Joe Beckmann
Joe Beckmann asked:

Slightly better than Beyond Test Scores, but why fight tests when they're already obviously deficient at predicting skills and skill development?

C. “It shapes what is taught and how it is taught. It influences the problems students are given in math class (often questions from earlier tests), the materials they are given to read, the essays and other work they are required to produce, and often the manner in which teachers grade this work. It determines which educators are rewarded, punished, and even fired. In many cases it determines which students are promoted or graduate.”
“In 2013, for example, eight New York school principals jointly sent a letter to parents that included this: “We know that many children cried during or after testing, and others vomited or lost control of their bowels or bladders. Others simply gave up. One teacher reported that a student kept banging his head on the desk, and wrote, ‘This is too hard,’ and ‘I can’t do this,’ throughout his test booklet.”
“Testing and test preparation have displaced a sizable share of actual instruction, in a school year that is already short by international standards. Test-based accountability has led to a corruption of the ideals of teaching. In an apparently increasing number of cases, it has led to manipulation of the tested population (for example, finding ways to keep low achievers from being tested) and outright cheating, some instances of which have led to criminal charges and even imprisonment. And it has created gratuitous and often enormous stress for educators, parents, and, most important, students.”
“schools have cut back or eliminated instruction in numerous untested subjects other than science, including social studies, music, art, and physical education.2 Some educators have also curtailed nonacademic but important activities, such as recess.”

From E.D. Hirsch, Jr.,’s The Knowledge Deficit: “One elegant experiment was conducted to find out how important domain-specific knowledge is in actual reading tasks. It tested how well students who had generally high technical skills in decoding and comprehension strategies performed in comparison to students with generally low technical reading skills but prior knowledge of the subject matter of the text. In two of the four groups studied, one had good decoding skills but poor knowledge of the subject, baseball, while the poor-decoding group knew a lot about baseball. As predicted, the reading comprehension of the low-skills, baseball-knowing group proved superior to the reading comprehension of the high-skills, baseball-ignorant group for that particular text. These results have been replicated in other situations and knowledge domains and show the powerful effect.”

“Comprehension skill cannot be automatically transferred from one text to another, because the skill of comprehension is basically the skill of filling in enough of what has been left unsaid—that is, filling in enough blanks—to make sense of the text. The ability to fill in these blanks depends entirely on whether children know what is to be filled in.“

“Since relevant, domain-specific knowledge is an absolute requirement for reading comprehension, there is no way around the need for children to gain broad general knowledge in order to gain broad general proficiency in reading.”

“current thinking about reading is trapped in formalistic conceptions that regard texts as found objects rather than as historically dependent writings which assume the existence of widely shared background knowledge within a particular speech community.”

“No teacher, however capable, can efficiently cope with the huge differences in academic preparation among the students in a typical American classroom—differences that grow with each successive grade.”

“a coherent, content-oriented curriculum is the most effective way to raise reading achievement.

“The French are in a good position to perform such studies. They have been running state-sponsored preschools for more than a hundred years. By age five, almost 100 percent of French children, including the children of immigrants from Africa, Asia, and southern Europe, attend preschools. At age four, 85 percent of all children attend, and astonishingly, at age two, 30 percent of all children attend. Analyses of records from tens of thousands of students—records that include detailed information about race, ethnicity, and social class—show that the earlier the child starts, the greater the positive effect on reading will be. By the end of fifth grade in France, the relative benefit to disadvantaged pupils who start at the amazingly early age of two rather than four is over one half of a standard deviation, quite a large effect. Those who start at age three do better in later reading than those who start at age four, and starting school at age four is better than starting at age five. These studies show that the long-term gain in starting early is greater for disadvantaged than for advantaged students, thus confirming the theory that effective schooling is in itself compensatory. 15 But because progress in language is slow, the relative academic benefits revealed by these French data do not show up fully until grade five and beyond. This delayed effect is a very important and understudied feature of good early schooling.“
Image for The Testing Charade
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more