Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Testing and the Problem With Grant-Driven Educational Projects | Rick Ayers

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Testing and the Problem With Grant-Driven Educational Projects | Rick Ayers:

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Testing and the Problem With Grant-Driven Educational Projects






President Obama has finally declared that the educational establishment's obsession with high-stakes testing has gone too far. It reminded me of a disagreement that broke out recently in a teacher professional development planning meeting. 
"The problem is," I ventured, "there is very little you can tell from a standardized test of students and then to tie evaluation of that teacher to performance of those students becomes even less valid, and finally trying to compare our professional development graduates to other teachers is just a fool's errand." That was my intervention in the discussion, a big dissension blurted out.
It was a meeting of a collaboration group for an innovative summer professional development teaching project -- I was a visiting professor in a medium-sized California city, Charles was from the professional development nonprofit and Greg was from the school district. We were discussing evaluation data to send to the granting agencies and Charles had suggested that we collect "Smarter Balance" test scores from our graduates and compare to other teachers. I was immediately doubtful -- not only that this measure would distort and narrow the teaching practices of our graduates, but that it would provide support and validation for the advocates of value added evaluation across the state.
Greg, the district guy, showed no interest in my comment. He did not even raise himself to disagree or debate me. He simply declared, "The superintendent wants these numbers (on the test) and we are collecting them so they can be used as data." The look in his eyes, the subtext of his dismissal, was essentially, "What is this pinhead talking about? It's irrelevant."
Charles actually agreed with me. He is a progressive educator who knows the debates and the game. Why, then, had he made this proposal? It was, of course, the pressure of the grant. Both foundation and federal grants for the professional development The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Testing and the Problem With Grant-Driven Educational Projects | Rick Ayers:

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