Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Your Child: Data Generator

I was more than a little surprised to read in the Superintendent's blog that the school system is adding a new test to the seemingly endless barrage of testing our children endure. More testing? Seriously? Does anyone think that's a good idea?

I've been encouraged in recent months by a continuing movement in the state of Maryland pushing back against excessive testing. Parents and teachers are generally united on this front, and finally their voices are being heard. I found this statement from Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot to be to the point:

Comptroller Franchot remains adamantly opposed to the state’s obsession with standardized tests, which detract from teachers’ ability to effectively teach and students’ ability to actually learn.

Does this seem like a really good time to be crowing about additional, non-mandated testing?

From the Superintendent's blog:

I was pleased when the Global Learning Network, a professional learning community of educators and district leaders, selected HCPSS to feature in its case study videos. We’re highlighted as one of the first school systems in the country to participate in the OECD Test for Schools, an international benchmark aligned to the PISA test. Last year, all HCPSS high schools participated in this assessment, and the results have proven valuable in improving our instructional program.

The OECD test is the first real chance for us to compare our students’ performance against that of PISA-ranked nations, so we can better understand how to prepare our students to be global citizens. The OECD test doesn’t just measure what students know, but how well they can apply their knowledge to solve problems and the extent they are willing to take ownership of their own learning. This gives us a more complete picture of how we can enhance our instruction and will ultimately lead to better success for all our benchmarks of college and career readiness.

I don't think everyone took this test, so I am guessing that a certain (statistically relevant) number of students are selected at random and required to complete this test. I haven't heard any parents talking about this, but I don't think the students will see the results, nor will their parents. So that means the entire experience provides no benefit to the individual test-taker whatsoever.

"It provides us with so much good data!" is the overall explanation, from what I can see.

Your child. You love them, care for them, support them, sneak into their room when they are asleep and look at their angelic faces and think, "what a darling little data generator!"

Heartwarming, isn't it?

  • On December 1st there will be a meeting about State Bills directly related to Howard County Education--one about the Board of Education makeup, one about transparency.
  • On December 8th there will be a Town Hall meeting for citizens to be able to express their feelings about what is going on with the school system.
  • Students at Glenwood Middle continue to suffer an array of what appear to be mold-related health issues, and at least one student has been transferred out due to health reasons.
  • A member of the Board of Education is making nasty personal comments about a County Council member on Facebook.

And the school system is excited about more testing?

Color me confused. And please don't choose my child for more testing.







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