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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 05/27/2010

Postcards to Mrs. Obama: End high-stakes testing

By Valerie Strauss

My guest is Lisa Guisbond of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, a non-profit organization that works to end the flaws and misuse of standardized testing.

By Lisa Guisbond
Many teachers, parents and students have watched with dismay as President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan pursue an approach to education whose main difference from Bush-era policies seems only one of degree. In many ways, Duncan is taking the Bush administration's test-and-punish approach to new extremes.

For example, “Race to the Top” is pushing states to link teacher evaluations and pay to student test scores, despite ample evidence that this will worsen problems such as narrowed curriculum and teaching to the test.

It’s disappointing because we remember Obama’s strong campaign statements in which he seemed to recognize the harm done to classrooms by No Child Left Behind, as when he said, “too many teachers are forced to teach to fill-in-the-bubble tests.”

Mrs. Obama, too, spoke with passion about the way high-stakes tests can stifle learning and block talented students from reaching their potential.

“No Child Left Behind is strangling the life out of most schools," Mrs. Obama once said. "If my future were determined by my performance on a standardized test I wouldn't be here. I guarantee that."

Now a network of organizations, including FairTest, Time Out From Testing, the Forum for Education and Democracy, Rethink Learning Now, Citizens for Public Schools and many others, have launched a postcard campaign to Mrs. Obama.

Beginning tomorrow (May 28) and for the next two weeks, the groups ask that people send postcards to Mrs. Obama with this message:

“Dear Mrs. Obama:

"We want the same education for our public school children that you provide for Malia and Sasha.

"Our child is not a test score.

"Encourage the President to end the use of high stakes standardized tests!”

The point of this message is not that we expect an expensive private school education for all public school children. {The Obama girls attend private Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C.)

It’s that, like the Obama children, public school children deserve schools that offer rich, engaging and well-rounded curricula with a full menu of academic subjects as well as art, music, phys ed and recess.

Many public school students are losing access to this kind of education because of the mandated high-stakes testing of NCLB – even before the budget crises made things even worse. President Obama could be doing something to address these problems.

We hope that by reminding Mrs. Obama of what she said, she will talk to her husband about what needs to be changed.

For complete instructions on how to participate in this campaign, go to Time Out From Testing’s page on the postcard campaign.

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By Valerie Strauss  | May 27, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Guest Bloggers, Lisa Guisbond, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Standardized Tests  | Tags:  FairTest, fairtest, high-stakes standardized tests, michelle obama and tests, mrs. obama and standardized tests, no child left behind, obama and nclb, obama and race to the top, postcard campaign, postcard campaign to mrs. obama, postcards to first lady, postcards to michelle obama, postcards to mrs. obama, race to the top, standardized tests, standardized tests and results, the problem with race to the top, time out for testing  
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Comments

Good idea, I guess. It does seem impossible that they could send their kids to the school they go to and then back Race to the Top.

Posted by: celestun100 | May 27, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Many people don't understand why teachers are opposed to using standardized tests to evaluate teachers.. Sometimes if we look at individual situations, it's easier to see the whole picture.

Standardized tests are designed to measure the learning of a students at a certain grade level. Here are testing examples with two children that I am familiar with:

"James" is a privileged child from a professional household. Each year he travels to distant places with his parents who spend a lot of time discussing things with him. James is several grade levels above his peers and almost always knows everything on the grade level tests. He scores at the 99th percentile each time. Because he attends a school with other affluent children, many of his classmates also get very high scores. Their teachers are considered "excellent" and the school is considered "one of the best" in the nation.

"Jesse" learned to speak English when he entered kindergarten. His parents are hard-working people who have little time to spend with their son, who has rarely been out of his neighborhood. Now in the fourth grade, he speaks the language fairly well but is still significantly below grade level. The standardized test is not designed to measure the progress of a child who is more than a year below grade level so it looks as though Jesse has learned nothing in school when he has actually made a year's progress. Jesse's teacher looks "weak" and his school is considered "low-performing."

Testing experts agree that no GROUP test has been designed to measure the progress of each child in the class while evaluating the teacher. There are individual tests (administered by a psychologist) that can do this but of course that is very expensive. Another valid way would be for a professional (teacher, literacy coach etc.) to go into the classroom in the fall and then again in the spring to evaluate the progress of each child, but that's expensive too.

