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#2040912 - 02/28/13 04:57 PM Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students...
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4746
Loc: South Florida
http://flfcat.blogspot.com/2009/03/definition-of-controversy.html

If anyone can slog through this good luck. But this is what we are up against in this “enlightened” state. And every year those of us who are actually teaching anything have our teaching disrupted or ruined by the FOOLS who developed this standardized testing.

People who teach in the classroom are directly affected. Good classroom teachers have to stop teaching in order to cram for these insane tests. One of my closest friends retired a year early to keep from havin a near mental breakdown because of this insanity.

Those of us NOT in the public school system are hit sidewise, in this manner. Every year as my piano students are tortured in school with these tests in school, almost all learning stops in my lessons because of insane cramming for these useless tests. Why?

Because these kids are told that passing these tests is EVERYTHING, and they believe it, the are so scared, so tense and eventually so exhausted that really DO have NO time for anything else than preparing to fill in bubbles on a test that is basically modeled after the testing theories of a good century go.

It is insane. The only good thing about it, for me, is that we can all celebrate when the insanity is over.
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#2040930 - 02/28/13 05:34 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 470


Edited by MaggieGirl (02/28/13 05:35 PM)

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#2040943 - 02/28/13 05:53 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
I don't think standardized tests will ever go away. It's a double-edged sword. I can see the benefits and the problems. I used to teach at a low-performing school, and I was actually paid extra $$$ to teach a bunch of kids after school just to cram for the CAHSEE, which is the California High School Exit Exam. It was an interesting class.

As it goes in public education, since it's public, it's one huge compromise. In California, scores from standardized tests mean so much, from school rankings to property values within the district.

All that testing really hasn't affected my piano studio, though, as these tests are usually REALLY easy for kids who take piano lessons. Even the worst piano student (the absolute worst student I've had in ten years) is deemed "proficient" by the standardized tests.
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#2041116 - 03/01/13 12:59 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
These tests may be poorly designed and implemented. However, standardized tests an sich are not the problem. Many nations that absolutely run circles around America's pitiful public school performance have used for decades and decades and continue to use NATIONAL standardized testing to this day.

For example, your scores when you are 13 will determine if you are going to a pre-Research University High School, a Pre-Community College High School, a pre-Vocational School High School or a lower High School in many countries. Yet, schools and teachers don't " teach to the exam ", rather the entire curricula are designed around teaching what has to be learned. If you have really learned it, you will be able to pass the exams. Those students that have the aptitude, capacity and who put in the work move up, those who don't, don't. Yet graduation rates are much, much higher than those in the US. Gifted students aren't held back and are doing work that would be considered undergraduate university work in the US while students with less academic aptitude receive an education where they can become responsible, educated citizens and be trained in a craft or vocation.

Don't blame the tests. Blame the inequality, the widespread childhood poverty, the broken culture, the parents both forced to work to make ends meet, the dysfunctional school districts paid from property taxes & run by school boards that want to teach that science doesn't work. Blame an average family watching a minimum of 5 hours of television per day and then sitting prone in front of video games and electronic devices, eating to the point of morbid obesity sugary, fat commercial crud. Blame anti-intellectualism, rampant materialism. Blame the fact that the virtue of learning is absent from the vocabulary. Blame the "get rich quick", "easy answers", "no work required", "entitlement" culture of expecting to cram for a test at the last minute instead of learning the material over a period of years and being able to apply it.

But don't blame the tests. Don't shoot the messenger.

China was successful thousands of years before America existed and will likely be very successful for thousands of years after America has disappeared. One reason is linking learning with morality. David Brooks has some interesting things to say today which shed light on why the Asian (and Jewish) approach to learning will likely beat the American approach to (avoiding) learning in the long run.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/opinion/brooks-the-learning-virtues.html?hp

Quote:

The simplest way to summarize her findings is that Westerners tend to define learning cognitively while Asians tend to define it morally. Westerners tend to see learning as something people do in order to understand and master the external world. Asians tend to see learning as an arduous process they undertake in order to cultivate virtues inside the self.

You can look at the slogans on university crests to get a glimpse of the difference. Western mottos emphasize knowledge acquisition. Harvard’s motto is “Truth.” Yale’s is “Light and truth.” The University of Chicago’s is “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.”

Chinese universities usually take Confucian sayings that emphasize personal elevation. Tsinghua’s motto is “Strengthen self ceaselessly and cultivate virtue to nurture the world.” Nanjing’s motto is “Be sincere and hold high aspirations, learn diligently and practice earnestly.”...

The idea is to perfect the learning virtues in order to become, ultimately, a sage, which is equally a moral and intellectual state. These virtues include: sincerity (an authentic commitment to the task) as well as diligence, perseverance, concentration and respect for teachers...

cultures that do fuse the academic and the moral, like Confucianism or Jewish Torah study, produce these awesome motivation explosions. It might be possible to champion other moral/academic codes to boost motivation in places where it is absent.

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#2041299 - 03/01/13 11:26 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I know exactly what Gary is talking about. In this area especially, these kids are running ragged doing all these AP courses and having to take these tests. You can say that they choose the AP courses, but the problem is they are so pressured into doing everything they can to compete for the best colleges. The stress that these children have to deal with at being great at everything and how extremely busy their lives are is sad. And yet, America is falling behind other countries in academics. I think that is partially true due to the standardized tests interrupting a well-thought-out lesson plan for the semester.

edited to add: I think the problem with frequent testing is similar to issues with performing too much as a music student. When you are performing and preparing for performances, you are no longer learning. You are simply perfecting the performance. You really can't be learning new repertoire and getting a better technique while preparing for a performance. When you aren't performing then you have the freedom to learn new things without being under pressure of a deadline or other distractions. I think it is the same for academic learning & testing.


Edited by Morodiene (03/01/13 11:28 AM)
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#2041306 - 03/01/13 11:36 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: theJourney]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11561
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: theJourney

.... David Brooks has some interesting things to say ...

I looked up David Brooks. He is a journalist, and his education includes studies in history. I see no background in education, either in training as an educator, nor experience teaching. I would not take him as a resource on the subject.

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#2041316 - 03/01/13 11:56 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Morodiene]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 422
Loc: Vancouver BC
Very good point.

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I think the problem with frequent testing is similar to issues with performing too much as a music student. When you are performing and preparing for performances, you are no longer learning. You are simply perfecting the performance. You really can't be learning new repertoire and getting a better technique while preparing for a performance. When you aren't performing then you have the freedom to learn new things without being under pressure of a deadline or other distractions. I think it is the same for academic learning & testing.


