Treehorn Stop Press: Lessons for Australia

Treehorn  Express

STOP  PRESS

A couple of articles that appeared a few days ago in The Washington Post led to some conclusions [see bold type below] that Australia needs to note urgently , despite its slow [up until now] grasp of what school classroom learning is.

   SOME LESSONS FOR AUSTRALIA

A simple exercise conducted by a school-board member in Florida was published this week. The story went feral. It was about a school board member of nine years, former teacher and counsellor with a science degree and a master’s degree in education and psychology, who sat a version of the standardised test called Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. He reported, “I won’t beat around the bush. The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten correctly. On the reading tests, I got 62%. In our system, that’s a ‘D’, and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction.”

The huge response saw the exercise as an indictment of standardized testing. Diane Ravitch tweeted, “Why stop with a school board member? Governors, state legislators, and Congress should take the tests and release the scores.”  When one commentator tweeted, “Why not media folk? Maybe let them warm up taking an 8th grade test”  Outstanding US columnist Valerie Strauss, reckoned that she would not try.  “This one fears she couldn’t pass it. Standardized tests, well, they aren’t my thing.”

In her famous column The Answer Sheet [Monday, 19 Dec.] Valerie included an article by Marion Brady, who noted a few salient points that Australians need to take to heart seriously :

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH A WHOLE COUNTRY WHEN IT ISN’T IN OPEN REVOLT AGAINST THE ASSUMPTION THAT SCHOOLS SHOULD ONLY TEACH WHAT MACHINES CAN MEASURE?’”

“STANDARDIZED TESTS HAVE HAD NO ‘SUCCESS-IN-LIFE’ PREDICTIVE POWER.”

“LOTS OF KIDS ARE SMARTER THAN THE PEOPLE WHO WRITE STANDARDIZED TEST ITEMS, AND TIE THEMSELVES IN KNOTS AT TEST TIME TRYING TO SECOND GUESS WHAT WAS IN THE HEAD OF THE WRITER OF A PARTICULAR TEST ITEM.”

“153 EDUCATION, CIVIL RIGHTS, RELIGIOUS, DISABILITY, PARENT AND CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS THINK AMERICA’S ADDICTION TO STANDARDIZED TESTING IS DRAGGING US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.”

“IN THE OPINION OF RESPECTED RESEARCHERS, TODAY’S TEST-BIASED ‘REFORMS’ DON’T HAVE MUCH TO DO WITH QUALITY EDUCATION.”

“ THE TAIL IS NOW WAGGING THE EDUCATION DOG – STANDARDIZED TESTING.”  [aka NAPLAN in Australia]

To check further:-

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-an-anti-testing-post-went-viral/2011/12/18/gIQA8ZGH30_blog.html#pagebreak

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet-post/what-weve-got-here-is-a-failure-to-communicate/2011/12/18/gIQALb7E30_blog.html

Blessings of Christmas. Stay alert.

________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen AM

’41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

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