Thursday, March 18, 2010

NCLB Reauthorization - Everyone Is Getting Into the Discussion and That's a Good Thing!

Today's NYT editorial on the re-authorization of NCLB made a few good points, especially about measuring school and teacher success. While I believe that measurement is a good thing, the way in which district and school success is measured must be broadened. Good teachers monitor and measure their students' performance and growth all year using many tools. Teachers look at student products, project work, progress and end of unit tests, collaboration activities, and individual reports from self-paced learning programs. Using a test score from a single day in the school year to make any determination about the performance of schools is absurd. In California, the STAR test has no meaning for 11th graders as many have already passed the high school exit exam and only care about grades and SAT scores. There are no consequences for kids from the high stakes tests results, so what motivates them to do well except the fear that well-meaning, but misguided teachers drive into them? I've heard from many parents and teachers that there are much more meaningful measures of a school's and teachers' success. Using today's technology advances, let districts and states decide how to measure effective schools using a broader view of student performance so teachers can get back to providing a broader, more meaningful curriculum.


Pryor-E said...

Peg: While I agree with your comments, I question letting each district and / or state determine its own measures. Works for the conscientious; what about the others? Or are there others? I don't work this venue typically, so I'm not sure.

Peg said...

Rosalie, Thanks for your observation. I understand that some districts may choose the wrong metrics, so I agree that a framework or guidelines for measuring success, along with a minimum required set of metrics (with a broad view of the student)would be necessary to ensure quality. While test scores across districts and states are helpful for comparison, they are only one metric, and should not be used to punish districts and withhold funding Remember the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills that we all took? That was just one interesting data point.