Testing in NYC

29 01 2007

http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/01282007/news/regionalnews/lost_lessons_in_test_prep_craze_regionalnews_angela_montefinise.htm

  • teaching strategies instead of just teaching….

     – post by del_ambiguity

January 28, 2007 — For a month, third-graders at one Brooklyn elementary school had only two social-studies lessons.

Their teacher said she was too busy teaching kids test-taking strategies.

"The kids can’t tell you who the president was during the Civil War," she said. "But they can tell you how to eliminate answers on a multiple-choice test. And as long as our test scores are up, everyone will be happy.

"That’s education?"

The teacher, who requested anonymity, said she was ordered by her principal to "forget about everything except test prep" over the four weeks prior to this month’s statewide English tests.

"All anyone cares about now are test scores," she lamented.

Since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 brought high-stakes testing to the nation, city teachers have complained that statewide tests and test preparation have dominated class time. Now, they say, the situation is getting worse.

Another teacher called it "institutionalized child abuse."

There are no systemwide rules for test prep. Individual schools decide how much is necessary.

Principals are partially evaluated on test scores, so "naturally, they want the scores up, [and] that’s our priority," one teacher said. "Actual education is second."

Tests are crucial because they "give schools valuable information that they use to pinpoint students’ strengths and weaknesses and create academic plans to address them," said city Department of Education spokesman Andrew Jacob.
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