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Old 09-05-2008, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Schertz TX
824 posts, read 419,933 times
Reputation: 115

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I don't think the argument against the taks test is teacher centered at all. Being an educator myself, I do not like the system at all. BUT, i dislike it for my kids and the kids I work with even more. The stress put on these kids is insane. My son has always been an A student and is already worried about this test. I agree there should be a test to see how well the teachers are doing and to see what the students need help on. That being said, the pressure that is put on our children is ridiculous!
It is also very sad that when a discussion starts in the classroom that it is quickly stifled to get back to what is going to be on the test. Kids learn in all different ways and having a discussion in class is one of them, just because the topic isn't going to be on the test doesn't mean it isn't a valuable teaching moment!
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:58 AM
 
Location: in my mind
2,745 posts, read 13,095,080 times
Reputation: 1605
Quote:
Originally Posted by allylang1 View Post
I don't think the argument against the taks test is teacher centered at all. Being an educator myself, I do not like the system at all. BUT, i dislike it for my kids and the kids I work with even more. The stress put on these kids is insane. My son has always been an A student and is already worried about this test. I agree there should be a test to see how well the teachers are doing and to see what the students need help on. That being said, the pressure that is put on our children is ridiculous!
It is also very sad that when a discussion starts in the classroom that it is quickly stifled to get back to what is going to be on the test. Kids learn in all different ways and having a discussion in class is one of them, just because the topic isn't going to be on the test doesn't mean it isn't a valuable teaching moment!

My youngest son is in 5th grade and has actually been moved up to 6th grade this year for Language Arts/Reading and Science due to being advanced and the administration feeling he'd be more challenged in the next level of classes. He always scores "commended" on the test and he still gets major, MAJOR anxiety about it each time.

My eldest (11th grade) has serious issues with math (he's classified as Spec. Ed for math), has a diagnosed learning disability pertaining to math, yet passes the math TAKS. How this is even possible, I don't know. I've seen his work! I suppose it's just regurgitation, memorizing and grasping info long enough to pass the test but not having actually LEARNED it.
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:36 AM
 
Location: The "original 36" of SA
816 posts, read 1,474,961 times
Reputation: 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by allylang1 View Post
It is also very sad that when a discussion starts in the classroom that it is quickly stifled to get back to what is going to be on the test. Kids learn in all different ways and having a discussion in class is one of them, just because the topic isn't going to be on the test doesn't mean it isn't a valuable teaching moment!
Agreed. Back in the day (well, the mid '80's), we had "Free-Form Fridays," in English. Someone would bring up a topic... say a commercial they saw; and then we would start to discuss it. All of a sudden we were talking about different layers and meanings.
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:46 AM
 
124 posts, read 227,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montirob View Post
Agreed. Back in the day (well, the mid '80's), we had "Free-Form Fridays," in English. Someone would bring up a topic... say a commercial they saw; and then we would start to discuss it. All of a sudden we were talking about different layers and meanings.
God help us all! I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Start teaching our kids Mandarin right now folks because at this rate we will all be working for the Chinese!

These "Free-form fridays" are exactly why we need the TAKS test.
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:01 PM
 
897 posts, read 2,614,861 times
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It seems to me that the only reason TAKS is used is to 1) verify that the student knows a certain amount of information at a certain point in their educational journey, 2) to hold teachers accountable who are not effective, and 3) determine how much tax money a school will receive.

What seems to happen is that in order to accomplish (2) and (3), teachers concentrate on making sure the kids know how to take the test, sometimes to the point of neglecting (1) When the TAKS is tied to their evaluations, or how much money their school gets, who can blame them? No wonder the kids stress out over the TAKS test -- the teachers are stressed out, too!

In addition to the TAKS issues, they also have to put up with unruly kids, non supportive parents and endless rules and paperwork that have nothing to do with their actual classroom teaching. And many of us would admit that we would not want to do their job, no matter what the pay!

I don't have a problem with some form of standardized test. I do have a problem with TAKS getting so much emphasis. If the state would get rid of the stigmas attached to TAKS, then perhaps it would solve part of the problem. Spend some time in the classrooms evaluating the effectiveness of the teachers' instruction. Provide those that are not performing with training so they will be effective. Make sure discipline is upheld in the classroom, or at least by the administrative personnel. Perhaps try using college accountability standards in the classrooms which have been modified for age-appropriateness.

