Yesterday, President Obama said that there should be a new way to measure school effectiveness for student achievement. He would do away with standardized testing and make use of other means such as high school graduation, attendance rate and college preparedness as a means to measure school effectiveness.
Having just finished CSAP (Colorado standard tests) before spring break, I would have to agree with our president on finding alternative methods for assessing students and the effectiveness of teachers and school. For instance, I have one student who spent the last 8 weeks between Christmas and the tests just doing chapter summary pages at the end of the math textbook. This coupled with summary lessons from her teacher over the material encompasses the information she was expected to know for her grade level on the CSAP test. If this isn’t a classic example of teaching to the tests, I don’t know what is. Did my student retain the information? Usually not which is why I had to go in and reteach the information to her in order for her to complete her homework.
However, as we already discussed in former posts (see Bruce Randolph School and Higher Graduation Rates = More Remediation?!?!?, the types of accountability being suggested are not necessarily effective ways to measure school success either. Competition seems to be the only thing that works in business to keep people on their toes and effective, so why aren’t we applying that to schools? Unfortunately, charter schools are judged before they have a chance to be effective (see NYC Experiment – Part 2) or the results are marginalized rather than emphasis on specific positive impact.