Why Not Rant on Someone Else’s Blog if You Get the Chance?

So, I was reading Miguel Guhlin’s blog yesterday and I came across a post entitled Shocking Education Culture.  It is a great post and brings up some interesting and thought-provoking ideas, but I was taken aback when I read this as one of the potential solutions to a stagnating culture…

Link compensation to desired performance goal (e.g. technology use) – For K-12 educators, this would means having a high stakes test that measures student technology competencies within the content areas…not a separate technology test, but a content area test that uses technology.”

After reading the above statement, I couldn’t even concentrate on the rest of the post until I left a comment.  So, this is what I said…

“I enjoyed your post until I got to this statement…

‘Link compensation to desired performance goal (e.g. technology use) – For K-12 educators, this would means having a high stakes test that measures student technology competencies within the content areas…not a separate technology test, but a content area test that uses technology.’

I beg of you… no more high-stakes testing!! Not even the re-vamping of current testing to include technology… We need a better and differentiated way to assess what students are learning – portfolios, projects, presentations, discussions. Anything but standardized tests!!”

And then he said…

“Angela, thanks for commenting. I’m exploring ideas here, so let me go out on the limb a bit further.

Today, I facilitated a meeting of campus technology representatives. We shared the changing expectations of teachers in the new long range plan for technology (read earlier blog entry on the subject).

One of the teachers came up afterward and shared how scary this was for teachers…technology on top of high stakes tests. If teachers–and to be honest, blogging teachers are a minority–only pay attention when there is a high stakes test…maybe what we need is a bit more of what we fear.

What’s a better approach?”

And then I said…

“Unfortunately, I can’t claim to have all the answers, but I do think there has to be a better way than how we are doing it in Texas. Here are some ideas…

1. In lieu of an exit-level test, why not a portfolio that showcases students’ strengths instead of points out their deficiencies (and of course, technology would be a component of this… in fact, why not e-portfolios?)

2. If we must have a test, why not “grade” students on how well they have progressed from year to year instead of requiring the same exit-level score for everyone?

3. In lieu of a test, why not have an exit-level project that utilizes skills students have learned to solve real-world problems?

Honestly, I don’t know… I know technology use is scary to many teachers but it is not to the students. Teachers need to learn to give up a little bit of their control and allow their students to teach them once in awhile. It is okay that the teacher doesn’t know everything as long as he/she is willing to learn.

I am just afraid that tacking technology on to the already high pressure and high stakes testing will just result in more drill and kill and less actual learning.

Thanks for listening to my rant.”

<All of a sudden I felt like a teenage girl again. “What did he say next? And then she said…> 🙂

I think it is an interesting conversation and would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.  Any opinions?

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Explore posts in the same categories: EdTech, Miguel Guhlin, Rant

2 Comments on “Why Not Rant on Someone Else’s Blog if You Get the Chance?”

  1. Mark Ahlness Says:

    Angela,

    High stakes testing is one more (BIG) nail in the coffin of web 2.0 in education. I do not believe the terms “testing” and “web 2.0” should even be mentioned in the same sentence.

    Using the most revolutionary tools to come along in a century of teaching to justify the most repressive approach to education in the past century – is negligent, at best.

    I’m with you 100% – Mark


  2. Mark – thanks for the comment and the support.

    You can continue the conversation over on Miguel’s site too.

    http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin/archives/2006/11/entry_2333.htm


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