► In FIVE ASSESSMENT MYTHS AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES - a commentary in EdWeek, Rick Stiggins gives us a list of five myths about standardized testing. Webster's Online says a myth is "a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence" - hardly the bedrock for scientific assessment.
• Myth 1: THE PATH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT IS PAVED WITH STANDARDIZED TESTS.
• Myth 2: SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY LEADERS KNOW HOW TO USE ASSESSMENT TO IMPROVE SCHOOLS.
• Myth 3: TEACHERS ARE TRAINED TO ASSESS PRODUCTIVELY.
• Myth 4: ADULT DECISIONS DRIVE SCHOOL EFFECTIVENESS.
• Myth 5: GRADES AND TEST SCORES MAXIMIZE STUDENT MOTIVATION AND LEARNING.
Rick Stiggins is the founder of the Educational Testing Service's Assessment Training Institute, in
He concludes: Sound assessment is not something to be practiced once a year. As we look to the future, we must balance annual, interim or benchmark, and classroom assessment. Only then will we meet the critically important information needs of all instructional decisionmakers.
Of greatest importance, however, is that we acknowledge the key role of the learner in the assessment-learning connection. We must begin to use classroom assessment to help all students experience continuous success and come to believe in themselves as learners.
► PERFORMANCE TEST FOR NEW
By Vaishali Honawar | Edcation Week
Starting next school year, all teacher-candidates will have to pass a performance assessment before they can get their teaching credentials. A state law passed in 1998 requires such evaluations take place, but a lack of state funding delayed implementation.
► NOT WHO BUT WHAT IS LEFT BEHIND
By Barbara M. Stock/Ed Week
Our national obsession with standardized-test scores is dangerous. The idea that there is only One Right Answer, the answer to the test question, plants the seeds of authoritarian rule. Standardized tests encourage a standardized way of thinking. If there is only one right answer, there is no need to think, to question, to discuss. We breed compliance and complacency. We see challenges to authority as disloyal. The foundations of democracy break down. I was shocked into this realization when my grandson phoned with a homework question. “What did you learn in school that helps you be a good citizen?” he asked. His question stopped me. A good citizen?
► BUSH SAYS HE WOULD VETO AN UNACCEPTABLE NCLB RENEWAL BILL
By David J. Hoff/Ed Week
As Congress works toward reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush has said for the first time that he’s willing to reject any bill he doesn’t like. “Any effort to weaken No Child Left Behind Act will get a presidential veto,” Mr. Bush said on Oct. 15 at a town-hall-style meeting in Rogers, Ark. “I believe this piece of legislation is important, and I believe it’s hopeful, and I believe it’s necessary to make sure we got a [sic] educated group of students who can compete in the global economy when they get older.” The next day, Senate aides distributed draft language of large sections of a potential NCLB bill, the first such specific reauthorization language put forth by key lawmakers in that chamber.
► CALIFORNIA OFFERS LONG-TERM HELP ON EXIT EXAMS
By Linda Jacobson/Ed Week
As soon as they apply for it,
► VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROSPERS UNDER GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER
WHATEVER ELSE he accomplishes, or fails to accomplish, during his topsy-turvy governorship, Arnold Schwarzenegger has served two interrelated and worthy causes very well — raising the standing of community colleges and bringing vocational training out of the educational attic. Schwarzenegger went through such training as a salesman when he was a high school student in
A few years ago, a fourth-grade teacher in central
► FIVE MEN, FIVE DIFFERENT VIEWS ON EDUCATING BLACK MALES
By Cassie M. Chew/Diverse Online
Black males are discovering that they don’t need to ‘hit the books’ in order to make a living, and this is the reason behind recent statistics that report that as many as half of them drop out of high school and don’t pursue a college education. “There was a time when we were always taught that education was for us to get a good job, buy a house, raise a family — education doesn’t play the necessary role in those things any longer to young Black men,” according to poet, writer and filmmaker Malik Salaam.
► REDUCING CLASS SIZE MAY BE MORE COST-EFFECTIVE THAN MOST MEDICAL INTERVENTIONS
Reducing the number of students per classroom in U.S. primary schools may be more cost-effective than most public health and medical interventions, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the Virginia Commonwealth University.The study indicates that class-size reductions would generate more quality-adjusted life-year gains per dollar invested than the majority of medical interventions. The findings will be published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
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