Phyllis Tashlik is probably not well known in anyone's world except if you are reading her educational articles for a specific Master's class like I am. Anyway, she writes about alternative assessments and the importance of looking beyond the state/standardized tests as the only means to measure a student's progress. This is my passion. This is my forte. I am in the zone when I read her articles and find myself nodding, yelling out..."Right on, sista!" or simply smiling. She is so right. My favorite quote from this week's article..."We run the risk of valuing what we measure [rather than] measuring what we value" (p. 3). We as teachers know what our kids can do and where they struggle.
A standardized test does not measure the whole child. It does not measure where a child begins and where they end. It does not measure that a divorce might have taken place or the death of a parent occurred a month before the test. Those tests do not measure maturity levels, their ethical decision making (or unethical) or the ways in which they engage in class discussions. They do not gauge a child's innovative abilities or ideas, or creativity. And they do not measure a child's will and motivation level to get out of bed every morning despite the fact they may not have anything in the house to eat for breakfast or for dinner that night when they get home. So where are our state and national leaders when it comes to our real priorities? Are all of these tests in the best interest of what our kids need the most?
Okay, I'm stepping off of my soapbox now.