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EDT246 current issues

EDT246 current issues - 1 Megan Wauschek EDT246 Current...

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1 Megan Wauschek EDT246 Current Issues March 26, 2011 High Stakes Testing High stakes testing has been a part of education for some time. ("High stakes assessments," 1999) Since the beginning of schooling it has been a way to track students into particular fields or programs, such as the Law School Admission Test or Medical College Admission Test. However, in the past five to ten years high stakes testing has increased greatly, especially in grade school. By reading five journals and interviewing two professionals (a 5 th grade teacher and a speech language pathologist, working in a school) I was able to gain more knowledge on what high stakes testing is and what it means for teachers, students and schools. “it’s no fun, for anyone” this is how one 5 th grade language arts teacher, Ms. Richter, describes the upcoming OAA test her class will be taking in the spring. Jill Richter was asked to abandon all of her other lesson plans and curriculum for the 8 weeks leading up to the test in order to focus soley on test -taking skills and practice OAA tests. When I asked her what she now does in class with her students Ms. Richter responded “It’s mostly just teaching them how to pass the test, there is no content anymore. I teach them how to look back into the readings to answer multiple choice questions and how to guess best when they don’t know the answer.” When I asked her if there are any positives to these types of high-stakes tests she replied, “I mean, it definitely prepares them for the future, because they are going to be taking these tests for many many more years.” This is not an uncommon response. In an article from the Journal of Teacher Education titled
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2 What’s at Stake in High Stakes Testing when teachers were asked if they believe anything good comes out of high stakes tests like these many were hard-pressed to find anything other than the fact that taking tests like this only prepares students to take more tests. (Thomas , & Berksdale-ladd, 2000) The pressure for students to do well has some teachers wondering how much more they can take. “these tests are the only topic of conversation, and it raises your anxiety just to hear how scared everybody is. A few years ago, I really loved teaching, but this pressure is just so intense…I’m not sure how long I can take it.” (Thomas , & Berksdale-ladd, 2000) was one teacher’s description of the pressure that teachers are put under because of high stakes test. From all of the articles I have read on the topic of high
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