But isn't it about the art of balancing the two? Imagine a student keeps learning a lot but never very good at any thing?

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#2041450 - 03/01/13 03:41 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: The Monkeys]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3156
Loc: Virginia, USA
100 years ago 50% of Americans were educated, to 5th grade level. It was an agricultural society and that was plenty. Children were need for farm labor so they could only go to school in winter, between harvest and planting.

50 years ago it was an industrial society and high school was necessary.

Now it's an information economy. More and more complex education is needed.

But we still take the kids out of school between planting and harvest as if they were going to work on the farm, something most of them have never seen.

It's time for year around school.
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#2041462 - 03/01/13 04:00 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
Tavner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/01
Posts: 376
Loc: San Diego
The pressure on high schoolers to take as many AP classes as possible is insane. I have lost several 11th graders who decide to spend so much time studying that they claim to not have any time left over for piano. Unfortunately, in more than one case, the reason actually was due to spending too much time playing video games in addition to studying. I really hate the video game obsession. I know there are probably forum members who undoubtedly enjoy them, but I see video games as huge time wasters for young kids. Piano drops down their list of priorities once this obsession takes over. (just venting!)
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#2041466 - 03/01/13 04:10 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4746
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I know exactly what Gary is talking about. In this area especially, these kids are running ragged doing all these AP courses and having to take these tests. You can say that they choose the AP courses, but the problem is they are so pressured into doing everything they can to compete for the best colleges. The stress that these children have to deal with at being great at everything and how extremely busy their lives are is sad. And yet, America is falling behind other countries in academics. I think that is partially true due to the standardized tests interrupting a well-thought-out lesson plan for the semester.

edited to add: I think the problem with frequent testing is similar to issues with performing too much as a music student. When you are performing and preparing for performances, you are no longer learning. You are simply perfecting the performance. You really can't be learning new repertoire and getting a better technique while preparing for a performance. When you aren't performing then you have the freedom to learn new things without being under pressure of a deadline or other distractions. I think it is the same for academic learning & testing.

I was hoping you would "weigh in". You are seeing what I am seeing. I think you have to live in South Florida to understand what we are up against here. I won't say more because I believe it is pointless.
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#2041475 - 03/01/13 04:28 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4746
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

All that testing really hasn't affected my piano studio, though, as these tests are usually REALLY easy for kids who take piano lessons. Even the worst piano student (the absolute worst student I've had in ten years) is deemed "proficient" by the standardized tests.

I never spent one minute studying for any test in school except for music courses. That is the truth. And I didn't actually study in the normal sense in music. I worked my **s off, but I enjoyed doing it.

I suspect a lot of intelligent kids do the same thing today. I kept myself off the radar, and when teacher A was talking about something I already understood, I quietly did homework for teacher B. I never cracked a book at home. Never.

I don't recommend this, because the results can be lethal if a student, aiming for success in music, needs later on to change course. But I also don't think I was the only person to "roll the dice". I decided by age eight that I wanted to be a player, a musician, and that was my goal. It makes sense to do the minimum in everything else in order to attain that goal. It did to me. So I kept a B average or so, a little higher, got SAT scores that were "good enough" then set my only priority as excelling in auditions.

If I had spent more time studying, either my playing would have suffered or I would have had to give up everything I enjoyed as a teen. My attitude gave me all the time I need to practice AND all the time I needed to do other "teen things".

Many decades later, when I ask my students about "facts" or "knowledge" that I picked up in non-musical areas, things that were merely of interest to me, they do not know what I know. This includes science, math, history, languages, many other things.

In addition, most other people my age (64) report studying hard to get "good grades" in countless classes yet retain zero or nearly zero of what they supposedly learned.

My conclusion continues to be that most of what is "crammed" into people's heads in schools is lost, because it never got past "barely beyond short-term memory".

So I tell my students that most of what they do in school is just a game. It is a deadly serious game, because later grade point averages and degrees will be considered before what they actualy know (which no one will bother figuring out), and there are rewards for those grades.

I got to skip most of the insanity because I chose what I was studying, I chose to work hard, and I chose to learn things for a lifetime, not to learn to pass the next text - whether it had bubbles or not.


Edited by Gary D. (03/01/13 04:31 PM)
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#2041494 - 03/01/13 04:50 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 470
Before my daughter was in her current program, the only time she learned in leaps and bounds was during the summer. She could read what she wanted, think, draw and play. Her return to school - scores were always 2 grade levels ahead of where she ended the school year.

Less time needs to be done taking tests and more experiences need to happen.

Even in an excellent program, she still has her biggest cognitive jumps during the summer.

We are lucky I suppose that she doesn't miss any questions on her state tests...but I think it's more that we watch little tv and heavy library and users and we find lots to do for free in our community (free museum days, free outdoor concerts, parks etc).

If there was "more school" we would reach the point where we home school (not easy - I work, but she would be old enough to self moderate).

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#2041527 - 03/01/13 05:44 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 422
Loc: Vancouver BC
Quote:

Many decades later, when I ask my students about "facts" or "knowledge" that I picked up in non-musical areas, things that were merely of interest to me, they do not know what I know. This includes science, math, history, languages, many other things.


Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
No one would remember everything, different people pay attention to different details.

Quote:

In addition, most other people my age (64) report studying hard to get "good grades" in countless classes yet retain zero or nearly zero of what they supposedly learned.


The point is not to remember everything or anything you learned for the rest of your life. The point is to go through the learning process. People will forget what they learned over time if they don't need to use those knowledge.

However, the learning experiences will help them for the life long learning ahead of them, which is required by many of today's jobs. Regardless if they remember anything from their high school chemistry class or not, the chance is, the ones that did well in high school, do well later on in their careers.

Quote:

So I tell my students that most of what they do in school is just a game. It is a deadly serious game, because later grade point averages and degrees will be considered before what they actualy know (which no one will bother figuring out), and there are rewards for those grades.


Actually I can't agree more with you on this. It is a game, and it is a deadly serious game. It is a game to horn your learning abilities.

And once again you are correct. No one care what you have actually learned, or what you know after the course, let alone if you remember anything 10 year later.

But everyone cares about your grade, which is a reflection of how well you can learn, or how well you have learned.

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#2041616 - 03/01/13 09:51 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: The Monkeys]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Very good point.

