Tuesday, May 24, 2005

work of sixth graders

Re: call for TAKS boycott
To: arn-l@interversity.org
From: aburke5054@aol.com
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 16:40:18 -0400
http://interversity.org/lists/arn-l/archives/May2005/msg00381.html
Seems more like the work of sixth graders than graduate students. In any event, what about the kids who want to take the tests and the parents who want their kids to take them?
Art

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Mr. Burke:
i'm one of the "6th graders" who wrote the documents on http://taksboycott.blogspot.com/. i appreciate your feedback, i understand that this is a contentious issue. my personal belief is that it should not matter whether students, parents, etc. want to take a high-stakes test. this test is biased, invalid, unreliable, and pedagogically harmful (and since they change the criteria every year, they mask its psychometric illegitimacy).

some students may prefer to, say, watch TV all day long. but if we condone practices that prevent learning, we are no longer actually "teachers." any time spent "teaching the TAKS" hurts all students. tests measure; tests do not (by definition) teach anything. i say
1. fund schools fairly
2. assure each child gets a wealthy-district education
3. assess learning (not memorization) without high-stakes
i propose extreme solutions -- because, right now, our public schools have extreme problems. somebody must do something, before they turn into "test-administration centers." what's the more sophisticated solution? i don't adhere to corporate/political standards. especially not in order to keep some ever-worsening "teaching" job.
we've tried playing their game, and we've lost worse every year. as funding and college admissions collapse, who's going to intervene? nobody? then society may eventually give up on public education. we will pay 10 times more for prisons to house the dropouts. and all the layed off teachers can apply to be prison guards. que te parece.

Kip Austin Hinton

124 Comments:

At 11:49 PM, Blogger The Tablet PC In Education Blog said...

my personal belief is that it should not matter whether students, parents, etc. want to take a high-stakes test. this test is biased, invalid, unreliable, and pedagogically harmful (and since they change the criteria every year, they mask its psychometric illegitimacy).

I still don't understand, but I'm trying. I used to say similar things about tests.

Are you asserting that all standardized testing is in appropriate? What do you accept as technical ways of establishing reliability and validity and of neutralizing biases?

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger TAKS Boycott Association said...

i'm asserting that no standardized test provides a complete assessment. to understand a student's educational attainment, we must measure higher levels of thinking, long-term progress, and active engagement with learning.
reliability of a test must be results-based. this requires more steps that are currently used.
the test must emphasize those questions and those types of questions which correlate with high college grades. this means they find which students had the highest freshman grades, then go back and look at which questions this set of freshman answered correctly. then that set of questions is compared to the rest. ideally, analysis shows a distinct difference in the nature of questions.
conversely, students who drop out their freshman year are used to form a set of questions which are deemed irrelevant. this means there are certain questions which students may answer correctly or not, and regardless of the answer the students achieve no greater or lesser success.
so the questions which correlate with college success must be answered with less accuracy by those students who fail in college. in this manner, questions are refined. irrelevant questions are thrown out, even if they are deemed (by legislators, teachers, whoever) "necessary." too often such questions produce answeres that reflect not learning but some sort of bias or subjectivity. the standardized test cannot teach. it can measure progress, but only when it is results based.
i want a results based standardized TAKS which usefully predicts college success. right now, there are ZERO studies which indicate high TAKS scores correlate with freshman year grades. the only studies i've seen indicates that increased TAKS scores correlate with lower SAT scores (because of the narrow curriculum in districts which use special TAKS tutoring); and that high TAKS scores correlate with high property values within a district -- while college success within each district has no relation to either (i.e., the students from a rich district who succeed are neither the richest nor the highest scorers on TAKS).

 
At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a new resident to the state of Texas, I came with my fourth grader in tow. Upon registration at his new school I was told that he needed to go to the third grade again because he did not have the neccesary skills to past the TAKS. The administrators valided this statement (in their mind) by stating that the previous state where my son attended school did not have the same high standards as Texas and therefore could not have properly prepared him to take this test. So I sought advise from some teachers I attended college with. I was informed that for most new students in third grade up to the seventh grade the suggestion is to retain or move the student back a year in order for them to learn TAKS. I wish I could say that this was just one persons opinion, but it came from several teachers who actual teach the TAKS.

If the TAKS is the standard in which our children are to be judged, what happens to the tansfer students? What happens to learning?

 
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