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L.A. Teachers Boycott Testing


There's a lot of important teacher activity in Los Angeles these days. Don't miss this story about the local teachers' union threatening to boycott the district's use of "interim," or periodic assessments. But both The Los Angeles Times and the district attribute an increase in student achievement to the tests.

There are lot of issues to tease out here, and without knowing more about how these assessments operate, it's hard to comment on them. On the one hand, I can understand how frustrating it must be for teachers to give these tests if they're not well timed to what's being covered in class, and the article notes that that's been a problem. On the other hand, I can't help but wonder if the union is overestimating teachers' own ability to create and score formative assessments. As any teacher from Nebraska can tell you, that can be incredibly time-consuming and difficult to do, even with training.


Hey... good for our Los Angeles public school teachers! When our daughter did her year in high school, with our support she was one of five students in the school of several thousand who opted out of the standardized tests. This saved her all that stress and denied the testing beast at least a few drops of blood...*g*

The continued ratcheting up of all this high stakes testing threatens our kids self-esteem, agency and sanity. My friend Emily's son did not hit the threshold on his std math test and was forced into a Saturday school program.

Cooper--my reading is that these are not "high stakes" tests. I believe that they are "standardized" in the sense that everyone in the district is taking the same test. My district has used something along these lines for many years, although they were much less of an issue prior to NCLB, when everyone started developing an aversion to testing and appending the words "high stakes" to every testing event.

The provision of some external evaluative measure should allow teachers to have a valid means of knowing the progress of students through the curriculum. I cannot say that the California situation is like this. My experience has been that there is way too much effort put into making these "interim" testing situations look like the state-level annual tests (based on the belief that kids don't do well on the state tests because they are in some way "foreign" to their experience). I don't think that this is helpful, particularly when the timing is based on the calendar rather than instruction and results are not immediately available.

Our experience with "low stakes" testing, over decades, however, has been that the results are noted and filed and seldom have any impact. I think that the most significant "stake" associated with most of the recent testing has been publication of the results.

Get over it! Stress! I am a small business owner. I am on a performance plan everyday. I am tested everyday. Customers don't care about my self esteem. They want results from me. Why teach our children any different? Sometimes I win; sometimes I don't! On average, I get what I deserve Let's prepare our children for the REAL world!

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