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I think the problem with frequent testing is similar to issues with performing too much as a music student. When you are performing and preparing for performances, you are no longer learning. You are simply perfecting the performance. You really can't be learning new repertoire and getting a better technique while preparing for a performance. When you aren't performing then you have the freedom to learn new things without being under pressure of a deadline or other distractions. I think it is the same for academic learning & testing.


But isn't it about the art of balancing the two? Imagine a student keeps learning a lot but never very good at any thing?


My point is not that testing/performing is bad, but that for someone who is just learning, you can't always be performing because your learning progress will come to a screeching halt. So you have to have times when you perform, and times when you learn. I think the same applies to the FCAT. These kids are tested so often that the learning portion is condensed.
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#2041623 - 03/01/13 10:21 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Morodiene]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 422
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I think the same applies to the FCAT. These kids are tested so often that the learning portion is condensed.


I think we are on agreement that there should be a balance between practice, playing and performance, also study, fun and test.

I am curious how often is the FCAT Test?

In British Columbia, we have similar thing call FSA (Foundation Skill Assessment). Students take it at grade 4 and grade 7, and teachers union campaigns furiously against it each and every year.

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#2041627 - 03/01/13 10:44 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: The Monkeys]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I think the same applies to the FCAT. These kids are tested so often that the learning portion is condensed.


I think we are on agreement that there should be a balance between practice, playing and performance, also study, fun and test.

I am curious how often is the FCAT Test?

In British Columbia, we have similar thing call FSA (Foundation Skill Assessment). Students take it at grade 4 and grade 7, and teachers union campaigns furiously against it each and every year.


Since I moved to FL last year, this is all new to me. I think it's once a year, every year, grades 3-12.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2041640 - 03/01/13 11:28 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: The Monkeys]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11561
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

In British Columbia, we have similar thing call FSA (Foundation Skill Assessment). Students take it at grade 4 and grade 7, and teachers union campaigns furiously against it each and every year.

I don't live in B.C. so I was not aware of this. Do you know what kinds of concerns the educators in your province have about this testing? What harm do they see to education, for example? I looked it up and went through several of the grade 4 reading tests, and I was concerned by what I saw.

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#2041673 - 03/02/13 01:26 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 422
Loc: Vancouver BC
The union has many arguments but none of them related to the content of the test.

The union doesn't want any standardized test for students under grade 10, period.

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#2041677 - 03/02/13 02:00 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
In addition, most other people my age (64) report studying hard to get "good grades" in countless classes yet retain zero or nearly zero of what they supposedly learned.

My conclusion continues to be that most of what is "crammed" into people's heads in schools is lost, because it never got past "barely beyond short-term memory".


Exactly. Cramming has nothing to do with learning and growing, it has to do with gaming.

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#2041678 - 03/02/13 02:02 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: theJourney

.... David Brooks has some interesting things to say ...

I looked up David Brooks. He is a journalist, and his education includes studies in history. I see no background in education, either in training as an educator, nor experience teaching. I would not take him as a resource on the subject.


Well,the point being made was one of long time history comparing cultural attitudes and philosophy towards learning, wasn't it?

The anti-intellectual tendency towards ad hominem and ignoring uncomfortable observations is a deep set cultural trait in many Western nations.

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#2041703 - 03/02/13 03:57 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: theJourney]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4746
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: theJourney

The anti-intellectual tendency towards ad hominem and ignoring uncomfortable observations is a deep set cultural trait in many Western nations.

I enjoyed that sentence. Seriously!

That said, I feel as if what you just wrote applies much too much to the whole world. My personal view is that the percentage of people who think deeply enough about things to question everything they have been TOLD is true depressingly low.
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#2041737 - 03/02/13 06:27 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: The Monkeys]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11561
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
The union has many arguments but none of them related to the content of the test.

The union doesn't want any standardized test for students under grade 10, period.

Yesterday I looked at some samples from the grade 4 "reading" test. It was extremely poor as a test, and my impression was that whoever patched this together could not have been a well trained teacher. Today I read that it was created by a corporation. I also read a union rep saying the tests were "not worth the paper they were written on", which to my mind suggests that educationally they were unsound.

Yesterday I read several of the texts (reading material) and the questions that students needed to answer. The first one was supposedly scientific, on animals and the environment. It was poorly written as a piece of writing. It was also poorly designed as a test. It is as if somebody was given a list of gr. 4 vocabulary, and strung them together into paragraphs. It was very hard to follow the train of thought of the writer, or the ideas the writer was trying to develop. That is because the writer was not developing anything. If a student of mine wrote such an article, I would tell that student to try again and put some planning into it.

The questions themselves did not reflect reading comprehension. The best way to answer them was to ditch the article, use common sense, and guess what kind of answer was probably wanted. It was possible for the child to draw a different conclusion, and choose a different answer which would have been marked "wrong" when that child might have perfectly understood the article.

Any child who thinks literally, children with Aspergers, or children coming from another culture, would have been thrown by this material. These children might be perfectly capable of reading the words, but would not be able to answer the questions. Thus an assessment that is supposed to reflect how well the students overall are learning to read, would actually reflect how poorly the material was.

I see no purpose being served by these things. At the same time they waste time, lead to distortions, and may be used for political purposes that have nothing to do with education. These may be the reasons that the teachers are against them.

As a side note, British Columbia has had the reputation as being THE most enlightened system in Canada. The rule of thumb was, "The further west you go, the better it gets." If that is true, I hope the politicians out there don't destroy something good.

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#2041772 - 03/02/13 09:30 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: AZNpiano]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2415
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
...
All that testing really hasn't affected my piano studio, though, as these tests are usually REALLY easy for kids who take piano lessons. Even the worst piano student (the absolute worst student I've had in ten years) is deemed "proficient" by the standardized tests.


Is there even a remote possibility that your the students in your studio is not a representative random sampling of public school students across the state?
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#2041779 - 03/02/13 09:43 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: MaggieGirl]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3156
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
Before my daughter was in her current program, the only time she learned in leaps and bounds was during the summer. She could read what she wanted, think, draw and play. Her return to school - scores were always 2 grade levels ahead of where she ended the school year.



The research reported by popular author Gladwell says this is very dependent on the amount of stimulation the child gets during the off season.

Disadvantaged kids and those from more affluent backgrounds learned at close to the same rates during the school year.

But the kids from the advantaged backgrounds (not just wealthier, but parents with time and interests who provide opportunities) continued to progress slowly during vacation, while the disadvantaged kids stagnated or regressed.

