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01 April 2013 @ 10:02 am
No Fooling  
The Texas state test STAAR (and I cannot help but think how Texas schoolchildren will spell the word STAR from now on) begins today, a cruel April, not Fool's Day event. I have been out of the middle school classroom for four generations of this test. I left after we began administering the first statewide test, TABS (Texas Assessment of Basic Skills) and with TEAMS (Texas Assessment of Minimal Skills) on the horizon. Then it was on to the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) and now STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness). Enough with the acronyms already. Let's call this thing what it really is: See, Teachers Are Not Doing And Need Direction Clearly Heaps of Exams Elevate Results Results (STAND AND CHEER). Okay, that was lame. It is tough to parody something as sinister as statewide assessments especially when legislators keep changing the tests and the rules. You see, once kids start passing these tests at too high a rate, it seems we have to have new assessments.

This calls to mind the headline from the weekend (see the story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/education/curious-grade-for-teachers-nearly-all-pass.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=nyregion) that indicated more than 95% of teachers in 3 states were scoring highly on the brand spanking new teacher assessment tool. Of course, there was an immediate assertion that either the instrument of evaluation was flawed or it was not being properly applied. Heave forbid we have good teachers! Looks like we are going back to the drawing baord with this evaluation as well. And recently, the Texas Legislature put a hold on the new EOC tests that had been put into place. All of them were due to be implemented and to count for 15% of the final course grade. In part, concerns have been expressed about the incredibly high costs of such measurements, about the % of the final grade in a course, and about the potentially high failure rates that could result (the English I raw score average was 33 out of 56, technically a 59%; however, pass rates are not set in the usual manner and I wonder how many outside of education know that?).

So, how am I celebrating April Fool's Day and the opening of STAAR season? By weeding books and setting up 5 carts and a table full of books. Tomorrow one of the college's methods classes is coming by to take books for their future classroom libraries. Yes, that's right. I am giving books to blooming teachers. It's the least I can do. So enough lamentation about testing. Back to teh sweaty work of weeding. A much more constructive use of my time, right?
 
 
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Current Mood: test-y