Friday, October 10, 2014

Day 150: Things that Make Ya' Go Hmmmm......or dare I say "rant" ;)

Today I have this personal post to share.....I won't call it a "rant" ;)  because that just doesn't suit my personality,  but it just so happens that our state has released test scores recently and I stumbled upon this post about testing through social media, and well......I have something to say about the whole deal-i-o!

Chuckle if you know me--because I'm the most positive person around--but even I can get a little discouraged, even downright confused over the test scores and what we can take from them!  It's a PRISM really!  You can look at it one way and see some very positive aspects, then you look from another angle and it can be so disheartening, considering how HARD educators work!   Desiring better results for our kids and seeing such huge personal/individual gains and having them not translate to amazing rankings, and results through the Dept. of Ed.'s accountability system is a difficult pill to swallow! (There.  I. said. it.)

So here's my "share" for the day!  Consider it a public service announcement (of sorts!) ;)  And I'm SUPER PROUD of the high performing schools in our district and area!  KUDOS to all!  It takes a village and it is remarkable to hear of the progress all around the state and nation.   My youngest child's elementary school had a personal boost of 10 points last year and this year, they maintained but didn't have the continued, bigger increase they were hoping for.  I don't focus on a number or a score and there's a reason why--testing is one measure.  I see the whole child, all day, every day.  I see REAL gains, progress, improvements in both behavior and maturity and a million other areas in between,  I see emotional issues and sometimes spiritual growth.  I see things that may always and may never show up on a standardized test.  So, while it is one measure--it is also just one measure.  :)

And that brings me to this post.  This struck a chord with me, so I share this, not to bash any particular publisher (Pearson, in this case, shhhh!) but to point out that we ALL make mistakes and there is so much VALUE in teaching students to THINK, PERSEVERE, PROBLEM SOLVE, QUESTION, and be CONFIDENT and COMFORTABLE that your method of solving may differ from others, but it can still be ACCURATE!  We have to increase our children's abilities to problem solve with tenacity and create life-long learners with a growth mindset!  My dad used to call this the "margin of error"  and INvalidity of tests, and he always graded his University students' tests (he had a PhD in Computer Science & Engineering and was a pioneer in Technology in his day!) with this margin of error (or %age) in their favor.  Granted, it can go both ways and anyone who has ever graded papers can attest to mistakenly giving a correct mark on an inaccurate response, but this margin of error covers it all.   Bottom line:  be real, be flexible, be able to see the forest for the trees--REAL LEARNING is what matters, not a score on a test!  Many learn AFTER the test--and what matters is the's crossing that finish line of mastery, not the time it took you to get there!

Ok so what's the article, you might ask.  It's this:
errors on the test and why it matters in today's high stakes testing era

and it basically outlines how ANY company/publisher can have ERRORS.   Yes, you read that correctly.  ERRORS.  No big E right?  Well, that is all in how you view it, deal with it, and APPLY it to life! There. My $.02 for the day! Rant. Over. (Well, is she calling it a rant now? ;)  Said in my best Jim Gaffigan's audience-heckler-lady voice! :)

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