Standardised Testing

A cousin of mine is a Reading Recovery specialist in the US.  Apparently, they have standardised testing – just as we do in Ontario – and she is having to prepare first-grade students for a written test in their second week of school, and give them weekly spelling tests of nonsense words.  She wrote a letter to my mother in which she complained about having to give up 20% of her teaching time to prepare the kids for these ridiculous tests.  My mother forwarded the letter to me.  I think my mother likes my rants.  🙂

Business dudes who are very good at business may be quite useful when one is organising a school; most educators are not likely to be very good at the business side of things because they’re too busy concentrating on the students.  If I ever get to open a school, I’ll definitely hire some business dude.  But the business dude will never be allowed in my school when the students are there.

It’s like the elements: air and fire are both perfect elements but if there is too much air either the fire gets blown out or it rages out of control.  Add the wrong kind of air and you get a pretty nifty explosion which is fun to watch until all the particles fall back to earth and make a royal mess.

Do you have any suggestions for the improvement of education?  Great!  Write them down on a piece of paper and we’ll circulate it amongst the students (’cause they’re the ones who are doing the learning… and even paying us to teach them), and we’ll see what they think.  If any of the Grade 1 students want to write essays and spell nonsense words, we’ll give you a call.  In the meantime, here are some nonsense words for you to study for next week: freedom, democracy, reason.

3 responses to “Standardised Testing

  1. Wow. We just started a Reading Recovery program at our school. Only in our case, each child will be tested for reading readiness, and if there is any sign of trouble, that kid gets extra 1-on-1 attention every day until the problem is resolved. Forcing 1st graders to spell nonsense words doesn’t seem to be recovering much.

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    • I’m the cousin. Actually I teach Reading Recovery half the day and an an”Intervention Specialist “the other half. The Reading Recovery part of the job is wonderful. Everything is very sensible and the kids do incredibly well. It is the other half of the day that makes no sense.

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  2. Ah, but are the tests *reasonable* tests? Given that Rudolph Steiner suggested that children aren’t ready to read or write until at least age 7, is age 6 a good time for “testing” reading?

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