Darren over at “Right on Left Coast” (blogroll) has a post that we can both agree on; testing is a totally pointless pursuit unless there is an actual incentive to do well on it. Case in point; last year I had a couple of Advanced Placement U.S. History students score a 4 on the AP exam (that’s three essays and much tougher multiple choice), yet score barely proficient on the basic state-mandated standards testing. So which test should my overall accountability as a teacher be tied to?
We just ended the STAR tests this last week and I don’t know if our politicians realize that teachers are simply going through the motions when it comes to these pointless exercises. Wasting weeks of class instruction with testing bubbles that spell out “Thug Life” is clearly not something that best benefits society. Neither is driving to the house of a student to drag them to a room to take a test that asks about how ugly Leland Stanford was or how many hookers bedded down with Jerry Farwell. It’s degrading. I’m still waiting for the moment when Ukiah School Board members start showing up outside the windows of testing no-shows with a boom box playing “In Your Eyes.” They’ll lure the young lads outside and butterfly net them into a waiting van to take them to the friendly confines of Ukiah High School. There the students will calmly flip off every member of the administration while reminding them that the test means more to the school than to the student, and that they should just give them their end-of-testing ice cream sandwich now and move along.
But it’s over now and the Advanced Placement testing has begun. You know, testing that has lasting implications if done well. I’d work hard if I knew my scores could save me thousands of dollars.