"Everyone" is looking for a cheap way to evaluate the progress of children and the effectiveness of their teachers at the same time. Well, there isn't any.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | May 27, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

One more point:

People like Michelle Rhee contend that the neglected, unhealthy child of two drug addicts can learn just as well as the privileged child of two professionals if he has "good" teachers. Common sense and over fifty years of research have told us that this is a big, fat lie designed to discredit our schools. The truth is that standardized test scores reflect the quality of the learning that takes place in the home, the school and the community. And, yes, it even reflects the abilities motivations, and efforts of the student. Does this really surprise anyone?

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | May 27, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

So according to Linda/Retired Teacher,

President Obama, a man from a single family household,

who didn't travel the world with his mommy and daddy

whose mother and grandparents were had working individuals

who wasn't brought up in an "affluent" neighborhood, but went to one of the the prestigous colleges in the nation

currently the President of the United States because his came from a family of "privilege" and teachers considered him "excellent"

Let us not forget he comes from a private school setting as well....Not.

I'm sorry Linda/RetiredTeacher, but your fairy tales can also be found in books while your seemingly strong elitist ideas perpetuate the problems within our education system and society as a whole.

Posted by: TwoSons | May 27, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Um, TwoSons. Obama went to Punaho, a prestigious private prep school in Honolulu. So, um, you clearly have no idea what you're talking about .

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | May 27, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

It a shame that High-Stakes testing are required in the first place.

I would love for anyone to provide answers why we have a very large percentage of adult individuals that can barely read/comprehend a novel or perform basic mathmatical problems without a calculator.

Oh wait, it's because they come from a family of hard working parents....right?

I'm being very cynical, and my apologies for that.

It's a terrible fact that the most powerful nation in the world not have the BEST educational system as well.

Posted by: TwoSons | May 27, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Um, TwoSons. Obama went to Punaho, a prestigious private prep school in Honolulu. So, um, you clearly have no idea what you're talking about .

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | May 27, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

_________________________

Um Title1SoccerMom...

the point I was making was that President Obama did not come from an elite family background of world travelers, etc. etc..

He grew up WITHOUT his father yet became a very successful man. His mother worked very very hard and very long hours. Her parents helped her son.

As I've posted in another blog, foreign schools (albeit public or prep) are way ahead of US schools.

Ummm...and by the way, President Obama didn't enter Punahou prep school until he entered 5th grade.

Posted by: TwoSons | May 27, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Two Sons:

Please read President Obama's biography and autobiographies again. He was a child who had the support of a loving, highly- educated mother who woke him up at 4:00 a.m to tutor him, as well as middle-income grandparents who pulled strings to get him into a private school. Even though his father was not present in his life, he had an advanced degree from Harvard and probably contributed I.Q. points. And yes, this was a child who traveled quite a lot and experienced different cultures.

Still, I am not talking about "poverty" in the sense of money. Many, many poor children have gotten splendid educations despite dire finanicial circumstances. But almost all of them had a supportive mom or dad, just as the president did. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I don't know of too many. Do you?

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | May 27, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

My Spanish speaking students are not as fluent in English as other students. In addition, my African American students are not fluent in white English.

Yet my Spanish speaking students and my African American students are forced to take tests written in white English. I am a white person.

My students are just as bright as white students. But their lack of fluency in white English causes them to score lower on standardized tests.

In addition, many of them have had relatives or friends who have been murdered in gang warfare. Or they have drug addiction or sexual abuse in their background. These children find it harder to concentrate when they come to school because their minds are often on their problems. Children who come from less problematic environments are better able to concentrate at school. And their parents are more likely to be involved in their schoolwork. This results in these students doing better on standardized tests.

Posted by: resc | May 27, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Even in affluent white neighborhoods you will find students with an unstable background doing poorly on standardized tests and in school. The difference between an affluent neighborhood and a poor neighborhood is that there are a greater percentage of children from unstable backgrounds in poor neighborhoods. In addition, they get less dental and medical care and are exposed to more violence than children in affluent neighborhoods.

Posted by: resc | May 27, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and something I need to add to my last comment. Children in poor neighborhoods are more likely to come from single parent households. If they have two parents at home they are generally both working. And there are more children in the family than in affluent neighborhoods. As a result you are more likely to have parents who are too worn out to get involved in their children's schoolwork than in affluent neighborhoods.