The goal of the standardized tests should be to make sure the student has learned the material and will retain it, not to determine schools' share of the tax revenues.
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:00 PM
 
Location: The "original 36" of SA
816 posts, read 1,474,961 times
Reputation: 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by slonga View Post
God help us all! I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Start teaching our kids Mandarin right now folks because at this rate we will all be working for the Chinese!

These "Free-form fridays" are exactly why we need the TAKS test.
Why? My class (honors English) had already completed all of the "standard" curriculum. What should be taught in English? Diagramming sentences? Done. Learning vocabulary we would only see on the SAT test (with a little Latin thrown in)? Done.

So what does talking about advertisements have to do with English? Well, we deconstructed them. We examined how they used language to manipulate opinions. We noted things that were implied but not said so as to be legal. So how does this help us in the "real world"? Well, we were able to take the lessons and apply it to examining propaganda. We were able to write more persuasive essays. I guess you could say we learned how to examine things - a highly useful skill in my opinion.

Oh, and by the way, our school was always one of the top producers of National Merit Scholars.
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:18 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
2,397 posts, read 5,844,411 times
Reputation: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by catriona View Post
In addition to the TAKS issues, they also have to put up with unruly kids, non supportive parents and endless rules and paperwork that have nothing to do with their actual classroom teaching. And many of us would admit that we would not want to do their job, no matter what the pay!
My thoughts exactly!
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:23 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
545 posts, read 2,086,607 times
Reputation: 210
I've been biting my tongue all day on this, and now, because someone who has obviously never taught a day in their life is trying to make very broad generalizations about education in this country without, I might add, any type of statistics to back up their claims, I will say this: No standardized test (in their current forms) can test critical thinking skills, and this is an area where American students are seriously lacking:

Top News - Report: Students struggle with information literacy
CriticalThinking.org - Teaching Critical Thinking Skills to Fourth Grade Students Identified as Gifted and Talented

When a test comes around that determines a student's worth based on the whole year, and based on real world skills rather than memorization of basic facts, then I will stop complaining, but not until then.

And let me just throw in here, my first post in this thread about who was to blame for American children being tested to death is spot on. No Child Left Behind took the "one test determines all" policies of a Bush-run Texas and made them national education policy. The Secretary of Education for the United States has less of an education herself than many teachers do, and has never been an educator herself. It's politicians deciding what works best in the classroom, and that is a joke.
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:13 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
545 posts, read 2,086,607 times
Reputation: 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montirob View Post
Why? My class (honors English) had already completed all of the "standard" curriculum. What should be taught in English? Diagramming sentences? Done. Learning vocabulary we would only see on the SAT test (with a little Latin thrown in)? Done.

So what does talking about advertisements have to do with English? Well, we deconstructed them. We examined how they used language to manipulate opinions. We noted things that were implied but not said so as to be legal. So how does this help us in the "real world"? Well, we were able to take the lessons and apply it to examining propaganda. We were able to write more persuasive essays. I guess you could say we learned how to examine things - a highly useful skill in my opinion.

Oh, and by the way, our school was always one of the top producers of National Merit Scholars.
And this is why people who don't understand the educational process shouldn't be deciding what goes on in the classroom...they see this type of activity as pointless, when what it is really doing is stimulating critical and creative thinking skills instead of creating zombies who can only recite back what is told to them. These are the kinds of things great teachers do all the time...
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:24 PM
 
124 posts, read 227,180 times
Reputation: 55
Some great points here -- I would agree that teachers are not exclusively the problem. I would concur 100% with this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by catriona View Post
In addition to the TAKS issues, they also have to put up with unruly kids, non supportive parents and endless rules and paperwork that have nothing to do with their actual classroom teaching. And many of us would admit that we would not want to do their job, no matter what the pay!


However the point:

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaleman View Post
And let me just throw in here, my first post in this thread about who was to blame for American children being tested to death is spot on.

is clearly ludicrous. American kids are the most UNDERTESTED I have ever met. I have educated my kids in 3 countries (2 European and here). I would be happy to show you the levels of examinations that are standard in all of the European countries. My eldest child had to complete over 40 hours of examination over 2 weeks, not like the simple TAKS tests.

My beef with Teachers is that most refuse to accept that NCLB and the TAKS test, albeit imperfect, have been good additions and have helped to provide some accountability to our schools. This rejection of testing appears to be based on ideology and not what is inherently in the best interest of the kids.
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