Monday, July 13, 2009

New testing proposed for PA

I'm going to TRY to keep my thoughts out of this one and just put it out there. What do YOU think?

PA is considering a new way to test its students. Instead of testing (PSSA) every three years there would be a series tests given when the course is completed. Fine. I suppose. There's more to the article than that, of course.

But, I'm haunted by the comments of one person (not mentioned in the article) who suggested to me that it's better to give the tests when the kids have just finished the course and can therefore still remember the material, than to wait two or three years to test them when they've forgotten it.

That's where I'll leave this to your comments.


Art Gelwicks said...

The odds are good that the scores will be higher for these, but is the testing for understanding or retention? These sound more like standardized finals than anything else. I'm not impressed by the concept in either case.

Kyle said...

I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. I will state, however, that these new measures will eliminate the possibility that a student is currently enrolled in a course in which they will learn the content being tested.

Restated: Students won't (as often) be tested on content to which they have not yet been exposed.

I would imagine this helps high schools that have a block schedule more than schools operating under traditional schedules.

Jim Gates said...

That's a good point. It's certainly not right to test kids on something that they haven't yet studied. And, having taught in a school with block schedules I can attest to the fact that it will help those students, for sure.

When I taught programming I always felt confident that the students would remember much of what they learned in there because every program they had to write was a true authentic assessment. And, I still meet former students (one at the last PETE&C conference) who told me that he still remembers the Peek and Poke statements that we used to change screen colors on the Commodore 64's. Talk about trivia, eh? But, apparently they truly learned it. :)

Jayne said...

Yeah, it's bad if everyone has short term memory. But probably more realistic if it is tested years after, I'm sure the scores go down a great deal...students tend to forget the things they never think about once classes have ended.