Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Are State Tests Eating up Valuable Classroom Time?

On July 15, 2012, the Burnt Orange Report published the article Op-Ed: A sensible Approach to Decrease the Hours Our Public Schools Spend on Testing.

In terms of public education, Texans should be ashamed that we are 43rd in the nation for high school graduates. What are we doing wrong? According to State Representative Scot Hochberg our current system for preparing students to take state standardized tests such as the STARR is creating a crack in the system for low achieving students and they are falling through. His House Bill 233 would allow high achieving students to opt out of the state tests in the fourth, sixth, and seventh grades. He proposes that this will allow the spot light to shine on the low achieving students. The progress of the low achieving students make on test scores factor into the rankings for the schools and teacher evaluations.

I agree that teacher evaluations should not be assessed by an average of high achieving students. A successful teacher is one who can help a student reach their full potential. The problem I see in this is how are they going to address the problems of the low achieving students if they are reducing test preparation in the classroom. Many students will be able to opt out of tests, so how will they balance the classroom curriculum? The most important part is missing in the article, and that is how will they deal with the different student populations and use their time wisely?

I agree with the conclusion of this article that merely changing the aesthetics of this program has not aided in the progress of our education system. Einstein stated that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. It's clear that 20 years of insanity has not helped our public education's ranking.

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