ED 100- Current Connection #3
April 11, 2022
The selected reading is called The New Teacher Book: Finding purpose, balance, and hope during your first years in the classroom pp. 26-49. There were multiple different stories within the assigned reading. The different stories were Time to Get Off the Testing Train by Stan Karp, 14 days SBAC Took Away by Moe Yonamine, Authentic Assessment for Learning and Testing Assumptions by Caudierre McKay, Aaron Regunberg, and Tim Shea. There were different themes presented in each of these readings. However, the main theme of all of these readings was the fact that high-stakes testing has numerous flaws to it. Such as, these tests do not reflect children’s current knowledge, a student’s ability is not measured by bubbling multiple choices answers and extended response questions, these tests are not beneficial to the students because they don’t correlate to a student’s personal life or factors in their life, the test fails to be objective, they are not good evaluation tools and they take up to much time in a school year or day. According to Time to Get Off the Testing Train, “Like weeds in a garden, the spread of testing is strangling the curriculum, narrowing the range of what is taught, and impoverishing school experience” (Stan Karp). There is a variety of students who need specific things rather than receiving worksheets and test prep. For example, a student may not be educated on racial issues but instead of giving this student information on race that can be very beneficial to their day to day life or even just in the future, they are given information on how to perform the process of elimination method on a high stakes test. Which, for an educator who is trying to successfully teach their students by the curriculum and/or knowledge about life that will be useful and applicable to them in time and at length, high stakes testing will take time away from this outlook. The reading 14 days SBAC Took Away states, “Fourteen days SBAC took away. We ended our year without returning to building community for our climate justice unit. We ended the year with a rushed celebration of each other. We could have been so much more. Fourteen days SBAC took away. Fourteen days I enforced SBAC testing to be the priority of our classroom learning— or rather, our classroom “unlearning.” Fourteen days SBAC took away” (Moe Yonamine). This is evident that high-stakes tests are preventing actual ‘learning’ from classrooms due to the attention being focused on things around testing. As also seen in the reading Testing Assumptions that even the volunteers who were senators, professors, state representatives, former nominees from the government, etc who participated in the ‘Take the Test’ event, 30 out of 50 volunteers did not meet the standard to pass the test. In relation to some of the flaws of the high-stakes tests, clearly these are some very highly skilled people and they couldn’t even pass. Therefore, how can you expect high school students to pass? In trying to shift away from these high stakes tests, there are many alternatives to high stakes testing that is mentioned in the reading Authentic Assessment for Learning. This reading discusses some common principles of authentic assessment for learning. In addition, there are some models of authentic assessment presented as well. All of these readings are developed by stating a problem which is high stakes testing and providing supporting details and evidence as to why and how these tests are flawed. Furthermore, to not only recognize that high stakes tests are flawed but to include some alternatives instead of these tests to implement within classrooms. The point of view of these readings is from the viewpoint of someone who has analyzed the idea of high-stakes testing being applied in classroom instruction. I personally think that high-stakes testing is not necessary. Only because of my first-hand experience, I think using an authentic assessment approach for learning really benefits and sticks with the students rather than test prepping because the information given from authentic assessments is more likely to be hands-on/ interactive and relatable to real-life experiences. Every time in class when it came to prepping for a test, nothing that we really learned even stuck with me. However, now with my experience in ED100 and ED253, I can fully understand topics and explore more of how my life may be connected to a certain topic or other factors that are happening in the world around me. The specific reading that I decided to focus on is Authentic Assessment for Learning. First things first, what is an authentic assessment for learning? It is the meeting point between evaluation and learning. In other words, an educator creates unique learning experiences for student performance, defines criteria for tasks, and produces a realistic rubric to track performance. As mentioned previously, in this reading we are informed about some common principles and models of authentic assessment for learning. The current article that I chose to focus on in relation to this is called Cea calls for elimination of SBAC in Connecticut. The Connecticut Education Association leaders advocated to replace the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests with “better, more authentic and effective assessment programs.” CEA President Sheila Cohen said in a statement that testing is important to driving instructional improvement, but the SBAC takes “far too much time away from classroom instruction.” She also said, “It is time to put a stop to Connecticut’s singular focus on this unfair, high stakes, snapshot assessment as the basis for all critical decisions affecting our students” In a survey produced by CEA with a Wesleyan University professor, 90 percent of 1,666 participating teachers agreed that SBAC preparation takes away “significant time and resources” from teaching and learning. My current connection article connects with the assigned reading because the Connecticut Education Association is trying to implement authentic assessment learning in their schools to create a new era in public education. In other words, to provide the students with information and resources that will be beneficial to them in time and at length.