Tag Archives: assessment

Better Times

31 Aug

Teach skills, not just facts

The word “Assessment” has evolved into a negative connotation because of some politicians’ obsession to seek accountability from schools and teachers. They wrongly equated test results with students’ progress, ignoring the well-known fact that most of us have forgotten what we have learned by the time we reach adulthood. Yes, we have acquired some skills that allow us to find the answers and most of us should read and understand at least 80% of common texts. But who remembers state capitals or historical facts and dates, or the formula to determine the surface of a circle.

Now politicians at state and federal levels have changed their collective minds after a furious reaction from parents and teachers, demanding a strong reduction in assessed topics and in frequency.

In Washington, the Department of Education is granting waivers (read: continue funding) to states if they can show that they have a comprehensive method to evaluate students. In Texas, the Education Agency came to its senses, with political support of course, and reduced the amount of state tests from 15 to 5, causing an enormous relief to all teachers and students alike.

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A Broken Law

15 Feb

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt (Shakespeare)

NCLB (No Child Left Behind) was enacted in 2002 with the best intentions, though we all know that Hell is also paved with the best intentions. After 10 years of mixed results, it is time to part with it, as witnessed by the Obama administration granting waivers to any State willing to accept it. The head of the Department of Education, Arne Duncan, recently said that NCLB is so broken that it actually is an obstacle to educational improvement. Imagine that!  The federal government itself is condemning the law, yet still applies it to all public schools until Congress gets off its large behind to change or eliminate it.

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