Off The Beaten Path

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Georgia, United States
Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same.

Tuesday, April 15


Tomorrow begins the CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests) at Nick's school.

Georgia law, as amended by the A+ Education Reform Act of 2000, requires that all students in grades one through eight take the CRCT in the content areas of reading, English/language arts, and mathematics. Students in grades three through eight are also assessed in science and social studies. In the third, fifth and eight grade, the test must be passed in order to advance to the next class. If you do not pass the tests, first you have to go to summer school, then, when taken again, if you do not pass, you are held back from advancement.

Criterion-referenced tests, such as the CRCT, were designed to measure how well students acquire, learn, and accomplish the knowledge and skills set forth in a specific curriculum or unit of instruction because the government decided that the teachers were not able to adequately judge a child's knowledge through grades alone. And teachers were just passing kids on to the next grade before they actually knew the course material.

Maybe this did happen, once in awhile, but personally I liked school better before the CRCT's. Teachers now must spend the entire year just getting a child prepped for taking tests in those advancement years when the child must pass. I remember when Nick was in fifth grade and he said all they did was study for the CRCT's to the exclusion of learning anything else. Luckily Nick likes test.


quilly said...

Why is it teachers always take the rap? For many years the school districts, not the teachers, insisted kids be passed whether they knew the curriculum or not. Kids who are retained cost extra money don't you know. Tax payers don't want that.

School district policy is made by the board of education. The board of education is made up of parents and community leaders -- very few teachers. And I think if you check you'll discover that initially teachers did a lot of screaming about passing kids who weren't ready. Many teachers still do. It doesn't matter.

Regardless of popular belief, the teacher has very little say in whether or not a child passes. The parents tell the school district what they want. The school district tells the principal. The principal tells the teachers. The teacher takes the blame.

As to teaching only to the test. If the test is criterion referenced then the criterion MUST be taught. You know, the math, the science, the social studies ...

Burfica said...

sounds like Arizona and their stupid aims testing. A kid has to pass the aims test to graduate from high school. The teachers and kids have deemed Aims so difficult that even adults and educated adults can't pass it. They start the kids on studying and practicing the aims test from 1st grade on. Kiddo is in 6th grade and is on his 2nd week of testing this week.

Dr.John said...

If learning is important then testing isn't the answer. Real learning happens when a child discovers a world they want to know something about and that takes good teaching not good testing. Teaching for tests is not that kind of teaching.

Nea said...

They do spend the entire year teaching how to take the CRCT tests, with the exclusion of everything else. They teach only what they know will be on the tests. That is all well and good, but it is not a well rounded education. I am not saying it is the teachers fault, but here in Georgia, the teachers will be let go, fired, if their students do not perform well on the CRCT's. I had a long talk with the Principal about all of this, and although I can't print it all out on my blog, it is way to involved, the crux of the situation is, The CRCT testing is making it hard on the school, teachers and students alike.

Nea said...

Hi Burfica, personally I hate tests, especially these tests, A part of the problem with the CRCT tests, they are not constructed very intelligently. And many of the answers are not exact, they are subjective. Case in point, they had a story my son had to read, about a frog catching a fly.... after he read the story, he was to decide for himself, what was the main topic of the story. It said that if you were to sit and watch this frog for hours, you would soon be exhausted and all tired out from just sitting there watching to see if it would catch a fly. The answers were multiple choice, I remember one of the answers was, (a) frogs are interesting, (b) frogs move fast (c) you will get impatient waiting for frog to catch a fly (d) frogs make good pets. Well Nick picked C, the answer was A. No where in the story did it say anything about the frog being interesting, it said quite the opposite, you would get bored. Nick came home totally amazed he got that answer wrong. I was amazed also. WHO MAKES UP these tests for pete's sake. Give me math anyday, 2+2=4.....

He read the story, he picked an answer, WHO decides what is right and what is wrong with such a stupid question anyway.

Nea said...

Dr. John, I totally agree with you. I find testing to be counter productive. I just want my child to learn, not to get stressed over tests. I personally think all tests should be open book, and that answers should be shared. It is the process of learning that is important. Not how well you do on a test. There are many factors that can make a child do poorly on a test. Ill health, lack of sleep, stress. I don't think testing is the end all of education.

Nea said...

Quilly, I am not sure what rap you are talking about. I don't think I put any blame on teachers for anything. Maybe you didn't read the whole thing, or maybe you didn't understand what I was getting at. I didn't say the teachers were responsible for the tests, they are only responsible for having to give them. And yes, they do spend the whole year preparing for them. I have had more than one teacher tell me so. They are asked to do so by their principals. Nick went into one such class in fourth grade, it was made up entirely of kids who had done poorly the year before on the CRCT's. The only reason Nick was in there, he had moved to the school half way through the year. He said he did not learn anything new the rest of that school year. Fourth grade was totally wasted for him. Then he gets in fifth grade, and they spend the whole year preparing him for fifth grade CRCT testing. I can't begin to tell you the things that he didn't learn in those two years. If we weren't on top of it, and filled in the gaps, he would be lost now.

Nea said...

As to the teacher having little to say about whether a child passes.........hmmmmmmmm. It is the teachers responsiblity to teach, if the child isn't learning, whose responsibility is it? What is the teacher being paid for? If the child doesn't pass, I am assuming that he didn't learn enough to pass......someone is responsible? Teachers certainly want the credit when a child learns, so who is responsible when a child doesn't?

My kids have had wonderful teachers and they have had terrible teachers. Yet all the teachers thought they were great. A parent soon learns who the good teachers are and who are the bad. And to me the bad are the ones who blame everyone but themselves when a child doesn't learn. If children are stimulated, entertained, and given incentives they do much better than criticism, brow beating and yelling. I have had a child in school since 1974, five children total, and I have watched more than 70 different teachers through those years, teach my kids. I call tell you by now I know the difference between a good teacher and a lousy one.

Ana had one geometry teacher in her sophomore year in high school that seemed to take pride in the fact that when she gave a test 95 percent of the class failed. Ana got a C. Ana has never gotten a C in her life. I talked to the teacher on the phone and I asked her if she thought maybe there was a chance that she wasn't getting the concepts across to her students. She assured me that she was. Ana said all she did was take the book, go to the board and copy straight from the book onto the board exactly what was written. And then tell them to go home and do the work. No instruction, nothing. Ana went for tutoring, and soon found out WHY she wasn't learning anything. There was no teaching going on. The teacher was lazy, didn't correct homework, didn't go over the results of tests, nothing. I moved ana to a different class, and amazingly she got A's again.

Yes, a teacher has a lot to do with it when a child fails.

Burfica said...

nea--yeah it's just like the aims test. they actually have wrong answers as right ones even for math and other things. Because they say it's all subjective. No kid can be expected to pass that crap.

Nea said...

Hi Burfica, I am so glad that you understand what I am talking about, and can also understand the frustration that I know you also share. It is hard enough to help our kids in school, and believe me, here in Georgia, the parents do a whole lot. Nick has classes where they do nothing, and then give them tons of homework to make up for it.....with no instruction on what they are doing.

And then CRCT's come and some kids are totally lost. Nick isn't one of them, he does well on the CRCT's but it is still frustrating to me, because I know what he isn't learning as a sacrifice to the CRCT's.

So thank you......I needed some understanding. :):)