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Thompson: Texas Testing Backlash

Mmw_testinglearning_articleThe Houston Chronicle's Monica Rhor writes in "School Officials: High Stakes Tests Failing Students" that a "mounting chorus of school administrators, educators and parents is speaking out against a system in which they say testing has eclipsed teaching." At least 40 school boards across Texas have gone on record against the bubble-in craze and even state Education Commissioner Robert Scott condemns the testing culture as "the heart of the vampire." Rhor writes, "what began as a way to measure student learning, administrators and school trustees say, has ballooned into a 'drill-and-kill' cycle of test preparation, district benchmark assessments and practice exams that leaves little time for classroom instruction." And this public backlash is taking place before the new STAAR testing regime takes full effect and increases the stakes and the costs of  testing, during a time of budgetary cutbacks. We in Oklahoma City have fond memories of Guy Sconzo, who is now superintendent of the Humble ISD.  I was pleased to see Sconzo go on record against the 45 days of the school year that are interrupted by standardized tests, and four-hour-long, high-stakes exams that 3rd graders must take. "It's a single-moment-in-time assessment that does not come close to measuring all that Texas students are expected to learn," Sconzo said.-JT (@drjohnthompson)image via.

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Testing is a four-letter word today, whereas in my days, in France, it was the sine qua non of education, not only written tests, mostly essays; but also oral tests. As a matter of fact tests need not be confined to multiple choice questions.
And we were none the worse for it. I don’t think that I carried any scars from it during my life, which leads me to question the current argument over it in America. Let us support, demand, education and the budgets to pay for it for all children. I am personally more concerned about the opportunity for children to get a decent education than about whether they should be tested or not, a point on which I strongly favor testing as a measure of one’s potential and eventual success.
Rene Pouteau / TUTOR DOCTOR

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