Your daughter's progress proves you were dong the right things, but applied across the board this would be disastrous. There are lots of households with no reading material, no music, no soccer camp or dance lessons, maybe even parents who can't read or write, if there are parents at all.
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#2041780 - 03/02/13 09:43 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: theJourney

The anti-intellectual tendency towards ad hominem and ignoring uncomfortable observations is a deep set cultural trait in many Western nations.

I enjoyed that sentence. Seriously!

That said, I feel as if what you just wrote applies much too much to the whole world. My personal view is that the percentage of people who think deeply enough about things to question everything they have been TOLD is true depressingly low.


+1!! I think critical thinking is one of the casualties of this era of testing and cramming. Critical thinking takes time to teach and nurture. Also, often there is no right or wrong answer so it's not easy to test in a multiple choice scenario. When all you have to choose from are answers already provided, not much creativity in devising your own answer is required.
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#2041785 - 03/02/13 09:54 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Morodiene]
TimR Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

+1!! I think critical thinking is one of the casualties of this era of testing and cramming. Critical thinking takes time to teach and nurture. Also, often there is no right or wrong answer so it's not easy to test in a multiple choice scenario. When all you have to choose from are answers already provided, not much creativity in devising your own answer is required.


If we could teach critical thinking well, much of the rest would follow. However, the US is one of the most heavily religious countries, certainly the most religious of the modern industrial world, and there is a great fear that critical thinking if accidentally applied to religion would produce unpredictable results.

I had a seminar once with a visiting European medical doctor. One of his interesting off topic comments was that he thought the multiple choice test had destroyed American education. It encourages you to guess, and to him guessing was equivalent to lying. He said if he had guessed/lied on a test he would have been thrown out of university as an integrity issue, just like any other form of cheating. It was a new slant to me; I'd never thought of multiple choice that way. He does have a point.

I went through 4 years of engineering classes with almost no multiple choice tests. You had to solve problems and show your work. It must have been enormously difficult to grade but grad assistants are cheap labor.
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#2041806 - 03/02/13 11:07 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: TimR]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

+1!! I think critical thinking is one of the casualties of this era of testing and cramming. Critical thinking takes time to teach and nurture. Also, often there is no right or wrong answer so it's not easy to test in a multiple choice scenario. When all you have to choose from are answers already provided, not much creativity in devising your own answer is required.


If we could teach critical thinking well, much of the rest would follow. However, the US is one of the most heavily religious countries, certainly the most religious of the modern industrial world, and there is a great fear that critical thinking if accidentally applied to religion would produce unpredictable results.



Correlation does not equal causation. I'm a very religious person and am surprised that you blame religions for the lack of critical thinking. Christianity in particular was at the forefront of education in recent eras, and even today they are of the vast majority who go out into 3rd world countries and build schools and teach the people how to make wells and improve the lives of their people.

I do not think it is fair for you to dump the lack of critical thinking into the laps of those who have a faith in something without any proof of your assertion.
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#2041814 - 03/02/13 11:23 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Correlation does not equal causation. I'm a very religious person and am surprised that you blame religions for the lack of critical thinking.

I blame UNQUESTIONED acceptance of ORANIZED religion, what it teaches, as part of the problem. A huge problem.

But I would not paint all relgious people as lacking in ability in critical thinking. That's too general. It is unfair.
Quote:

Christianity in particular was at the forefront of education in recent eras, and even today they are of the vast majority who go out into 3rd world countries and build schools and teach the people how to make wells and improve the lives of their people.

I do not think it is fair for you to dump the lack of critical thinking into the laps of those who have a faith in something without any proof of your assertion.

Although I am not religious, rather anti-religion (organized relgion), I agree with you.

I hope this thread does not turn into a flame-war between people "of faith" and "religiosity supporters". wink

My own "dog in this fight" had to do with those who question vs those who do not. There are people who were profoundly suspicious of all religion, outspoken atheiests, who later came to believe in one religion or another with great passion.

CS Lewis is one of them. There are others.

So for the record my mind stays open!
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#2041870 - 03/02/13 01:59 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Morodiene]
TimR Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I'm a very religious person and am surprised that you blame religions for the lack of critical thinking.


What you're objecting to bears no resemblance to what I said.

I'll return later when the connection is faster and amplify.
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#2041956 - 03/02/13 05:15 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring

As a side note, British Columbia has had the reputation as being THE most enlightened system in Canada. The rule of thumb was, "The further west you go, the better it gets." If that is true, I hope the politicians out there don't destroy something good.


I think it is just that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence :-)

If the argument comes down to the quality of test, it would be easy. However, it is not the point. Even the test is the perfect, the union still doesn't want it. The point is that it doesn't want anything that can be used to measure a teacher or a school.

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#2041995 - 03/02/13 06:42 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: The Monkeys]
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Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: keystring

As a side note, British Columbia has had the reputation as being THE most enlightened system in Canada.


I think it is just that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence :-)

No, that is not what it just is. We examined what various provinces were doing. there were specifics.
Quote:

If the argument comes down to the quality of test, it would be easy. However, it is not the point. Even the test is the perfect, the union still doesn't want it. The point is that it doesn't want anything that can be used to measure a teacher or a school.

First off, one does not "measure" a teacher or school through such tests. Secondly, the tests I saw were extremely poor.

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#2042014 - 03/02/13 07:43 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Even the test is the perfect, the union still doesn't want it. The point is that it doesn't want anything that can be used to measure a teacher or a school.
First off, one does not "measure" a teacher or school through such tests.
Unfortunately that's precisely what is happening here. It's a while since I've been in the public school system here in Australia, but I'd like to pick up on this point, because it's the one the teachers' unions here are emphasising in their campaign against the increasing use of standardised testing.

The main concerns of the teachers' unions where I am seem to be that tests are imposed by governments seeking to score cheap political points. They're trying to show they're doing something about education (something apart from actually providing adequate funding, that is...), and tapping into some fear that things aren't as good as they were in the good old days when we recited our tables and chanted our spelling lists. (In my "good old days" in the 1950s I was in a class of 50+ children, about a third of them recent post-war migrants from European countries, who had little or no English. I managed to swim, but I'm sure many others did sink.)

And governments here are using the results for their own ends, even though they've said they won't. We now have a website which lists the results from all the schools so that parents can take a superficial glance and decide which schools are "best", without taking into account any of the factors that influence these results. When schools get a bad reputation so do the students in them, which has an impact on their employment opportunities.

