Friday, January 19, 2007

[TIPS] Los Angeles Principal Transforms School

How does it happen that a school can go from being among the worst performers on standardized tests to one of the best? Listen to THIS interview for how it was done in Los Angeles:
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And, how do you feel about THIS argument regarding "teaching to the tests." It goes something like this:
       "We're not teaching to the tests, we're teaching to the standards. Semantics? I don't think so.
       "Setting standards for proficiency in various subject areas is NOT a bad thing. In fact, it's a GOOD thing. Wanting them to be proficient in reading and writing and math and science is a GOOD thing. It's necessary, in fact, if we're to expect our kids to compete in a global marketplace. So, the standards are a good thing. Wanting all of our students to be the best they can be is a good thing. We're all changing our curriculums and methods so that our students meet those standards so that they can be the best they can be. How do we KNOW if we've been successful? How do we KNOW if they're achieving the standards? We test them. And, if we expect those test results to truly reflect the student's achievement levels then the students must feel comfortable taking that test. All that means is that those tests must be familiar to them. They must have seen those types of test questions many times bef ore the "big test." So, we test our students OFTEN, using the format of the larger test. Is that teaching to the test? Or is it teaching to the standards and making sure that the tests accurately reflect the achievement levels? Take the NCLB laws out of the picture. Imagine that there IS no NCLB law mandating this. NOW is what we're doing wrong?"
What do you think?

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