02 October 2011

The Mystery Soccer Score

We're playing soccer.

"Suppose, during the game, that no one can see if the ball goes into the net on a shot on goal; only the official scorer can see this but the result is not reported during the game. Finally, imagine if the only feedback players and coaches get from the game is delivered four weeks later as a final score. Who would improve under such a system? Who would meet soccer Standards other than gifted players under such a system? Yet this is how assessment works in school: there is little correlation between local grading and state standards and tests, feedback from standards-based tests comes too late to use for improvement, and there is too little detail in the feedback."

Ok, I like this idea of returning the tests to the children and showing them which answers they got wrong... maybe having the teacher take a class period to discuss why most kids got problem three incorrect. But I have a real problem with where the blogger *seems* to be heading: toward the standardisation of teacher evaluation and even the classes themselves in order to align with state testing objectives.  I'm imagining the teachers' unions should (and I'd agree with 'em for once!) fight that idea tooth and nail. 

But the streamlining of classes to help students pass state tests?  I suppose one could argue that everyone is already TRYING to align themselves with state testing objectives... that that is a given... and that standardising the classes themselves so that students perform well on the tests simply makes the process more efficient.

Beh.  I would like to see my local teacher make up her own class, and her own assessments for the class.  It would be nice if the teacher were told by the school board (not the state!) that this year in second grade, we'd like the children to be able to multiply two-digit numbers and tell time, please.  Go do that however you want to do that.

And then Mrs. Smith goes off, chooses her curriculum and figures out how to make all her students able to accomplish this goal.  I know some children won't make the goal but mostly?  No reason Mrs. Smith shouldn't be able to teach from her fave textbook.  I don't like how every third grade classroom contains all the same materials.  There's just no escape that way.  I could move across town and find my child is using the same crapola I didn't like in the last school.  Blehhh, and my child would be doing all the same stuff in the same order and there would be no surprises. 

When I was a kid and I moved?  They'd surprise you.  You just never knew if you'd arrive ahead or behind the game.  Some places even had new numbers and letters like "Zed" and "Ought." 


  1. Because...

    In soccer we are all heading toward the same goal -- getting the ball in the net.

    Is that true of education? Have we defined what it means to be educated? Is the goal the same for every child regardless of their individual strengths and weaknesses? Is the goal determined by educators? Businesses who would like a work force that has good soft skills? More importantly, if a person has an area of interest and strength, do we ignore that and concentrate on teaching to their weaknesses?

    I am not trying to start a fight. I do think the student should get feedback about his or her performance. The teacher should too. But the soccer analogy is weak unless we can agree on the object of educating our youth.

    I have David's man-cold. It may be just as miserable as he was letting on! :o)

  2. (Tackles Julie with resounding bone-breaking *crunch*)

    It's onnnn... seriously, Julie, you KNOW the goal of educating our young people is three-fold:

    1. free childcare! (if you disagree, try suggesting that we shouldn't have public school and you WILL get this argument back, along with what about poor poopsie and her free lunch)

    2. employment! (again, try arguing that we should cut all those jobs...)

    3. college education! That's right! Fill in bubbles today; become an engineer graduate of MIT tomorrow!

    I only wish I were kidding. If it were NOT true, we'd have:

    1. vouchers for everyone! Maybe my special needs kid gets a higher dollar amount, but there you go.

    2. more voc-tech schools! Because not everyone wants to, or should, go to college.

    3. Less emphasis on truancy! Educate your child as you see fit, spend the voucher or give it back. Your life.

    PS. I don't drink but when I'm sick, NyQuil is my friend and I just go to bed. (Hint: good night!)

  3. Out here the education curriculum is gradually being "dumbed down" so that kids aren't left behind, everybody passes at the end of the year. There was also some sort of kerfuffle last year (that I didn't take much notice of), about competition being removed from the classrooms, so that kids who got poor grades didn't feel bad about themselves.
    In my opinion, this is a very bad move. if kids aren't learning properly, they need extra help to understand the lessons, without testing how will the teacher know if he/she is doing a good job? How will he/she know that "Johnny" or "Susie" is having trouble understanding the three times table or still can't fluently read a first grade reader even though "J" or "S" is now in the third grade?
    And what happens to the smarter kids who are going to get so terribly bored because there is no challenge available to them in the learning environment?

  4. Brains, yayy for having more than one "choice," eh?

    River, I know just what you mean. In the old days, we all knew who was in the "star" or "robin" class and what it really meant. No one was fooled. Today? No one is fooled... but now we just resent things being too hard for the disabled kids and not challenging enough for the gifted children...

    Middle-achievers? Who cares about those? Funny thing is, they'll perform average-ly on just about any test you throw at 'em. :)


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)