Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Testing Patience and Understanding
Testing, and the subsequent scoring process, yield important information to teachers. The potential use of feedback for those involved in the teaching and learning dynamic can stimulate corresponding adjustments that can leverage success in future tasks. I understand the benefits and agree with the concept. However, with that said, like most anything else, it should be performed in moderation, not just in terms of frequency, but also in terms of emphasis.
It is difficult to justify to participants, in small desks and large, that the investment in precious resources of time and money is worth the possible outcomes of the high stakes assessments emerging out of the expansive Common Core tests. If any school calculated the amount of time teachers spend outside of their classrooms on staff development activities, conferences, scoring workshops, plus the class time devoted to test administration, it would total a cost that is taxing, even in times of a healthy economy and certainly stressful in a difficult economy. Add the cost of substitutes to cover classes for teachers involved in Common Core related tasks and the concern grows more. No matter how effective the substitute teacher is, it's still someone who finds her/himself in a classroom with far less understanding of the unique needs of individuals and less than a firm grasp on the scope and sequence of the curriculum. This last point exacts an instructional cost that must be factored in to any equation measuring the price of the latest educational reform.
Speaking of reform efforts. Here's an interesting article that draws the reader's attention, particularly those concerned parents with a lot at stake in the Common Core wave via their children but rendered to the sidelines by lacking the perspective on significant actors in the drama who deftly impact the play from behind the scenes. The piece refers to "corporate reform."