Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Culture of Testing

Josie Holford wrote her own version of a Seth Godin post on the dangers of obsessing over quantifiable measures. Seth Godin's original post is here, and Josie's is here and below:

A Culture of Testing
Many schools test everything. They’re very proud that they put out the sign that the next four days are test days and they are proud of their grades, GPA’s, test rankings, scores, test preparation, test driven curriculum, stress relief programs, stress therapy dogs, everything.
It’s almost enough to get you to believe that rigorous testing is the key to success. Results, results, results.
Except they didn’t test the teachers’ creativity and integrity and they didn’t test the children’s resilience and character.
And they didn’t test for an innovative and creative culture that valued imagination, teamwork and global awareness.
And they didn’t test for joy. kindness, mutual respect, sense of purpose and student engagement.
The biggest assets of classrooms and schools weren’t tested, because they couldn’t be because by then they had been destroyed anyway.
Sure, go ahead and test what’s testable. But the real victories come when you have the guts to cherish, value, develop and nurture the untestable.
This post coincides nicely with a tweet I sent out yesterday that:

It was retweeted 10 times. 

I think this is telling. 

There are a lot of people out there who are frustrated with an education system that simply sees students as test scores-in-waiting. A kid's body is not just a transportation device for their number two pencils. 

I would wager a guess that those who retweeted this understand all too well what Linda McNeil of Rice University meant when she said:
Measurable outcomes may be the least significant results of learning.

If you, like me, want to influence change, consider picking up a copy of Juanita Doyon's book Not With Our Kids You Don't. She offers this:
Each of us involved in education has a point at which inappropriate or unfair policies collide with our conscience or our good sense. For parents, the call to activism can be the forty-pound backpack destroying our fourth grader's posture or district-mandated sock color for our eighth grader. For teachers, it can be the district crabbing about our students' test scores and requiring us to attend expensive yet worthless "professional development", while we're assigned thirty-four students per period, in an unheated portable with mold-infested walls. For administrators it can be idiotic standardized curriculum or lack of community involvement and support. Any educational concern is a worthy cause for action.
Like Josie, I too have taken ideas from Seth Godin and applied it to education. I have two challenges for all educators: 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Joe. Thanks for replicating my rewrite of Seth Godin!

    But more importantly - thanks for your energy, passion and commitment on behalf of children as authentic learners.