Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Double Dipping "Double Dipping"

A few more thoughts on yesterday's blog about Timmy's teacher taxing parents to tutor her own students in test taking for upcoming standardized tests. Besides collecting "overtime" for work that a teacher should be doing as part of her regular education program, consider:

What happens to those students from low income families who, perhaps struggling the most, are least able to afford the cost of extra help. Why is such an offering acceptable within a public system?

Do you recall the part of the teacher's email that offered to help students learn to "reduce anxiety" when taking a test? Where does that anxiety come from? Might the teacher herself be a source of it? I am going to overstate it to make a point, but: "Ok, boys and girls, this test that is coming up is really important. Whether or not our school is successful or not depends a lot on how well you do on this test. We are all going to have to work very hard because if we don't our principal will get in trouble. Oh and be sure to remind your parents that if they want you to come to my extra help session on how to reduce stress when you take a test, that the money is due tomorrow."

Finally, how authentic is an assessment that can be meaningfully affected by test taking tips? Do these tests measure what students have actually learned or do they measure how well students take tests? I think we all know the answer is the latter, which makes charging extra for improving the skills that actually get measured even more questionable.

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