Friday, April 10, 2009

Meditation Upon Standardized Testing II: Less Mediative, More Rant

In the comments to my last drivel regarding standardized testing, the topic of teachers emailing during test administration, and its inappropriateness, (the act of emailing, not the content of the emails) has come up. I started a comment and it kinda got out of hand, so I present it here as a secondary blogpost. Probably not a good idea, but I'm full of ideas that are probably not good ones.

First the last previous comment from the last post:
Me: I got the email about not emailing.

Anonymous: Well hells bells, if the kids can break all the ridiculous rules in place for them with no consequences, it is way past time for teachers to follow their lead! ;)
And now my bloviated, unnecessarily long response:

The funny thing (okay, it's one of 5,000,000 funny things when it comes to SBAs) is that I'm a over-the-top law-abiding person. Irritatingly so. But when faced with "laws" straight out of Woody Allen's "Bananas": "From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old!", what are you gonna do?

I gotta think that underlying much of these SBA "laws" is the mindset that teachers/students CARE about the testing. CARE so much that they will consider cheating (via nefarious emailing and such, I guess). Well, here's a newsflash to SBA overlords: we don't care about the SBAs. We really don't.

We care about following silly rules to a point and don't leave the test materials "unsecured" and all that, but when it comes to advanced nefarious planning to "cheat" on these things using email, spy planes and such, that is so far away from our actual mindset toward this like the mental space between Alpha Centauri and Barelas.

All we care about with SBAs is: are they over yet? And when the scores come out and we "pass" this and "fail" that we will not feel differently about our students, school and work performance one iota. And, thankfully, neither will our students.

A few parents and some "gotcha" local media will care, and they will try to convince other parents to care, and these parents may or may not care on some superficial level because they know they are supposed to care about their child's education, even if it not really clear to them what these test scores mean when it comes to their own child's education.

To misquote Allen Ginsberg, America go *&%^ yourself with your Standardized Testing.

1 comment:

Lucky said...

At my school (a week of testing left, by the way) we were actually threatened - if caught emailing, our internet would be disabled for the rest of the year.

Now, I couldn't cheat even if I wanted to. In my room, I could leave the answers on the board and the kids wouldn't know enough to copy them. In the ED room, test results are a foregone conclusion. We failed.