Tag Archives: testing

Ghosts in the (Testing) Machine

What makes a mind come alive? And how will you know when it’s happened?

Two new films – one about the death of the factory school, the other about the dawn of artificial intelligence – attempt to answer this question from radically different vantage points. Taken together, they provide both a cautionary tale and a reason to be hopeful about the not-too-distant future. And fittingly, what both films suggest is that when it comes to measuring the spark of sentience, the tests we use matter greatly.

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The PCSB Responds

As the deadline for public comment on the PCSB’s proposed accountability framework for early childhood programs nears (August 28) — and as public reactions to the proposal intensify — PCSB’s executive director, Scott Pearson, published a formal reply to the change.org petition that is asking for greater balance in how schools are evaluated. Here’s Scott’s response:

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Is It The Tests or the Stakes?

As DC grapples with whether or not to adopt an accountability framework that would assign between 60-80% of a charter preschool’s overall rank to its students’ reading and math scores, it’s worth asking: What’s at the root of the problem here — the tests, or the stakes attached to those tests?

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High Stakes Tests For 3-Year-Olds?

If you’re a parent of a young charter school student in DC – or just someone who cares about early education – you need to know what’s happening here in the nation’s capital, and fast.

In less than a week, all charter schools that serve young children will start being held accountable to their students’ test scores on reading and math.

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This video captures the irony of the moment

Sigh . . .

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Has Testing Reached A Tipping Point?

It wasn’t that long ago that suggesting America’s schools had become test-obsessed was a lonely endeavor. Although organizations like FairTest and campaigns like Time Out From Testinghave been decrying the flawed logic behind high-stakes tests for years, the reality is that for the past decade, many of us kept our complaints reserved for the privacy of the parking lot

People vented. Policymakers nodded. And absent any real noise, the tests continued.

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When it comes to a longer school day, something’s gotta give

Now that five states are planning to add 300 hours of class time in an effort to close the achievement gap and re-imagine the school day, I can only come to one conclusion: Something’s got to give. Continue reading . . .

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E Pluribus Pluribus: Is Differentiated Instruction Possible?

It’s not even Noon, and nine-year-old Harvey is already back on the floor.

His three tablemates, their efforts at independent reading on hold, watch and wait for Ms. Serber to arrive and restore order. Harvey’s pear-shaped body writhes on the floor, animated by neither malice nor mischief. He chews absent-mindedly on his silver necklace and gazes at the ceiling until she arrives.

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We Need a New Set of “Words, Words, Words”

On the radio this morning, I heard three different stories about public education reform. In each story, I heard the same three words — data, testing, and accountability.

Before I get any more depressed about how uninspiring this language makes me feel, I have a proposal to make: let’s stop the madness and start identifying some new words that can more accurately describe the changes we seek for children.

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The Testing Carousel Goes Round and Round . . .

Today’s Washington Post reports that the test scores of elementary school kids slipped this year after two successive years of growth, “a setback to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee as she seeks to overhaul the city’s schools.” No doubt, this news is being used by Rhee’s critics to point out that her particular brand of reform […]

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