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Archive for the ‘TAKS’ Category

The Unprinted Letter About Changes in U.S. Education

Posted by DallasBlackBlog on Saturday, September 8, 2007

A letter from Richard Pring that the New York Times did not print:

New York Times Dear Editor,

I have read with interest the report of Sir Michael Barber’s address to New York Principals on the lessons to be learned from Britain on how to improve schools. (NYT 15 Aug. 07) However, may I along with so many in England who have seen the consequences of the innovations led by Sir Michael, urge caution. Not everyone agrees with his analysis, and indeed the £1 million Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training in for England and Wales, which I lead, is not, in the light of evidence, presenting such a rosy picture.

It is not surprising that Sir Michael, having been Director of Standards and Effectiveness at the Department of Education and Skills and then head of delivery in the Prime Minister’s Office at No. 10, should have finally moved to McKinsey’s, which believes that what is real can be measured and what can be measured can be controlled. In the last few years, England has created the most tested school population in the world from age 5 to age 18. School improvement lies in scoring even higher in the national tests, irrespective of whether these tests bear any relation to the quality of learning, and schools which see the poverty of the testing regimesuffer the penalty of going down the very public league tables.

The results of the ‘high stakes testing’ are that teachers increasingly teach to the test, young people are disillusioned and disengaged, higher education complains that those matriculating (despite higher scores) are ill prepared for university studies, and intelligent and creative teachers increasingly feel dissatisfied with their professional work. I believe it is no coincidence that, according to the recent UNICEF Report, children in England are at the bottom of the league of rich countries in terms of happiness and feelings of well-being, or that England now criminalises 230,000 children between 11 and 17 each year (the highest in absolute and relative terms in the whole of Europe), or that nearly 10% of 16-18 year olds belong to the Not in Education, Training and Employment group, despite the massive investment in that group over the last ten years. And why should one expect anything else as most of their day light hours consists of preparing for tests, totally disconnected from their interests and concerns, present or future?

The Nuffield Review is starting from the basic question, never asked by Government during Sir Michael’s turn in high office, namely, ‘What counts as an educated 19 year old in this day and age?’. The answers which we are receiving from teachers, universities, employers and the community would point to a system very different from the one which Sir Michael nurtured and is now selling to the United States.

Yours sincerely

Professor Richard Pring Lead Director, Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training for England and Wales Former Director: Oxford University Department of Education Studies

— Diane Ravitch
Huffington Post



Posted in Education, Education Policy, Education Reform, High-Stakes Testing, NCLB, No Child Left Behind, Public Education, TAKS, Urban Education | Leave a Comment »

Teachers Refuse State Bonuses

Posted by DallasBlackBlog on Friday, August 31, 2007

Teachers and staff at a Fairbanks elementary school are turning down bonuses offered by the state.

The staff at Pearl Creek Elementary School appreciate being recognized for the good work they do, but don’t want a monetary reward for doing what they’re already paid to do.

The school was one of 42 across the state whose staff were recently awarded cash bonuses because of student improvement on standardized assessment tests.


Posted in Education, Education Reform, High-Stakes Testing, Merit Pay, NCLB, No Child Left Behind, Public Education, TAKS, Teacher Bonuses, Urban Education | Leave a Comment »

Eighth-Graders Face The Stress of TAKS – Guinea Pigs For Texas’ Latest Experiment In High-Stakes Testing

Posted by DallasBlackBlog on Sunday, August 26, 2007

Houston Chronicle
Aug. 26, 2007, 7:26AM


Class of 2012 on front lines of high-stakes tests, but effect of stress raises concerns
Kirby Middle School eighth-grader Eddie Maxwell practices the same ritual every night before a high-stakes test: He takes a warm bath and says lots of prayers.

It’s a recipe he’ll have to rely on again this year as eighth-graders statewide are required to pass the reading and math parts of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills before they can start high school.

The Class of 2012, now the poster children for standardized testing in Texas, was the first required to pass the test to be promoted as third-graders in 2003 and as fifth-graders in 2005.

Texas’ 13-year-olds are on the front lines of high-stakes testing, sitting for more must-pass tests than any class before them. Though the full impact of the state’s extensive testing won’t be known for some time, experts worry that the extra stress may have ill effects on this class, including increased anxiety and higher dropout rates.

“They’re certainly the guinea pigs for Texas’ latest experiment in high-stakes testing,” said Bob Schaeffer, public education director for the nonprofit National Center for Fair & Open Testing.


Posted in Education, Education Reform, High-Stakes Testing, NCLB, No Child Left Behind, Public Education, TAKS, TEA, Texas Education Agency, Urban Education | Leave a Comment »