Sunday, July 20, 2008

Not That We Need Any, But Here's Another Downside of Standardized Testing

This didn't really surprise me when I read the story this morning: Texas students are having a hard time with the written portion of the TAKS test:
Kids today are whizzes at text-messaging.

But when they're asked to craft a well-thought-out answer based on a short piece they've read, many are all thumbs.

A small part of the high school language arts TAKS tests has become a sinkhole for even the state's best students.

Then they must support those ideas with evidence from the text in a well-written response.

It's a challenge that's vexing high school students and their teachers.
As I said, I'm not surprised; when teachers have to spend an inordinate amount of time "teaching to the test," things like critical thinking tend to get pushed to the side. Some people quoted in the article blame things like students' short attention spans and even cell phones and video games. But to me, this is just one more downside to the over-reliance on standardized tests. The TAKS test can't go away at the high school level soon enough.

Read the whole thing, as well as the accompanying sample of student writings that show varying levels of acceptability for the test.

Setting up camp: Jazz Camp began this afternoon, so posting may be spotty on some days this week; I'll chime in from time to time with the highlights, but otherwise, the camp "owns" me until Friday night.

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