Raise Your Hand says, “It’s Time to Talk about Meaningful Assessment”

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Wendy Katten of Raise Your Hand.   Read the complete article on the Raise Your Hand web site.  Raise Your Hand also held a forum in November, 2012 on the culture of testing in CPS.  Visit School Tech Connect for video highlights of the forum.

Time to Talk about Meaningful Assessment at CPS

“We have heard all year about all the failing schools and need for quality seats, as if the learning/seats in the building are fixed and intractable, and the culture inside a building is not something that is fluid to be developed and improved upon from teachers/administrators and the leaders of the district as a whole. Can we really expect students to firmly believe in themselves when their schools are labeled “on probation,” “failing”, etc., and they are assigned with Level systems and color codes based on test scores to determine whether they will stay open or be closed?

It would be nice if our district changed the tone from the top and found a less-punitive and more-assets based approach to assessing what’s happening inside our schools. Since research shows that test scores are limited and not the whole picture in what they tell us about student learning, as parents we have to question how this is working to our children’s benefit. As it stands, some of our schools operate as test prep factories rather than as strong learning environments. We have reports from teachers who say walls of their school building are plastered with papers that identify students by their scores and color codes; the emphasis seems only to be on how to get these students from test group a to b and nothing else. We question whether such a narrow focus can help Chicago students achieve their potential. We wonder too, how many kids are alienated by such methods. And how much does the curriculum get narrowed, especially in those “Level 3” schools? How much time is test prep taking away from meaningful learning time? Which assessments are useful to our teachers and should they have a stronger say in what is mandated by the district? All of our students deserve learning environments that are engaging, joyful, stimulating, positive, relevant, etc. There is a reason why many of our private schools in Chicago do not administer any standardized testing until the intermediate/upper grades.”

Read the complete article on the Raise Your Hand web site.

Raise Your Hand held a forum in November, 2012 on the culture of testing in CPS.  Visit School Tech Connect for video highlights of the forum.

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