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2869Grant Wiggins' new blogpost, on RADICAL TEST PREP

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  • Mansel Adelbert Nelson
    Apr 2, 2013
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      Some interesting thoughts about preparing students for the standardized tests below.
      I would take this to another level pay saying that we also need to look at our physical 
      facilitates and make sure we have a healthy school, properly ventilated for the students 
      to take their tests.  


      Mansel A Nelson
      Program Coordinator
      Tribal Environmental Education Outreach

      Begin forwarded message:

      From: Jane Jackson <jane.jackson@...>
      Date: April 2, 2013, 12:18:42 PM AKDT
      To: <TCHRS@...>, <AZSELA@...>
      Subject: [tchrs] Grant Wiggins' new blogpost, on RADICAL TEST PREP
      Reply-To: Jane Jackson <jane.jackson@...>

      Grant Wiggins' new blogpost, on RADICAL TEST PREP
      I find this new blogpost by Grant Wiggins (of Backward Design by Wiggins & Tighe) a delight.  Do you know math teachers who will find it useful?-- Jane Jackson

               by grantwiggins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
      April is test-prep month (apparently). So, what better use of my blog than to provide harried readers with some test-prep tips?

      But beware: the tips I am going to provide are very different than the thoughtless and passive-aggressive ones you get from most people offering such tips.
      1.       ³I¹d love to teach for understanding, but there¹s so much to Œcover¹ for the test.² Huh? You have to teach badly to raise test scores??? Here is what you are really saying when you say that: ³Gee I¹d like to teach for understanding, but I can¹t; I¹d like to make sure that students are really engaged in their work, and that they really see the value and connections to other learnings ­ but we don¹t have time for thatŠ² Well, then don¹t be surprised if they aren¹t engaged, can¹t connect what they learn, and thus don¹t do well on the test.
      There is no data to suggest that teaching worse raises scores; there is no data to suggest that superficially covering content improves student performance. (In fact, as Hattie and Marzano point out, there is plenty of data to show that a constant dose of higher-order questioning locally raises test scores considerably.)  Alas, the current results (especially NAEP which is a harbinger of the new consortium tests) show that students do poorly on all but the low-level questions on the tests; and that student performance on higher-order questions has been flat for decades.

      [He ends with this statement:]
       Do I like our over-emphasis on tests? I do not. Do I think all the tests are well-designed? I do not. But this I know, from years of looking at all the released tests at the state and national level, and working with staffs on local assessment issues: the results are meaningful in broad brush strokes. Really good schools get good results; really weak schools do not. All difficult questions involve higher-order inferencing. And few local tests match the rigor of state tests. Most educators do not seem to understand what external tests are testing ­ transfer, not recall. And most educators have an insufficient understanding of how test validity works to properly prepare their students. And so we get ³test prep² regimes that cannot possibly succeed at achieving excellent results.

      Isn¹t it time you worked with colleagues to call into question these knee-jerk and intellectually bankrupt approaches to dealing with tests? Isn¹t it time local assessment was more rigorous than the state once-a-year audit of local performance?