My oldest daughter is starting to visit colleges and has created her short list. In an era which ed-reformers’ influence is pushing schools to emphasize test scores as a way to find out if kids are college ready, I find it ironic that not a single school on her list requires test scores. We just visited Clark University and during the opening remarks they had a slide with several items they consider in the admissions process. Test scores was at the bottom, and the admissions official stated that if you don’t test well don’t even bother sending them. She is looking at little schools like Bennington College and bigger schools like Eastern Connecticut State University. Each one, same thing, test scores optional.
We spent another staff meeting this week getting “trained” to deliver the sbac tests. No cell phones, all paper in room is a secure testing item that cannot be allowed out, touch your computer every 15 minutes so the test does not time out otherwise the kids will have to retake it the next day–we were not given instructions on how to spy on kids social media accounts during the testing…I guess that is above my pay grade. The testing will go in school for five weeks. All computers will be used so the project we had in which we were going to create web pages for our unit on the Amazon has been canceled. Canceled, even though I have sat through numerous college presentations that have all reinforced that the skills the kids would be learning from such a project would be more important than their test scores. I can guarantee that the kids will learn nothing positive during their many hours of being measured. I was taught early in college that the best assessments were the ones in which new learning occurred, not ones which required simple regurgitation. For five weeks our school will be regurgitating. Nothing new will be learned while going to the pre-test rally, sitting in rows waiting to be tested, testing in silence, or sitting in rows in silence waiting for the test to end.
Nothing will be learned from a test in which Connecticut has already determined before the kids have taken it how many will fail. A test in which already the state has decided that up to 90% of special education kids will fail. A test whose results are already pre-determined by a kid’s zip code. A test that will determine which 5% of schools can be taken over by the state and given to corporations to run. A result which then creates a new bottom 5% the following year to be taken over, taken over by the same groups that pushed the test into school in the first place. The test that was supposed to determine if kids were college ready. The test that is supposed to help kids achieve that great American dream. Aptly called a dream, because the only people that believe submitting my kids to all of this testing will help them fulfill their dreams are clearly still sleeping.