In addition, the schools in affluent neighborhoods have wealthier schools and more resources to teach the children. Affluent parents can also affod tutoring more easily.

Schools in poorer neighborhoods like the one I teach in have the bare minimun with which to teach. They also have larger classrooms and less teacher aides.

School resources make a difference also in how well students learn.

Posted by: resc | May 27, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama's mother was a Ph.D. anthropologist who took him to live with her in Indonesia for several years. Here’s the wikipedia account of his early education:

“From ages six to ten, Obama attended local schools in Jakarta, including Besuki Public School and St. Francis of Assisi School. In 1971, Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Armour Dunham, and attended Punahou School, a private college preparatory school, from the fifth grade until his graduation from high school in 1979.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama
His family was not rich, but they were well-traveled and well educated.

I know many other families, who while neither rich nor highly educated, still valued education and made sure their children received the best education they could afford. Though unable to travel extensively, they made sure their children were aware of the world around them through literature and awareness of current events.

Of course, there are people who are successful in life without having had attentive parents, but it’s hard to deny the value of such a benefit.

Posted by: efavorite | May 27, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Lisa, great idea! And it's time to replace those simplistic test scores with something that is more descriptive and has more meaning: conceptual rubrics and portfolios.

Posted by: postmode | May 27, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Education:

Kindergarten: Noelani Elementary School, Honolulu Hawaii
First – Fourth Grade: Jakarata Indonesia
Fifth-12th Grade: Punahou School, Honolulu Hawaii

Obama obtained his education during early primary & secondary years primarily in a foreign school. That's my point most of all. Can it be said that if attended traditional public/private schools within the U.S. he would not be in the position he is today?

His mother, who was a PhD didn't trust her only son within the walls of the public school system?

Let's take a look at Michelle Obama.

Her father was a city pump operator and worked and lived with multiple scherosis. Their family (two parents, three children) lived in a one bedroom apartment in Chicago.

The point I'm making is that afluent/wealthy parents do not ALWAYS equate successful offspring. A great deal of success stories DO come from poverty areas as well, to include children raised by single parents.

As I posted yesterday, does socieoeconomic background make a difference and quantify a teachers ability to provide instruction to students?

Does a teachers home life such as separation, divorce, sick child or relative, spouse losing job, impact frame of mind while providing instruction?

Do teachers suffer from lack of sleep sometimes as well?

The same or similar homelife/social issues that could impact a child's ability to learn are similar social issues that could impact teachers ability to provide instruction.

The goal is to bridge the gap and resolve the tragic issues that plague our current educational system. At the moment, standardized testing is the bridge that's available.

Parents may not like it. Teachers may not like it. But shamefully one cannot trust test scores that occur within classrooms anymore.

Alot of energy if provided to the identifying problems, to include the problems relating to standardized testing. One would hope the same amount of time and energy is placed toward solution.

These kids, our future, deserve alot better then the status quo.

Posted by: TwoSons | May 27, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget the child who has suffered disadvantages from the womb via a mother who smoked, lived in a polluted area, chemically affected thru' hazards at work, nutritionally malnurished (few fruits and veggies = poor antioxidant reserve, thus more prone to illness), chronically in a state of stress due to relationship and/or economic issues, and the list goes on......

Furthermore, an infant born to a mother living in an area of high indoor or outdoor combustion pollution is at greater risk of low-birth weight, being born small for gestational age, low apgar scores, respiratory illness during infancy and childhood, asthma, SIDS, lower IQ, learning problems, hearing problems, heart defects, and more.

Great teachers are wonderful. Yet, we still need to consider that the child is coming to school physically ready to learn - not protein deficient, has pinworms, itchy rashes of unknown origin, and other problems that are common yet go under the radar of the teacher or school nurse.

For the children of smokers, reading ability may lag behind peers until age 9 or 10, at which time extra reading instruction can reap great rewards.

As for standardized testing - not a fan at all!

Posted by: shadwell1 | May 27, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"The goal is to bridge the gap and resolve the tragic issues that plague our current educational system. At the moment, standardized testing is the bridge that's available."