These results are also used to downplay the efforts of teachers, who are already doing so much with so little. No one is measuring how much some child from a disadvantaged background has improved due to the efforts of a skilled, experienced and dedicated teacher; they simply look at the raw score and decide the child is underachieving. Therefore we have to improve teaching standards. There's the implication that we need these tests because teachers have been slacking. As if teachers hadn't always used testing and evaluation to determine how to proceed with individuals in their classes!

And because so much (including funding) is riding on the results, schools are pressured to "teach to the test". It's pretty depressing for the teachers I know to be told how to teach by officals and politicians who for the most part have no clue, and think any little populist catch-cry is some wonderful educational breakthrough that they've just thought of and which will save their political future.

Sorry, I got a little carried away. smile
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#2042017 - 03/02/13 08:05 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
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Anyone who actually teaches will understand, while those who don't risk being fooled. I have a choice of saying a lot, or almost nothing, and it's probably better to say less.

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#2042033 - 03/02/13 09:03 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: malkin]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
...
All that testing really hasn't affected my piano studio, though, as these tests are usually REALLY easy for kids who take piano lessons. Even the worst piano student (the absolute worst student I've had in ten years) is deemed "proficient" by the standardized tests.


Is there even a remote possibility that your the students in your studio is not a representative random sampling of public school students across the state?

I think that's rather obvious. If the parents care enough that their kids take piano lessons, chances are the kids grew up in a nurturing family and thus won't fail standardized tests miserably.

As for the rest of the thread, I'm not comfortable doing away with testing altogether, because I've witnessed enough bad teaching and really, really bad teachers who aren't fired because the union stood in the way. One of the principals I worked for was rather progressive, and he actively scraped away the union's power (it also helped that the district's union was rather weak and lawyer-less).

The problem here in California is not the endless testing. It is really about the way districts are drawn up and the way (some) unions wield almost an unlimited amount of power to protect awful teachers. The more I think about it, the more depressing it gets.

That being said, I still champion the American public education system over some tracking gunk in Europe or the really, really endless testing in Asia. Some parts of Asia are trying to get rid of the endless testing.
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#2042064 - 03/02/13 10:59 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
There are people who were profoundly suspicious of all religion, outspoken atheiests, who later came to believe in one religion or another with great passion.

CS Lewis is one of them. There are others.

So for the record my mind stays open!


CS Lewis is perhaps not the best example. He was a lukewarm Christian who later became fervent. There are better examples, but they all share a common factor. They became religious after an emotional event rather than application of critical thinking. There are claims for the latter, but none of them stand up to examination. CS Lewis is part of my faith tradition - I'm Episcopal.

I do not think religion has hindered teaching critical thinking in general. Teaching critical thinking as its own entity rather than a routine part of science class, e.g., is a relatively new idea. The fundamentalist ends of most religions are suspicious and hostile to education in general, while the more moderate ends have ended up with excellent educational systems and preserved large bodies of knowledge through some dark ages.

Religion inherently requires suspension of critical thinking. It wouldn't be a religion if it didn't require belief in supernatural actions without evidence, it would just be a social club. Most people who value critical thinking but retain faith, like myself and religious scientists, simply compartmentalize. We suspend critical thinking at the door of the church, to the extent possible, and work to turn it back on after the last Amen.

If critical thinking were taught really well, it would be a threat to some powerful interests. Religion is but one, and probably not the most important one. Alternative medicine would disappear, and that's a multi-billion dollar industry. All sorts of scams would become more difficult. And politics? don't get me started! (sequester means I take one unpaid day off per week, a 20% cut in my salary. Not exactly easy with two kids in college.)
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#2042072 - 03/02/13 11:32 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: TimR]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
There are people who were profoundly suspicious of all religion, outspoken atheiests, who later came to believe in one religion or another with great passion.
CS Lewis is one of them. There are others.
CS Lewis is perhaps not the best example. He was a lukewarm Christian who later became fervent.
I think CS Lewis would have called himself an atheist in the period before his conversion (and I think he calls it that in Surprised by Joy, doesn't he? Not 100% sure - it's a while since I read it) even though he'd grown up in the Church of England. Well, Church of Ireland actually.
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#2042114 - 03/03/13 01:55 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: AZNpiano]
The Monkeys Offline
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

As for the rest of the thread, I'm not comfortable doing away with testing altogether, because I've witnessed enough bad teaching and really, really bad teachers who aren't fired because the union stood in the way. One of the principals I worked for was rather progressive, and he actively scraped away the union's power (it also helped that the district's union was rather weak and lawyer-less).

The problem here in California is not the endless testing. It is really about the way districts are drawn up and the way (some) unions wield almost an unlimited amount of power to protect awful teachers. The more I think about it, the more depressing it gets.


Same here in BC, the only difference is that the teachers union here are very very strong, teachers in the public school system are well paid, and it is impossible to get rid of a rotten teacher, period.

In this province students takes 2 standardized testing in the first 9 years of school, and Fraser Institute, an independent think tank organization that interprets the result, does take average family income into the consideration. I really don't think testing at this frequency affects students learning. And I do think parents deserve some transparency.

As AZNpiano said, the testing is a double edged sword, it has it's problems, but it is still needed. Medicine has side effects, but it saves life.

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#2042158 - 03/03/13 04:18 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: The Monkeys]
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Originally Posted By: The Monkeys


In this province students takes 2 standardized testing in the first 9 years of school, and Fraser Institute, an independent think tank organization that interprets the result,....

And that is the problem. The sample tests that I saw were flawed and would not reflect much about reading ability. It does not give any information. Do the people in that institute have a background in education? Do you know? Actually I think I'll try to find out. I imagine that since it's your province, you have already tried to do so.

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/

I see a header "A free and prosperous world through choice, markets, and responsibility". That gives me the impression that their interest is financial. In fact, they do research in a whole pile of fields. The person heading the educational research part has a degree in commerce.


Edited by keystring (03/03/13 05:17 AM)

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#2042176 - 03/03/13 05:58 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
landorrano Offline
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I second wholeheartedly Keystring's opposition to standardized testing. In France, for many years there has been talk of introducing these kinds of things in the national grade school system, associated with the idea of measuring the profitability of teachers who are all, one might think, slackers. Fortunately it has been kept at bay, and here's to hoping that it will continue to be.

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#2042214 - 03/03/13 08:07 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: currawong]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: currawong
I think CS Lewis would have called himself an atheist in the period before his conversion (and I think he calls it that in Surprised by Joy, doesn't he? Not 100% sure - it's a while since I read it) even though he'd grown up in the Church of England. Well, Church of Ireland actually.

