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Thread: Are Our Children Better Educated Because of MCAS Testing?

  1. #16
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    Excellent, Jeff, you answer so fast.

    And the reason I asked, is “professional educators” and “tests” notwithstanding, it seems that to involve the students in their own educational process would be a fundamental, well, “educational” experience.

    donBustin@verizon.net

  2. #17
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    Default Fear Can Be A Great Motivator

    Fear can be a great motivator in school but helping students develop intellectual curiosity is more effective. The MCAS was not developed to further intellectual curiosity - although it could be a by-product. My son has never come home from taking MCAS all jazzed about how he learned so much. He hates that MCAS always falls on his birthday!

    Generally, people who like standardized testing do well on them. What would happen if our Wayland teachers had to take a test and they were ranked? Would it matter? What if a class of high-performing 5th graders took the MCAS and aced it but the teacher of that class took a test related to their intelliegence, knowledge and test-taking abilities failed his/hers?

    Alan, I hear you on parental guidance on where to go to college and what courses to take. The no-grades system works well for some but perhaps not for all. My father wouldn't let me take Theatre for example because he didn't value it as a college course. I do think there is a place for pass/fail courses. My brother, an International Relations major at Brown (and a irritatingly excellent test-taker) took one pass/fail course in Computer Science because he did not want a C or worse to affect his GPA. Now Computer Science is hard as hell for those whom do not come it naturally. So Brown was encouraging kids to branch out of their comfort-zone but not be penalized for trying something different.

    I think there is something special about Engineers, Physicists, CPAs ect. My husband asked me if I would like a bridge engineer to build a bridge who got C in that course. Ah, no. Those minds that do well on the above type of jobs seem to ace standardized testing and if they are struggling with the subject matter, they would probably switch majors. But I would like that our students try a variety of classes to broaden their perspectives. I think it would be great if a child at Wayland High School not prone to doing well in Chemistry or Physics could take the class pass/fail. Even if they received a C- or better, they would be better off for having taken it at all and might discover that it's hard, but they LOVE it. Or that a computer geek takes an Art History course - it could be eye-opening for them. My husband still talks about a Literature course he took at college (he was Poli-Sci major). Too bad he didn't study more of it. I still go on and on about an economics course I took at college. Economics is not my bag, but I find it interesting and I 'm glad took at least one class it.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Price; 10-09-2009 at 11:50 AM. Reason: Typos

  3. #18
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    Default Great Idea!

    Don - that's a great idea!

  4. #19
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    Just to be clear, I didn't mean asking second graders about what the educational goals were. But say, high schoolers, and there must be surveys or something from the parents?

    I am curious about what everybody wants education to do for their children, how the school system might ascertain this, and what it might do with the information. Do you think the school could ever ask the parents if the educational goal was to enable the kids to take their rightful place in an exploitive corporate culture, affluent and content, while humankind slowly destroys the unfortunate and everything else? I wonder.

    Elizabeth, it appears you think broadening ones horizons is an educational good. Seems reasonable. And that grading can stifle exploration. Also reasonable, but it depends on the individual involved. Grades never entered into any of my decisions about school. And certainly, as an adult, grade point average just doesn't really seem to have the meaning it once did.

    My son spent one year at Happy Hollow and at that time there was no grading. Is that still the case?

    Could it be said that the MCAS tests are not really about the children's educational experience (as was said, there's much more going on at school) but rather only a “not perfect” way of evaluating school's success or failure and a way of prompting them (the schools) to do better?

    donBustin@verizon.net

  5. #20
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    FYI, last fall, the School Committee surveyed parents about educational priorities. Results of the survey can be found here.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    “[H]ave we ever asked the students what they want from their education?” I assume Alan would say, “Dad knows best.” But I’m not sure I’m down with that. Anybody else?
    FYI, at last night's School Committee meeting, the Committee received the Superintendent's goals for the 2009-2010 school year. One of the goals is to "... expand opportunities in which parent and student feedback on their school experience is gathered ..."

  7. #22
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    Default Leave it to Beaver

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    FYI, at last night's School Committee meeting, the Committee received the Superintendent's goals for the 2009-2010 school year. One of the goals is to "... expand opportunities in which parent and student feedback on their school experience is gathered ..."
    Trust me, in my house, Dad knows best.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    FYI, at last night's School Committee meeting, the Committee received the Superintendent's goals for the 2009-2010 school year. One of the goals is to "... expand opportunities in which parent and student feedback on their school experience is gathered ..."
    I say, “Yeah!” Let's follow how this goal translates into action, and what is discovered.

    And Alan, I'd like to get your children on here and just see whether they have a different take on what “dad knows best”.

    donBustin@verizon.net

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