It's what's being used, but it is not a bridge it is not effective and cannot be resolve the problems in our system.

"These kids, our future, deserve alot better then the status quo."

Right - and the status quo is rating kids' education and their teachers' effectiveness through standardized testing.


Posted by: efavorite | May 27, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Two Sons:

Thank you for your clarification. I can see from your last post that we are talking past one another. Perhaps I am responsible for this misunderstanding because of the examples I gave in my 12:42 post. I was looking at the extremes that we find in education (i.e. the very advantaged child versus the very disadvantaged).

Let me be clear that I don't consider either President Obama or Mrs. Obama to have been "disadvantaged" or "poor" children. Both had hard-working parents and grandparents who took parenting very seriously and made certain their children received the best education possible. Both children were "rich" in the sense of family. I especially admire the story of (the disabled) Mr. Robinson trudging to work each day to support his family. These children were definitely not "poor" in the sense that I mean. In fact, I would describe them as educationally "advantaged." It's worth noting that the president's sister and Mrs. Obama's brother also did very well in school and have successful careers. Both the president and the First Lady give their parents credit for the educational opportunities that they had.

As someone pointed out above, the truly disadvantaged child can be found in schools that serve the poor and the affluent, although more are usually found in low-performing schools. These are the children who are neglected and/or abused. There is no one at home to look at their homework or read a book. They might not get the glasses they need or the medicine to make it possible to attend school each day. Dad is often absent and Mom could be on drugs. These are the children I'm talking about. Sadly there are many of them. Teachers want support for these children instead of the insipid mantra "no excuses." Staying home from school because of untreated asthma IS an excuse. Let's help these children instead of pretending their problems are negligible.

As for the private schools selected by Obama's mother, I have found that effective parents almost always locate the best school possible for their children, whether public or private. They rarely settle for a school that they deem "low-performing" or unsafe. That has been my experience.

So if you are saying that children from modest or even very poor financial circumstances can do well in school, then I definitely agree with you. In fact most do. But if you are saying that a severely neglected child can do just as well as a cared-for child if we give him good teachers, then I disagree, although I will say again that there are always exceptions.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | May 27, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Before standardized testing, it WAS left in the hands of teachers.

Teachers alone.

Why did it change?

What factors created the requirement for testing progress/achievement levels and assuring accuracies of report card reading?

Oh yeah, it's that sophomore in high school that is reading on third grade level.

OR

Maybe it's that junior in high school that needs a calculator to solve basic math equasions.

NO that cannot be...

MAYBE...It's that senior that just graduated high school but can barely fill out an employment application.

Posted by: TwoSons | May 27, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

sorry..typo

solve basic math "equations"

Posted by: TwoSons | May 27, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

@ shadwell1

When was there ever a time in history that there weren't students with special needs, health issues, allergies, homelife issues, emotional and physical outbursts and whatever disabilities students may have?

There are resources, special programs, and actual schools and classrooms that are specially designed and identified to address and that are suppose to provide resources to these students. To include specific teachers (that have received appropriate training), aids and support provided.

LindaRetired/Teacher, when and where did I say that involved or proactive parents not a factor? I've always stated that parents must work WITH teachers and provide a support system at home.

I used President Obama as an example because he was brought up without a father. He acquired his early primary/secondary education from a school outside of the US.

His mother, who was a PhD, was a single parent that worked very very long hours (and probably why Obama had to wake up at 4 AM to do homework), and she still disallowed her only son near a public school, although he could have attended one of the best in the country.

I believe are the core issues of school systems and its lack of CONSISTENT classroom progress(even after tons of $$$ placed within) is a combination of poor parenting AND poor teaching.

Posted by: TwoSons | May 27, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Twosons: you raise legitimate concerns about education and teacher quality. But you, along with so many others who are all rah-rah-rah about testing make the fundamentally false assumption that good test scores = proof of good education and good teaching.

It doesn't take a good teacher to produce high test scores. In fact, the teaching techniques needed to produce high scores are often inferior to teaching that produces a student who is able to find several ways to solve a complicated problem, or to write well, or to construct an intelligent critique of a government policy.

Many very good teachers get high scores out of their students, but much of the time spent in practicing the format could be spent in doing something that doesn't bore the kids to tears--and that's exactly what happens.

