Opinion
Education Opinion

2014:A Space Odyssey...sort of

By LeaderTalk Contributor — January 29, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Depending on what draft of the NCLB you are looking at, in either 2013 or 2014, all public schools are supposed to have reached 100% proficiency in the areas of Math and English. In 2001, that deadline seemed so far away. Now that it is around the corner, what will happen to the US education system because of it? What are other cultures saying about us going so “test crazy”?

It is not uncommon to hear teachers gripe about how they are limited in what they can teach because they have to “teach to the test.” Teachers feel cramped by state standards and meeting the deadline of state exams. They claim that they do not have time to be creative, use technology, or go into depth about certain topics because they have too much material to cover before the big test day. Teachers know that data will be gathered and analyzed, reflecting a job well done or not well done, by administrators, the county they work in, and the state. It is no secret that the scores on the students’ papers affect how a teacher, school, district, and county are viewed and judged by the outside world. Standardized tests create stress for everyone involved in the educational system, and requiring all students to reach proficiency in the areas of Math and English by 2014 or 2041, is an unrealistic expectation that will leave most children behind or force states to totally dilute their standards to the point of no recognition.

Unlike the United States, China, a country which has been known for its rigorous education system, has begun a transformation. They have had a testing culture for thousands of years and now are trying to reverse it. The past fall, ASCD published Catching Up or Leading the Way (Zhao, 2009) which discusses what is wrong and what is right with the American education system and where it should be going. Zhao, who was raised and schooled in China, believes the federal government should stop endorsing standardized testing and instead reward schools for offering a diverse set of opportunities - from art to auto shop. According to Zhao, accountability should be “input-based” rather than “output-based,” with schools being graded on whether they provide safe and clean facilities and a learning environment that provides global learning opportunities.

Zhao is one of many writers who share this belief...so why is the US bent on using multiple choice tests? We are using broken tests and methods to try and designate a label of “proficiency” that lacks the true meaning of the word. So instead of just throwing stones, how do we get to more of a performance based assessment that could be rolled out on a massive scale? It will not be easy but with the technology that is available, it can be done. In fact, there are some models that already exist that could be rolled out. One that is getting a lot of attention is Project Appleseed, but this is only one. Other states are heavily investigating trying to go to performance based assessment but are hard pressed on how to meet the demands and requirements of NCLB.

So, if we really have to get to 100% proficiency, let’s make it true proficiency and make sure we are testing the right thing.

Teresa Ivey and James Yap

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)