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#2040912 - 02/28/13 04:57 PM Insane Florida FCAT and what it does to students...
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
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
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Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 439


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 Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
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
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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
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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
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11183
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
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Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 399
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
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
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
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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. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
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. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
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
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Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 439
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: 399
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
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Registered: 04/06/07
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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
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Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 399
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: 10766
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: 11183
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: 399
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. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
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: 11183
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: 2205
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
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
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: 10766
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
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
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
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10766
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
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. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
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
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
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
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 399
Loc: Vancouver BC
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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