And the President says

100619_142328_0.pngAnd the President says -

It was with great interest that I read my FlipBoard this weekend and noticed an article in Academy Thoughts, taken from an article in the NY Times by Kate Zernike entitled "Obama Administration Calls for Limits on Testing in Schools."  (Limits)

It seems that even the current administration feels we have done too much in testing - and the article refers to "over-testing."  Zernike writes, "Specifically, the administration called for a cap on assessment so that no child would spend more than 2 percent of classroom instruction time taking tests. It called on Congress to 'reduce over-testing" as it reauthorizes the federal legislation governing the national public elementary and secondary schools." (Limits)

Of course, I'm not entirely sure how anyone derived a 2%  rule, but it seems that 2% of an 180 day school year should amount to three to four days of testing per year.  And clearly, that's a decrease from the upward limit of ten days of re-arranged schedules and testing mentioned elsewhere in this blog.

Two central questions remain.  First, what are we testing for - what are we trying to find?  That's an absolutely essential question because otherwise testing becomes nothing more than progress checks on retention.  It starts to feel like someone scanning the beach with a metal detector to find old coins.  That's an entirely too random exercise for schools to pursue.  Instead, are we trying to find if students are progressing on stated standards? Are these achievement tests?  Are they reworkings of previous tests?  Are these tests the revisions to the Common Core testing program?  Again, what's the purpose?

The second question concerns the role of assessment as well. What is the best way to build rigorous assessment into the patterns of student and teacher daily academic life?  It would seem that learning and assessment go hand in hand - one informing the other - rather than yearly assessment rituals which measure long term learning alone.  Evidence based assessment as a part of the cycle of learning seems more important now than ever.

In the article, Zernike reports, "Still, it (the administration) also said that tests should be "just one of multiple measures" of student achievement, and that "no single assessment should ever be the sole factor in making an educational decision about a student, an educator, or a school." (Limits)

Multiple measures, evidence based assessments, and good judgement - those are the things that create good assessment techniques.

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