There are plenty of mediocre to poor teachers whose students score well on the SOLs. Sadly, before long, that will be the only kind of teacher left to teach in Virginia public schools.

Posted by: aed3 | May 27, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Twosons: you raise legitimate concerns about education and teacher quality. But you, along with so many others who are all rah-rah-rah about testing make the fundamentally false assumption that good test scores = proof of good education and good teaching.

It doesn't take a good teacher to produce high test scores. In fact, the teaching techniques needed to produce high scores are often inferior to teaching that produces a student who is able to find several ways to solve a complicated problem, or to write well, or to construct an intelligent critique of a government policy.

Many very good teachers get high scores out of their students, but much of the time spent in practicing the format could be spent in doing something that doesn't bore the kids to tears--and that's exactly what happens.

There are plenty of mediocre to poor teachers whose students score well on the SOLs. Sadly, before long, that will be the only kind of teacher left to teach in Virginia public schools.

Posted by: aed3 | May 27, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

TwoSons,

You are not believeable. I work in schools and I know that what you are saying is not the truth.

Posted by: jlp19 | May 27, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

TwoSons shows his lack of knowledge of standardized tests. EVERYONE who knows something about them knows they are neither valid nor reliable.

And then he comes up with this crap about children in poor areas being able to compete with children from rich areas. I suggest TwoSons go work in a school in a poor area and learn the truth so he will stop spouting his crap.

Posted by: jlp19 | May 27, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

TwoSons,

You very obviously have no experience as either a teacher or as an administrator. Why don't you get a long-term sub position in a school with low test scores? Maybe then you would understand what people have been trying to tell you.

Posted by: resc | May 27, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama attended a public school in Indonesia.

twosons - let's face it - you backpedaled when it was made perfectly clear to you that you were wrong about Obama's education. You presented his background as if it hadn't been presented before.

Linda was very gracious, I thought, in explaining the significant similarities between Barack Obama's family and Michelle Obama's family, but you chose to confront her anyhow.

Not very constructive, I don't think.

Posted by: efavorite | May 27, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Here's an idea; how about a national "keep your kids home on test day" movement? If even a fraction of parents did this, it would make all the numbers invalid, even for propaganda purposes. Maybe all that money that gets sucked into the testing business could be put back into repairing leaking classroom roofs and buying books and updated technology.

Posted by: aed3 | May 27, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

TwoSons,

Yes, there have always been students that need special attention, but there is an overabundance of time now devoted to test prep rather than proper teaching.

Posted by: shadwell1 | May 27, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

TwoSons,

Yes, there have always been students that need special attention, but there is an overabundance of time now devoted to test prep rather than proper teaching.

Posted by: shadwell1 | May 27, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

"how about a national 'keep your kids home on test day' movement?"

aed3 - what a wonderful idea!

Posted by: efavorite | May 27, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

RESC posted

My students are just as bright as white students. But their lack of fluency in white English causes them to score lower on standardized tests.

This is why teachers don't get it. Standard English matters and if kids do not have it they are not sufficiently educated to get a job paying any living wage. This will often haunt these kids into the job market, most employers expect "White English" or Standard English whatever you want to call it. Until we are more honest about this issue we will continue to tell kids a lie that we are educating them. Standardized test won't fix this problem, but they do expose it more explicitly than most of us want to acknowledge.

Posted by: Brooklander | May 28, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Everyone, in debating how things "used to be," is overlooking the effect of the baby-boomer generation. Standardized tests became big business during these years, few students were held back or advanced during these years, and teacher quality dropped during these years. There were simply too many of us to deal with except on a herd basis. We could not be retained or skipped because the classroom didn't have any more room; I can remember reporting 35 students in my elementary classroom and my mother saying, "Oh, good, you've got a small class." At one point, a dozen students from the third grade were mixed with a dozen students from the fourth grade in one classroom with one teacher to cope with the overflow. We had study halls on stage in the gym while a phys ed class used the gym floor. The late-morning study hall in my high school had to pack up its books early because it was in the cafeteria and the staff had to set out the condiments on the tables. Sometimes we had a teacher who was hired a few days before school started, some of them had only two years of college and were still finishing their degrees, and the state superintendent in a neighboring state admitted to a newspaper that teachers who couldn't get licensed in his state were encouraged to come to rapidly-growing systems like ours because "they need teachers so badly they'll hire anybody." Naturally, there were too many students to evaluate individually, and grading essays took forever; multiple choice tests, especially since they could be scored by computer, were much quicker. Unfortunately, these were not viewed as temporary solutions; once in place, they just kept getting refined instead of re-thought.

