SpinnerMan wrote:So why doesn't the teaching profession put forth their view of the appropriate tests?
I understand the desire for autonomy and all that. I chose my words carefully.
SpinnerMan wrote:The process of getting together and debating these things is critical to ensuring that not only is the minimum quality maintained, but that we see continued improvement over time. Granted not everything is subject to standardized test, but much of the most important things are.
Even if you don't agree to one recommended set of standards, the process itself of given serious thought and debate about what they should be has great value.
The teachers, the professionals, need to put forth their recommended standards and procedures as to what they think the best practices are in different situations. In this case, what are the best practices of demonstrating that the public is getting what the public is paying for and that when a student is certified by the teachers as having mastered the minimum requirements to advance what are those minimum requirements and how do you verify that in fact those minimum requirements have been mastered.
What is the basic quality assurance program that the teaching profession believes should be in place to ensure that each individual student is getting a quality education and not slipping through the cracks?
Slack Tide wrote:No one wants a standard curriculum.
I did not say there should be a standard curriculum. Maybe I should have made that clear. Professional societies do not tell you what you should value or buy (i.e. the curriculum), but tell what the professional standards that should be adhered to such that if someone buys that particular thing that it satisfies the necessary quality standards. Basically ensuring that people are getting what they think they are getting.
Slack Tide wrote:Here on Long Island you have tremendous competition for your school district to reflect the quality of your town, which drives property values.
Same here. Which gets to my point that those that the kids that have parents that are willing to pay a high premium to get their kids into a quality school are not the kids that we need to worry about. It is the kids who have parents that would sacrifice their kids education if it would save them a buck.
Slack Tide wrote:If you (we) were to be able to come up with a test that really evaluated what kids knew....it would have to be extremely basic to allow each district to still do what they want, yet cover a basic concept
Not at all. You would have a catalog of tests that address the specific topics being covered. Each teacher already creates their own test for the topic they are teaching. Wouldn't it be great if every algebra teacher was giving equivalent tests, such that regardless of what school you are at, a particular score means the same thing? If a standard existed for creating such tests, then if you are teaching algebra or evaluating the performance of a particular algebra class, you use the standard to create the test such that it has the right breadth and depth of questions and it would probably be easy in this case to create a thousand questions for each area such that you wouldn't have to do anything but randomly select a few questions from each area and administer the test. Then if the kid scores below some value set in the standard he needs to repeat the course, next level he needs remedial help before moving on, satisfies the minimum to advance, and above some score has mastered the topic.
I think even for history, this is something that history teachers should be able to do. Just break it into pieces, and identify the key points, the secondary points, and the advanced details that measure the students understanding for whatever grade level they are at. Then just pick the things that are included in the curriculum to build your test. Again, this is nothing more than what teachers are doing already when they teach a topic and then give quizzes and tests on that topic.
Slack Tide wrote:now you get into a discussion on what IS important...neighboring districts can have a very different opinion on that too...you would never ever get neighboring districts to collaborate in creating a universal curriculum
Just to repeat, I was NOT talking about curriculum. I am talking about what essentially is a quality assurance program that whatever is included in the curriculum that there is a way to ensure that teacher, student, and parents understand what the the individual kid actually learned. Also, the aggregate information is also needed so the taxpayers can understand that they are getting what they are paying for. None of this is specifying the curriculum, but specifying that each piece of the curriculum is being taught effectively.
Slack Tide wrote:just like you couldn't sit down with your neighbor and come up with a universal curriculum for parenting
Yet, if I buy a house my neighbor built, I know what the standards are for the construction of that house. I have legal recourse if he did not satisfy those standards. There are objective standards by which the installation of each piece was completed. Now, I may choose a house that is not functional and ugly, but the quality of the construction will meet the local standards, which may or may not be based on national or international standards developed by the relevant professional societies as the local government sees fit. The existence of these standards does not require every local politician to understand the best practices for installing electrical wiring, etc. and they can more easily follow the debate of what the standards they should adopt for their local community. If they are not prone to hurricanes, then they can understand that pushing for hurricane standards is just a way to enrich builders by forcing more expensive construction.
Slack Tide wrote:you probably have an extremely different list of "must haves" for your child...vs theirs.....
I hope you understand that I am not talking about specifying curriculum at all. I am not proposing community standards. I am proposing that whatever the community or individual decides, they have a way to have confidence that they are in fact getting what they think they are getting.
I am really talking about a quality assurance program that ensures that every individual kid, whatever standard (not non-standard classes like local history or more fun classes) class they are taking that everyone knows what they need to know about the performance of the individual student or the aggregate performance of the class. There has to be meaningful feedback to correct problems and focus resources.
Stupid people can cause problems, but it usually takes brilliant people to create a real catastrophe. Thomas Sowell