Yes, CS Lewis most definitely called himself an atheist before his conversion. smile
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#2042218 - 03/03/13 08:20 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: TimR]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: TimR

CS Lewis is perhaps not the best example. He was a lukewarm Christian who later became fervent.

No. That is not true. You have your facts wrong. I am an agnostic, and I have not been in a church for any reason in decades except for a service that took place after my father's death. I still remember the priest who talked about my father as if he knew him, when in fact he knew nothing about him. There is a huge wedge between my brother and me because he is a “true believer”, and I am not.

I am not an atheist. I simply am a person who “does not know”.
Quote:

Religion inherently requires suspension of critical thinking. It wouldn't be a religion if it didn't require belief in supernatural actions without evidence, it would just be a social club. Most people who value critical thinking but retain faith, like myself and religious scientists, simply compartmentalize. We suspend critical thinking at the door of the church, to the extent possible, and work to turn it back on after the last Amen.

Sounds like the worst of two worlds to me. Although I am not religious myself I do believe that there are people who are who can make eloquent arguments for what they believe in. “Suspending critical thinking at the door of the church” just sounds schizophrenic to me.
Quote:

And politics? don't get me started! (sequester means I take one unpaid day off per week, a 20% cut in my salary. Not exactly easy with two kids in college.)

Tim, I am truly sorry to hear this. Some have called this the “doomsday political machine”, and anyone who makes light of the consequences is lucky enough not to be directly affected by it. frown
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#2042226 - 03/03/13 08:31 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring

Yesterday I read several of the texts (reading material) and the questions that students needed to answer. The first one was supposedly scientific, on animals and the environment. It was poorly written as a piece of writing. It was also poorly designed as a test. It is as if somebody was given a list of gr. 4 vocabulary, and strung them together into paragraphs. It was very hard to follow the train of thought of the writer, or the ideas the writer was trying to develop. That is because the writer was not developing anything. If a student of mine wrote such an article, I would tell that student to try again and put some planning into it.

The questions themselves did not reflect reading comprehension. The best way to answer them was to ditch the article, use common sense, and guess what kind of answer was probably wanted. It was possible for the child to draw a different conclusion, and choose a different answer which would have been marked "wrong" when that child might have perfectly understood the article.

My conclusion, as always: the inmates are running the asylum. Years ago, when I chose to become a teacher, I realized I could never exist in a system. I do not know of one that does not severely limit what a good teacher can or could do.
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#2042239 - 03/03/13 09:23 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.


My conclusion, as always: the inmates are running the asylum. Years ago, when I chose to become a teacher, I realized I could never exist in a system. I do not know of one that does not severely limit what a good teacher can or could do.


This is exactly how I feel, Gary. There was a time when I wanted to teach at a college, but then realized that I'd have a boss and would not be able to do exactly what I felt was best for students due to political things. So the only option was to stay as a private teacher. I know that not all colleges are like that, but seriously, there is always some level of politics in each institution, so you have to choose which level you can deal with.

I also question if the arts should be treated academically to begin with when you're talking about training professionals. I find too much focus on things that you can grade and test and not enough focus on learning to perform. Just my opinion.



Edited by Morodiene (03/03/13 09:26 AM)
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#2042400 - 03/03/13 03:52 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

This is exactly how I feel, Gary. There was a time when I wanted to teach at a college, but then realized that I'd have a boss and would not be able to do exactly what I felt was best for students due to political things. So the only option was to stay as a private teacher. I know that not all colleges are like that, but seriously, there is always some level of politics in each institution, so you have to choose which level you can deal with.

Many years ago I was hired as a “fill-in” teacher at what then was a junior college. Apparently things were much busier in the fall, and they were short. So I got to teach some piano there for non piano majors, with the agreement that I would teach a music appreciation class.

I was HORRIBLE at it, the class. frown I asked for feedback, and the students said that I was inconsistent, which I felt. Something about dealing with many people at the same time bothered me, and teaching this course gave me flashbacks to required basic studies I had to take at FSU, classes I LOATHED. I dropped out of school, by the way, after having covered all my music studies and having completed all but this basic studies crap. I knew that the only reason for my being in those classes was to pay some other teacher, help pad the class, and I was a prisoner in those classes.

I did finally complete the few basic studies courses I needed, got my degree, than RAN from anything to do with colleges for about 20 years. In a way I guess I “sold out” by trying to do that college teaching. But it left such a horrible taste in my mouth, if you know what I mean. I felt as if I had joined “the enemy”. wink
Quote:

I also question if the arts should be treated academically to begin with when you're talking about training professionals. I find too much focus on things that you can grade and test and not enough focus on learning to perform. Just my opinion.

There are some tough questions linked to those thoughts. I have never needed a degree in all the time I have been teaching other than that one failed gig at the junior college. I HAVE one, but I have never had to show it. I have heard teacher after teaching talk about administrators meddling with their teaching, with only a few here and there managing to sort of “establish” turf and buck the system, so to speak.

So like you I am happy that I chose to go it alone. I also have zero connections with other teachers in this area. I would be more likely to talk with someone local in a forum like this than through any other means. I'm a lone wolf by temperament, I suppose. smile
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#2042414 - 03/03/13 04:27 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: currawong
I think CS Lewis would have called himself an atheist in the period before his conversion (and I think he calls it that in Surprised by Joy, doesn't he? Not 100% sure - it's a while since I read it) even though he'd grown up in the Church of England. Well, Church of Ireland actually.

Yes, CS Lewis most definitely called himself an atheist before his conversion. smile


Yes he did.

And no he didn't.

Strangely enough, your sentence is both true and false. Your sentence structure leaves two interpretations possible.

Before his conversion, CS Lewis was an Anglican who professed to be a believer. He did not call himself an atheist, before conversion. So you're wrong.

After his conversion, CS Lewis believed that his prior state of belief had been atheistic. He then called himself an atheist before conversion, but only after conversion. So you're right.

My reading of what he said convinced me he went from lukewarm belief to fervent belief.

One thing is clear: he was never a professed atheist.

Conversions do happen, in both directions.

The majority are from believer to atheist, and are based on some level of critical thinking. Exposure to science class in college seems to do a fair job by about Thanksgiving break for a large number of students. Different religions and denominations within such are affected differently.

The minority are from atheist to believer, and are based on an emotional event.

There are a large number that appear to be fraudulent as well.
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#2042417 - 03/03/13 04:30 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
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It does seem reasonable to evaluate teacher performance.

