Thompson: Fun Ways To Resist the Standardization of Writing
The annual spring testing madness always prompts condemnations of "reform" that are rooted in evidence and logic. This year, students are teaching teachers where we went wrong as we tried to reason with the data-driven crowd. For instance, testing critics have attacked the latest standardized "nonsense answer" involving the timeless issue of whether the pineapple is smarter than the owl. But, in "When Pineapple Races Hare, Students Lose, Critics of Standardized Tests Say," the New York Times reports that the same basic question has been asked in many states since 2007. Eight graders have the savvy, however, to use derision against the bubble-in regime, proclaiming, “Pineapples don’t have sleeves.” Similarly, Wineri'ps Facing a Robo-Grader? Just Keep Obfuscating Mellifluously" will prompt plenty of sober criticisms of a testing industry which dumbs down its human graders so that they produce the same grades as a algorithm. The better approach is to revel in the absurdity of our hi-tech teach to the test regimes. When the annual test prep season sucks all of the life from classrooms, teachers should prep students on creating prose to compete with this top-ranked essay, "The average teaching assistant makes six times as much money as college presidents..." because "Their union is greater than the Teamsters or Freemasons, though it is slightly smaller than ... Jedi Knights." Students can thus learn the tricks of the testing trade and wrestle with the real message being sent by "reformers" about, "the real reason for education, to get those good grades without thinking too much."-JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.