Friday, June 11, 2010

My Response To NY Times Article on Teachers Changing Student Test Scores

Go NEA's latest edition and look for the NY Times article on Teachers and Cheating.

NYT Article below:


Teachers and testing are getting lots of coverage of late. Tying test results to our paychecks in unfair. The teachers and administrators in this article did the unthinkable and changed answers or coached kids to find the correct answer.

Though I empathize with them, I would never do it. What role model would I be? Instead I voice my outrage of NCLB every time I get in the hopes that eventually there will be enough outraged citizens to devise alternative assessments.


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Fremont, CA

My heart goes out to those teachers/administrators who, in a weak moment, did the unthinkable--change answers. That being said, as a teacher of close to 30 years (university, high school, teacher training, and online instruction), I have refused to ever entertain such a thought. What role model would I be for students if I committed such an act?

Instead, Pres. Obama and all the other powers that be, should re-evaluate this obsession with testing and tying results to teacher paychecks. I teach second language learners who give it their best shot regardless of the test that they are given. As I proctor the test, I see them struggle in trying to answer questions that have a couple of words in them that they don't know even though they know the content! When they raise their hands to ask for clarification, I repeat (as per the manual) that I can only re-read the question, but can not explain words.

Aside from the horrendous testing setting is the fact that there is TOO MUCH of it! Less and less time is being allocated for teaching. I have to keep instructional pacing calendars and benchmark exams in mind as I try to move even more lessons around to accommodate required state testing (including California's discriminatory high school exit examination). As high-stakes tests approach, I have to take class time to address test-taking strategies (done in smaller doses throughout the year, but more intensive when tests dates start closing in on us). Do teachers teach to the test? Probably. Is it a good idea? I don't think so, but when you are between and rock and a hard place, what other options do you have?



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