Doing so by test scores seems inherently flawed, because then their performance depends on factors beyond their control, and because it causes them to teach to the test. And while all classes teach to the test to some extent, if the test is related to the material, these particular tests seem to have flaws.

How would you evaluate teachers?
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#2042425 - 03/03/13 04:50 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
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KeyString, before continue the discussion, what is your stand?

1. The standardized testing itself is OK, but the quality of the test in BC is the problem, so is the institute interprets the result.

2. Standardized testing in any form at any frequency in the public school system is bad.

Cheers

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys


In this province students takes 2 standardized testing in the first 9 years of school, and Fraser Institute, an independent think tank organization that interprets the result,....

And that is the problem. The sample tests that I saw were flawed and would not reflect much about reading ability. It does not give any information. Do the people in that institute have a background in education? Do you know? Actually I think I'll try to find out. I imagine that since it's your province, you have already tried to do so.

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/

I see a header "A free and prosperous world through choice, markets, and responsibility". That gives me the impression that their interest is financial. In fact, they do research in a whole pile of fields. The person heading the educational research part has a degree in commerce.

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#2042441 - 03/03/13 05:15 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
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The Monkeys, from what I've seen, I see no use for it, and also possible harm.

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#2042443 - 03/03/13 05:20 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: TimR
It does seem reasonable to evaluate teacher performance.

Doing so by test scores seems inherently flawed, because then their performance depends on factors beyond their control, and because it causes them to teach to the test. And while all classes teach to the test to some extent, if the test is related to the material, these particular tests seem to have flaws.

How would you evaluate teachers?

How about how it was always done? When I was teaching, the principal came to observe classes and look at paperwork. The superintendent of schools came in to look at my work. He observed classes, looked at what students were doing and at their results. I remember him asking me for a "matrix" which was a new concept I had not been told of in teacher's college. I loved the idea and adopted it from then on. A matrix is where you create a chart for the year where you show what you plan to teach when for all the subjects. You include "integration", meaning the overlap between subjects. For example, if you teach science, something you are teaching in math. can be applied, and reading/writing skills can be applied.

The idea that a commercial body should oversee such things seems absurd.

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#2042466 - 03/03/13 05:58 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 422
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: keystring

The Monkeys, from what I've seen, I see no use for it, and also possible harm.


Since you have already taken side, it is pointless to discuss the quality of the test and the interpretation of the result, since you will only see the flaws.

What is your stand on SAT and ACT? Do you think they are necessary?

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#2042475 - 03/03/13 06:16 PM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: The Monkeys]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11561
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

Since you have already taken side, it is pointless to discuss the quality of the test and the interpretation of the result, since you will only see the flaws.

I did not start with an opinion. I started by looking at the tests. I have also given information - several times - and I don't think you are considering any of it. If so, then discussing it further doesn't seem worthwhile. Besides, the main topic is supposed to be what is going on in Florida.

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#2042642 - 03/04/13 12:54 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: keystring
The idea that a commercial body should oversee such things seems absurd.


The idea that commercial bodies should be allowed to control the banking system and crash the world economy, extracting billions in profits and tax dollars for themselves, or the provision of health care or social health insurance and profiting obscenely by keep millions of of people uninsured and sick and/or underinsured and dying, or having private mercenary corporations receiving tens of billions of dollars to commit war crimes abroad, etc. etc. all seem to me to be infinitely more absurd.

Yet those are the choices being made.

Why would this be a surprise?

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#2042656 - 03/04/13 02:12 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 422
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

Since you have already taken side, it is pointless to discuss the quality of the test and the interpretation of the result, since you will only see the flaws.

I did not start with an opinion. I started by looking at the tests. I have also given information - several times - and I don't think you are considering any of it. If so, then discussing it further doesn't seem worthwhile. Besides, the main topic is supposed to be what is going on in Florida.


I was genuinely impressed that you took time to look into the FSA test samples and investigated Fraser Institute, I do appreciate your opinions. Yes, you provided opinion to the FSA test samples and some information of Fraser Institute.
And I probably used wrong words in my post, English is not my first language after all, so I not sensitive to the tone.

But apparently the issue is not the quality or frequency of the test, nor the interpretation of the result. It is the standardized test itself you are opposing to. And you are not alone, many people in this forum shares your view.

If any form of the standardized would change your mind, I would have plenty to talk about. But it is not the case, so I didn't feel it would be useful to talk about it, it is a different argument.

Teachers, parents, students and government all see things from different angles, I don't think any party holds the whole truth, we all have to live with some compromise, it is just the way it is.


Edited by The Monkeys (03/04/13 02:16 AM)

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#2042674 - 03/04/13 04:04 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: theJourney]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4746
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: theJourney

The idea that commercial bodies should be allowed to control the banking system and crash the world economy, extracting billions in profits and tax dollars for themselves, or the provision of health care or social health insurance and profiting obscenely by keep millions of of people uninsured and sick and/or underinsured and dying, or having private mercenary corporations receiving tens of billions of dollars to commit war crimes abroad, etc. etc. all seem to me to be infinitely more absurd.

I would not want to rate the level of absurdity for those different matters, but otherwise I might agree.

However, perhaps if people were taught to think instead of how to fill in bubbles on tests, more people might be aware that these things are happening, and perhaps some of this absurdity might eventually be changed.

Or maybe not...

Regardless, do you have anything to add from personal experience as a teacher? Have you taught music, for instance? Do you or have you taught piano privately?

Some of us are talking about how testing affects our work, as teachers, because of problems it creates that directly affect what we do. I was talking specifically about testing done in Florida, in my area, and some of the results I see on a daily basis as the result of said testing.

I don't know much of anything about being a management consultant, which your profile says is your occupation. What do you know about teaching piano, which is my occupation?
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2042679 - 03/04/13 04:17 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Gary D
.... perhaps if people were taught to think instead of how to fill in bubbles on tests, more people might be aware that these things are happening, and perhaps some of this absurdity might eventually be changed.

Or maybe not...


But to implement testing that is valid and tests integration and mastery, essay questions for example, requires having real, live, paid teachers to mark and correct them. And we all know that that is impossible since if you read the newspaper or pay attention at local city hall and school board meetings, almost all teachers are lazy, incompetent, overpaid, union sheltered slackers that we would all be better off without, along with firefighters, police men and women and others spending our tax dollars. The Banksters of course deserve all their hard-earned billions. And testing corporations that get on the gravy train are off limits too.

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#2042684 - 03/04/13 04:37 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: TimR]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4746
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: TimR

Strangely enough, your sentence is both true and false. Your sentence structure leaves two interpretations possible.