Posted by: sideswiththekids | May 28, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Source: Maryland State Department of Education: http://mdk12.org

Teacher Qualifications:

Montgomery County: Annual Yearly Progress Made in 2009 (Yes)
Enrollment as of September 30, 2008: 139,282

Standard Professional 39.0%
Advanced Professional 57.5%
Resident Teacher 0.1%
Conditional Teacher 1.2%

Percentage of classes NOT taught by Highly Qualified Teachers: 6.1%

Baltimore County: Annual Yearly Progress Made (Yes)
Enrollment in school as of September 30, 2008: 103,180
Standard Professional 36.7%
Advanced Professional 57.5%
Resident Teacher 1.0%
Conditional Teacher 2.8%

Percentage of classes NOT taught by Highly Qualified Teachers: 10.2%

Prince Georges County Public Schools: Annual Yearly Progress Made (No)

Enrollment inschool as of September 30, 2008: 127,977

Standard Professional 28.2%
Advanced Professional 51.4%
Resident Teacher 3.4%
Conditional Teacher 8.0%

Percentage of classes NOT taught by Highly Qualified Teachers: 18%

So, based on the information above, can it be said that the percentage differences between Teacher Qualifications could be used as determining factors relating to school system annual yearly progress? Meaning, higher percentages of Standard, Advanced teachers in the classroom makes a difference regarding annual yearly progress?

In addition, the percentage of classes NOT taught by highly qualified teachers seems to contribute to county school systems’ annual yearly progress (or not) as well.

Posted by: TwoSons | May 28, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

TwoSons,

Yes, there have always been students that need special attention, but there is an overabundance of time now devoted to test prep rather than proper teaching.

Posted by: shadwell1 | May 27, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

_______________

Thanks for your comment shadwell1, but it's my understanding that students with special needs follow different testing criterias regarding MSA & HSA.

efavorite,

the point I was making was that President Obama received early primary/secondary in a public school outside of the US, albeit a public school in Indonesia. Upon return to US, his mother didn't allow her only son within the walls of US Public Schools, although he probably could have gone to one of the best public schools on US soil.

Below is the purpose of standardized testing in MD. Once high school students pass HSAs in MD they do not have to take them again. Many pass them before entering their junior year.

http://mdk12.org/data/progress/index.html

Try asking school staff where each of their students is on the reading comprehension objective "drawing inferences." Which students are proficient? What evidence do they have that those students are proficient? What evidence do they have to identify what students who are not proficient still need to learn?

Both research and common sense support the notion that we need to monitor student performance on an ongoing basis. If we are ever to know how we are doing, we will need to know where our students are. But that has been a challenge in schools. Try asking school staff where each of their students is on the reading comprehension objective "drawing inferences." Which students are proficient? What evidence do they have that those students are proficient? What evidence do they have to identify what students who are not proficient still need to learn? Educators who don't know where their students are do not have enough information to know how best to use their instructional time or which students need specific instructional interventions.

Annual data from the state assessments only gives schools a snapshot of where students are at a single point in time. DAILY INSTRUCTION CONTINUES BETWEEN WHEN TESTS ARE GIVEN [emphasis added] and when the results are returned to schools. Teachers must know on a day to day basis where their students are in relation to the content standards to have the necessary information to inform instruction.

Posted by: TwoSons | May 28, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

TwoSons writes: So, based on the information above, can it be said that the percentage differences between Teacher Qualifications could be used as determining factors relating to school system annual yearly progress? Meaning, higher percentages of Standard, Advanced teachers in the classroom makes a difference regarding annual yearly progress?

In addition, the percentage of classes NOT taught by highly qualified teachers seems to contribute to county school systems’ annual yearly progress (or not) as well.
--------------------
One certainly could draw those conclusions from the data. Of course there is a lot of missing data regarding students that might also explain why a school system met AYP.

Isn't it interesting that the school systems with the higher salaries have more highly qualified teachers?

Posted by: musiclady | May 28, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

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