007

Schools' faster feedback

Regarding the story this week about NYC rolling out more testing, the NY Times had the story all wrong, making it seem like more high-stakes testing.  Instead, these are formative assessments that give teachers a window into how individual kids are doing in every curricular strand and substrand so that they can adjust pedagogy and instruction accordingly.   Shame on Randi, who appears to lump all tests and assessments together as “paper work.”  Her primary motivation, of course, is to protect ineffective teachers.
The Daily News got the story right:
Klein said the testing will be "no-stakes," meaning the results won't factor into promotion decisions. "I don't think it means pressure [for kids]. I think it means more learning."

The new assessments, developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill and Scantron, allow educators to view precisely what skills particular students or classes aren't grasping, then enables them to tailor lesson plans and future tests. "This gives us the capacity to hone in and see where the problems are," said James Liebman, chief accountability officer for the city's schools.

Principal Elmer Myers of Public School/Middle School 194 in the Bronx said the new assessments have more features than the ones currently used. "This gives much more specificity than we've had in the past," he said. "It's a huge step up."

With an editorial as well:

If your job is to heal sick people, you track vital signs. If it's to make the streets safe, you monitor crime. And if you're a teacher or principal, you should want to know whether students are learning - but most don't keep close tabs on that data.

Now, though, Chancellor Joel Klein has invested $80 million in a system that will enable teachers to home in on exactly how each student is doing in English and math. Is a child having trouble with verb tenses? Is a class tripping over long division? Teachers and administrators will be able to get the answers - and act on them - by administering relatively quick and easy tests. The results will be available within days so educators can adapt strategies on the fly. Kids won't be graded on their performance. They'll just get better instruction.

You know the rest of the editorial by now. The critics are naysaying.


Schools' faster feedback

Just days after students are tested in reading and math, teachers and parents will be able to analyze the kids' strengths and weaknesses under a new assessment system.


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