It seems like standardized testing season is every season these days. Fall and spring ACP exams, STAAR, AP exams, SAT, ACT, PSAT, etc. take up a huge chunk of teacher time in terms of prep. In terms of instruction, teaching the other stuff outside of the test and/or having fun with the content has gone out the window. The high school debate topic this year deals with domestic surveillance which is fun to watch our students dig into. An added bonus is getting to revisit and rethink some of my favorite articles on the topic.
Those of you who've read Giroux know that he's not the biggest fan of standardized testing, common core, or capitalism. For him they are all linked, with standardized testing and common core being symptoms of the larger problem with the capitalist system. His articles and books are always very well written and logically sound. It's hard to argue. It's even more difficult to come out of one of his books or articles not agreeing with him and seeing what he sees.
There's a lot of money in testing. There's even more money in reforming everything based on faceless data. What's more troubling is what's justified once the subjects are boiled down into ink on a paper rather than human beings with dynamic existences and needs. While I don't buy into the conspiracy of people trying to burn down public school districts and create charters out of the ashes, it's fairly easy to see the impact of test focused instruction on the classroom.
Specifically as it relates to the ACT and SAT which many DISD students will be taking soon, it's great that they are going to be able to access these tests cost free. It's unfair that they will get to do so with so little preparation compared to many of their peers. Test data does show a connection between socioeconomic status and performance, but it doesn't tell the whole story. The problem wasn't the cost of the test its the preparation of the test taker.
Colleges are starting to move away from the SAT and ACT as admissions requirements. Some argue that this will make admissions even more subjective than they already are, creating further barriers to students, like those in DISD, from getting into a quality university. Others say the tests are getting in the way of schools looking at the entire student rather than just their number on the paper.
Read the article. It's a tad long and verbose for lunch time/planning period reading, but it's a good one.