No, it doesn't. My sentence structure is perfectly clear. But my FACTS may be in error.

I said:
Quote:

Yes, CS Lewis most definitely called himself an atheist before his conversion. smile


I stated, very clearly, that Lewis called himself an atheist before his “conversion”.

You seem to have read otherwise, so I have done some reading myself and now think I was wrong.

Or perhaps it is fairer to say that there is considerable disagreement about what the word “atheist” means.

So there is a great deal of debate about just what CS Lewis was at the time that he LATER called himself an atheist.

As always the truth is complicated, Tim, and I'm glad you pushed me to do some more research.

I would continue this, but in the end this is a forum for music, not religion, so I think we will end up boring or annoying other people if we carry on... smile
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2042687 - 03/04/13 04:47 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: theJourney]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4746
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: Gary D
.... perhaps if people were taught to think instead of how to fill in bubbles on tests, more people might be aware that these things are happening, and perhaps some of this absurdity might eventually be changed.

Or maybe not...


But to implement testing that is valid and tests integration and mastery, essay questions for example, requires having real, live, paid teachers to mark and correct them. And we all know that that is impossible since if you read the newspaper or pay attention at local city hall and school board meetings, almost all teachers are lazy, incompetent, overpaid, union sheltered slackers that we would all be better off without, along with firefighters, police men and women and others spending our tax dollars. The Banksters of course deserve all their hard-earned billions. And testing corporations that get on the gravy train are off limits too.

I don't know how to respond to this, or if I should even try.

Your post sounds like a rant.

So do some of my posts.

If we had the opportunity to sit down and talk, I suspect we might find out that we are more in agreement on many of your points than you realize.

Have you ever considered that in my case you may be preaching to the choir?
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2042693 - 03/04/13 05:06 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Well, it is a forum. Although we appear to be having a dialog just the two of us, in fact, our dialog is being heard by many others. I hope you don't see me as arguing with or against you but arguing towards certain (shared) points...Peace!

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#2042721 - 03/04/13 07:39 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3156
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Or perhaps it is fairer to say that there is considerable disagreement about what the word “atheist” means.

So there is a great deal of debate about just what CS Lewis was at the time that he LATER called himself an atheist.



That's how I see it too, but on doing a little research myself I realized many references do see him as an atheist-to-Christian conversion example. I think they misrepresent what really happened, but it's hard to know.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2043240 - 03/05/13 08:21 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: MaggieGirl]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 226
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl


I completely agree! The tests are called EOG and they begin in about a month. Students already super stressed about them. Happens every year.

Had a student the other day in tears because she is failing some of her subjects, gets punished, but then tells her mother in my presence that the teacher is not explaining the homework, and mother agrees. How in the world do you sit by and not become the tiger mom and go down and complain?!?!?!
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#2043267 - 03/05/13 09:24 AM Re: Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students... [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11561
Loc: Canada
Here's what went on over here, and why I understand a fair bit about it.

To start with, I taught in the public school system as a trained teacher in the early 1980's. Therefore I had a copy of the curriculum guidelines in a thick binder, and knew at least the K - 6 part inside out. Curriculum guidelines are what traces the knowledge that should be acquired at each age level. For example, addition and subtraction as concept and skill up to 10 in grade 1, expanding to double digit numbers with regrouping and introducing multiplication in grade 2. We were trained to identify goals, and create lesson plans in which we set out how we would teach it, how students would practice the skill, and how we would assess it. A superintendent of schools assessing my teaching taught me about creating "matrices" for the year.

Later I homeschooled after researching alternatives, and various teaching approaches out there. Because I homeschooled, I kept abreast of the curriculum guidelines, always making sure my children learned at least what was being taught in the school system, so that they could integrate at any time, which eventually they did. So again I was on top of it.

I was also tutoring kids who were in the school system, and my new profession also connected me to education in other countries as well as in this country.

We got a new provincial government, and I think that had an outside concern (industry) do research. They reformed our health system (closed hospitals), social security system, and education system. They got rid of gr. 13 and also closed schools. Think of the $$$ that were saved by both moves. At that point students I tutored were telling me of rushing to classes so that they could sit in a chair instead of the floor. I guess at some point the furniture problem got solved. whistle

The old curriculum guidelines had never been published. This new government published what it was doing, which impressed the public, but I recognized the material from before.

When grade 13 was removed, every grade was effectively one year behind, and teachers had to scramble. The gr. 4 teacher had to give her kids gr. 4 and gr. 5 material, as if gr. 4 had been taught. The grade 11 & 12 "university stream" math was deemed unteachable and teachers advised to avoid it. ( We were lucky that we were always a grade ahead anyway, so it did not affect my children.) Also, not all subjects were available in all schools anymore. If you were in a blue collar district they were likely to teach lower level science, and if you wanted to apply to university, you could not get your prerequisites. You also could not transfer to another school, because with the school closures, we now had a shortage of schools.

One result of this was that full-time students had to also attend night school. There were two in the city. One of my sons did night school while in grade 12, doing insane hours since night school is condensed. He'd be awake round the clock some days just to catch up, and he is a fast learner. I remember all the cars.

Since one of my children homeschooled up to gr. 11, I was also involved in the new textbooks, consulting with principals, and learning how these books were produced. There was a choice of two of them for math. and physics. The one we chose was chosen by only a few of the schools, and kids that I tutored preferred that one when they came to see it. Re: tutoring - I saw the fallout of the reform, since I tutored the kids.

When this reform started, there were big political things going on. The teachers protested what was happening, and a huge public smear campaign against teachers (and doctors, and nurses) was launched. You couldn't turn on the radio or t.v. without getting negative images and sarcasm against teachers, doctors, and nurses. One day someone switched to a U.S. channel where there was a commercial with an actress playing a teacher, at her desk, selling some "educational product". My first reaction was to flinch, expecting a smear campaign - then it was "Oh yes, teachers are usually respected and this is the U.S., where teachers are not vilified." My own reaction shocked me.

School principals were given a new status so that they could not side with teachers. A new organization was formed, and I lost my teacher certification because I couldn't come up with the annual fee. Apparently money makes you qualified.

The one good thing they did were the calculators. The research company found out that industries wanted employees to know how to use a fancy scientific calculator, so that calculator became mandatory, and learning how to use it became part of the math curriculum. It's in the house somewhere gathering dust, but that calculator was fun.


Edited by keystring (03/05/13 09:26 AM)

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