This is difficult to admit…
I want schools to embrace more standardized testing. Standardized testing has slowly been moving into schools, and creeping closer to my subject area–social studies. I wish someone had the guts to simply admit that we need to test each kid, each year, in each subject. Every year for the past twenty years I have had to experience an administrator introducing a small component of testing. Each time it is met with resistance from the staff who half-heartedly accepts it, so of course it takes years to fully feel it’s effect and implement it, and in the end results in nothing but resentment against testing. Nothing will be successful unless the staff fully embraces it and utilizes all the materials that come along with it. With each test there is professional development that follows that allows teachers to pick-up techniques and strategies to increase test score. Do teachers embrace the methods? No. There are workbooks and sample tests that are offered to teachers. Do all teachers use them like they are suppose to? No. So what happens? The administration and professional development teams have to year after year offer up the same sessions in an attempt to get the teachers to embrace the methods and strategies. They wouldn’t have to do this if teachers would just stop being so resistant. There is one particular type of question on the tests in Connecticut that we have had training on for almost five years in a row! I know this sounds sarcastic, but think about it…If five years ago teachers just used the methods and strategies to improve that one type of question, scores would have gone up, and we could have moved on to a…wait for it…a second type of question!!! Arghhh! Come on people this is not rocket science! I for one, am tired of being hammered for test scores that are only rising slightly each year, and for only having 80% of our kids reach mastery. Teachers are always complaining about lack of time–just use all the lesson plans that are offered by the various companies and school system. During the two weeks of standardized testing in my school I have no lessons to prepare, and no student work to analyze. Using the test prep worksheets and lesson plans before and after the test would allow teachers to increase their free-time by at least 90% each day, have ample time to spend on hobbies and with family, and open a second twitter account. Schools should fully embrace standardized test taking strategies, standardized quarterly tests, standardized graduation exams, small group pull-out for kids scoring poorly on tests, expect every kid of the same age to know the same exact thing at the same exact time, offer monthly early dismissals for professional development to improve test scores, have test rallies to boost scores, and have forced standardized testing test prep which includes writing prompts and practice tests weekly if not daily. It schools did this they would quickly fill the communities with students who will be doomed to fail in future. Why stretch out the pain? Why stretch out generations of kids who are slowly losing the skills needed to be successful?!! I am sure many readers of this blog are to blame for stretching out the full embracing standardized testing. Stop fighting standardized testing, you are slowing down a process that is doomed to fail. Think about it this way. You can whine and fight standardized testing and have it stretch out for maybe the next thirty years and never get to teach like you always dreamed about. Or, you can embrace standardized testing and let it into every corner of the school, allow the system to collapse after ten years, and then start teaching like you always dreamed. The quickest way to end standardized testing is to love it to death.
Major food companies will run tests of their products to see how much cheaper they can make their product but still have people buy it. So famous cookie company will have testers eat cookies that are inferior to the original, and the one that people grade closest to the original they start producing(needs more of an explanation on the actual process but…). Yes, ingredients are cheaper and there is an ever so slight decrease in flavor, but it is hardly noticed. When they do this over the course of decades, eventually the cookie in production is just a shadow of it’s original self. No company can expect the public to make the shift from the original recipe, to the cheapest one overnight…it must be phased in slowly otherwise there would be rebellion by consumers. If the change stretched long enough, there is no one left to remember what the original cookie tasted like and the company never has to worry about backlash. They can continue making the cookie without anyone pointing out what once was.
Standardized testing is the same. In schools, after 30 years of a movement there is really no one left who remembers what it was like before it. Slowly moving it into schools will eventually result in a population of students and teachers who will have never known anything other than standardized testing. It will be the norm, you don’t fight or resist things that are normal. Fighting it now improves it’s chances of survival. Love them to death, while there are still people around who remember what it was like to be in a school without them.
By the way, I also have a way to fix some environmental problems. Stop recycling.