Do you think test scores are a good indication of a school's competency?
Well that is a loaded question because there are several types of tests that are administered to determine a school's competency that vary in many ways too numerous to describe here. Because of the parameters used to design the tests the tests that are administered give results that are generally not objective but are interpreted subjectively by the school boards who can put the spin they want on the results. So although they can be a good indication in many situations they are rendered useless by subjective analysis of results. There are instances where one set of test results showed no improvement over a few years so the school board switches to a different test which gives better results and sometimes several years of testing have to be done before results can be evaluated satisfactorily. As long as the school board is in charge you have a situation where the fox is guarding the hen house. I taught and I know there just isn't any substitute for having qualified talented teachers with effective teaching techniques and so the teacher's are who should be tested and evaluated daily, not so much the kids if you want to improve the quality of education but that will never happen in the public school system. Just testing the children on what they learned is like closing the barn door after the horse has left. It may or may not help the horses still in the barn but won't bring back the one who left.
Short answer: No. Long answer: The tests we currently use and include on a school's report card vary widely and are not necessarily based on any standards common to other states. Also, it is important to keep in mind that these tests currently run for about two weeks straight, and the students get so much testing fatigue that it really becomes a test of attention and endurance, not academic ability or learning on the part of students. It's also important to understand that the tests that are cheapest to create and administer are the ones that are easy to score (multiple choice) and that this is the least effective test format in evaluating learning. Essays, for example, are one of the most effective methods of evaluating learning, but those tests cost millions of dollars a year to administer and score, meaning they're not a favorite among state legislatures. If we think that tests truly measure a school's effectiveness, there are more unanswered questions, such as why the poorest schools consistently yield the lowest scores, and whether or not that translates to poor teaching, inadequate absorption or motivation on the part of students, lack of support for education in the homes, or just a basic lack of funding.
Standardized testing is big business in education. School districts spend millions on standardized testing. Test scores is an important indicator of learner progress. Educators and school districts are held accountable for student progress: Many times, standardized test scores are used to determine a teachers competency or effectiveness. Educators are on the first lines of defense: School districts and state politicians use test scores as an accountability tool. In Chicago, failing schools are based primarily on test scores.
Do I believe that test scores are a good indication of a school's competency? Our schools make up a variety of learners. Should all learners regardless of ability have the same learning expectations? In Chicago, educators were told that standardized testing goals should be 100%. In a classroom, an educator may have learners severely below grade level. It is challenging to help all learners to experience growth in 8 months in the current grade level: Especially, when students are two or three grade levels behind. Therefore, looking at test scores seems like an easy answer to determine a schools competency. However, educators know that other variables are involved. Unfortunately, standardized funding and politics play an important role in school closings. By the way, the schools re-open as charter schools with the same students. However, the expectations are not the same. (My answer: No!)
I teach near Chicago, Missy. I have a former colleague in CPS. Congratulations on your contract.
I left in 2009 to manage/owner operator of a day care. I have talked to several colleagues and they are please with the majority of the plan. I hope this plan proves to better than the one I had.
Its a very interesting and relevant question. I'll say that test scores are important only if tests are designed purposely. Tests must be limited in number so that tests do not become a burden or a luxury. Every school should design tests to serve specific purposes like testing memorize power, aptitude, IQ etc. in-depth knowledge may be acquired by a student based on the interest. In some countries, tests are conducted just to test the memorizing powers of its pupil and this attitude makes the test a burden.
Tests should be used to determine how much a child knows. We should not make students ready for tests. The students should test when they are ready! In the old days a teacher would determine when the class had studied enough. Teaching to the test is like cheating! Furthermore, "competency" should not be an issue of concern. The amount of people who keep their children enrolled should be the determining factor. This is why issuing school vouchers is the solution. People will determine the best schools with their feet. Other schools will have to rise to higher standards to keep their students. Current thinking is very archaic. Eventually the new age will abolish inhuman teaching policies.
No, test scores are not an example of a school competency. First, you have to determine how much the children have learned. If they are on the low side, is it because of the school, or is it because of home conditions, such as one-parent households, poverty, threatening neighborhoods, lack of access to latest technology, etc.
Students from rich families are not necessarily any smarter than those from poorer families, but they probably do not have to work after school, have fewer chores to do at home, can get professional tutoring help if needed and the school may have an atmosphere to foster learning, such as a new school, special labs, etc.
If a school is not performing well it is not fair to blame to students are the teachers. All teachers are not paid the same and some work two jobs. In Louisiana public school teachers receive a base salary from the state and then each parish (country) can supplement that pay. Some pay very well, some do not pay anything over the state supplement.
Schools may need to be evaluated, but not in a competitive format. You set a standard, determine the tools to met that standard, and see to it that each school has those tools.
No. All we're doing today is teaching the children how to become good test takers. Look at the baby boomer generation. They did not grow up taking standardized tests and they all turned out fine.
No. I can personally recall purposefully failing tests as a kid, simply because it was "cool" to "get an F." Oh, and this one time in high school, they got the idea that kids performed better in the morning. So they opened school an entire hour early, at 7am we had to be there sitting in the classroom. Well they gave us till noon to complete the test, so I filled in all the bubbles as quickly as I could and took a nap!
I do not think that test scores are a good indication of a school's competency. If you have a school that is over crowded how can teachers be expected to teach effectively? Having a classroom with too many students can be overwhelming to even the best teachers. Then there is the issue of some students being very smart but not good at taking tests. Those children may be very smart however because they are not good at test taking they bring the overall score of the school down. There are so many other things that I could but I feel these are two of the biggest reasons that school competency should not be judged by tests. We need to find a more effective way of evaluating our schools so that each school has a fair chance.
As well as test scores you also have to take into account the advancement made by the children at a school. If a school only admits the most academic children and excludes others and manages to maintain their high test scores, this does not necessarily mean that the teaching is of the highest quality. A school which takes children of all abilities but manages to advance test scores significantly for the children who were at the lower end of the academic ladder when they started, is a school which which has added value i.e. they have progressed well from their starting point.
Teaching a clever kid and getting good test scores is not that great a challenge. Teaching less academic children and bringing them up to par is more of a challenge. You have to remember to compare like with like when comparing schools.
UK school league tables actually have a column where you can check on the "value added" which is very useful.
However, another complication is that some parents give extensive help at home and/or employ a tutor to help their children, and so the progress a child makes is not solely down to a school.
I'd say it can be. When I was in highschool we had to take a test called the NWEAs. The test is a dynamic, computer based test. The way it works is you start off at what the average student in your grade should be at. By answering questions right you progress to tougher questions. If you answer wrong, they get easier. This is great because you can track progress based on the difficulty scale, rather than just percentages.
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