Saturday, March 24, 2007

Test Prep

Here in the edusphere, we've discussed, to the point of death, the merits of state exams that inform the public about what students learn in school. NCLB created the need for accurate measurements of student learning. And while I don't wish to debate that particular corner of the subject, I would like to bring to this page a viewpoint I had not thought about.
A student of mine, a senior, recognized that our district will go to extraoridnary measures to ensure that students have the training necessary for the WASL--our state exam. We offer summer school sessions and support classes intending to help every student meet standard. This is the reality in which we opperate, and I can't say that I don't support the premise.
However, the student then noted that our district does not do the same for other equally important tests like the ACT and the SAT. Sure, we all understand that the SAT or ACT do not affect whether or not the schools receive Federal funding--the WASL does. But if we are truly about preparing students for the worl after high school, then shouldn't we put as much effort and money that we put into a minimum competency test like the WASL into a test that will determine college acceptance.
My student is correct. We should care as much about the SAT's and ACT's as we do about the WASL.


At 6:10 PM , Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Mr. McNamar, you might know more about this than I do, but how can we prepare them for the ACT and SAT? Aren't we doing all we can do for that if we simply try to get kids to learn as much as possible in our classes?

By the way, regarding your last post, there has been a lot of talk about how much better a job they are doing educating kids in places like India and China. Can you imagine a student in one of those places ever daring to question the evaluation of a professor like the student in your example did?

At 12:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of SAT and ACT scores, what do the schools do to recognize the achievements of students who score well on those tests before they ever hit high school at all? namely, the middle schoolers who get high scores on tests taken for the Washington Search for Young Scholars or the Johns Hopkins Talent Search? The answer, in my experience, is precious little -- at most a line or so in a school newsletter. I hope it's better elsewhere, and that at least a few places take such scores into account when advising the student on course selection.

I thought I just posted the above, but it doesn't seem to have gone through. I apologize if it turns up twice.


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