Accountability…Amountability

I think tests are very valuable. In fact there are often times when I say test more!!!

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Photo Credit – An ad that popped up while working on my blog post…seemed quite fitting.

I know what you are thinking… stick with me….

Yes test more… car safety tests, blood tests, heart tests, food quality test- bring on the tests!!! But… more tests for kids… no thanks! Tests that give an extremely biased minimal snapshot of a child’s learning. No thank-you. Especially when those tests are standardized tests, and are  used to make critical decisions for a child’s future and the future of education. Critical decisions do need to be made, but is relying on test scores the way to do it? I agree with Larry Cuban that data driven instruction based on standardized testing is not the approach we need to be taking.

John Oliver made some excellent points in his Last Week Tonight segment “Standardized Testing” He said “[standardized tests] fail to reflect abilityblog6 and there are human consequences [when test scores are not adequate]”. Can you believe that they are using a calving formula for determining the success, and future, of teachers? I am beyond words for the logic in this formula. I am about accountability, but there is nothing accountable about using one grade school test score to determine a teacher’s future.

Oliver says “accountability is one of those concepts everyone is in favour of, but nobody knows how to make it work”. I agree with him. In order to be accountable it needs to be accurate. To be accurate we need to look at the big picture and not just one small sample. This isn’t like testing blood samples, it is a lot more complicated than that.

Janelle shared a true picture of growth in her post this week:

“All the standardized exams tell us is that we continually under perform.  What they don’t show is how a student in grade 9 has gone from a grade 3 reading level to a grade 6 reading level in one year.  Or how a student in grade ten who has never read a chapter book, can now read at grade level and is loving literature.  That is growth”

 I understand having some form of assessment that allows us to look at results to help direct decision making, but I think there needs to be a balance during those decisions. A mix of using a variety of assessment methods and consultation before a true picture can be created on student learning and progress.

Our debate this week”Have schools sold their souls to corporation”brought out a lot of frustrations on the negative impacts we see with standardize testing and how companies like Pearson Education are cashing in. Tyler and Justine shared many negatives about corporate involvement in education. Dean Shareski (Community Manager of Discovery Education) shared his views on how teachers and corporations can have success when working together.

I have to admit, I think I’m on Dean’s side for this one. Disclaimer: I do not agree with companies taking advantage of schools and schools wasting money on programs that are not authentic for student learning.

I do think that their are companies out there that can support our classrooms in positive ways. Corporations that see it as their duty to get involved and make a difference and help address problems that are beyond the reach of classroom teachers. Programs like Google classroom that are used to enhance the learning of students.

Dean suggested that all school divisions need outside support.The key is to begin that support with conversations about the relationships between big-business and education, and how the relationships are built and understood. Corporations need to believe “We do good, by doing good”. I agree and believe that when you are in the position to help someone in need and it is for the good, I welcome it. I also think that it is naive to think that one resource or one support is going to cover all we need in our classrooms. We need a variety of sources just like we have a variety of learning needs.

Our guest speaker Audrey Watters (Author of the Hack Education blog) also spoke about relationships. She said “we need to look at how the relationships have changed over the years”. We need to ask how is it changing what happens in the classroom and how does that change the mission of schools.

Purpose of school – for people to get jobs…

        Defined to meet the needs of corporations….

You should have an education that is crafted to meet your needs not the needs of corporations

 

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Child Rights Photo credit: Freedom online

Schools need to think critically when turning to corporations for support. Whether they are offering financial contributions or offering resources, we need to stop and think how it will affect our ability to offer a high quality, authentic education to our students. An education that they so rightfully deserve.

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