Don't judge on kids' test scores alone

  • Follow Letters

Georgia's Governor's Office of Student Achievement is concerned that scores from the end-of-course tests are not commensurate with students' grades at school. For many who work with students, that finding is not surprising.

Those of us who have had experience with children as parents teachers or counselors know that students are much more than the sum of their tests. In a typical class, student assessments consist of a variety of projects, essays, speeches and discussions, as well as the traditional paper-and-pen tests. Effective teachers work with students in a multitude of ways to ensure their success in the classroom. To determine a child's overall competence in a class based solely on test scores would be ludicrous and inaccurate.

Thanks to mandates from the No Child Left Behind Act, schools begin a strenuous schedule of testing as early as kindergarten. The testing cycle gears up each year, and each year students listen as teachers cajole, bribe, sweet-talk, threaten or simply plead for students to take each test seriously, to get enough sleep and to eat a good breakfast. In the 11th grade alone, these young people face a minimum of six standardized tests. By the time a child graduates from high school, he has completed about a dozen "high-stakes" standardized tests, not including the SAT, the ACT or any Advanced Placement tests. The sheer volume and repetition catch up with everyone, and test scores have a tendency to drop, especially for students who struggle to do well on them anyway.

I am sure that people who spend their lives evaluating all this test data have the students' best interests at heart. But to look at test scores and suggest that teachers are not doing their jobs is an affront to those who have worked diligently for years to help prepare young people for life -- not for tests.

Susan D. Hitt

Dearing

(The writer is a language arts teacher at Thomson High School.)

Comments (15) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
apex24
0
Points
apex24 03/14/09 - 02:00 am
0
0
How do we determine a

How do we determine a teacher's competence. You seem to scream every year for a raise but students in Ga, SC and most southern states are always 40th to 50th in rankings.Other than the ignorant parents of these children who do we blame for never showing improvment.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/14/09 - 07:12 am
0
0
Instead of cajoling ,

Instead of cajoling , bribing, sweet-talking, threatening and pleading, why not teach the subject so when the student is asked what they know about a subject, they can write it down? A test isn't about all of the window dressing and fluff of the "imaginative teacher", it's about the knowledge the student retained. The schools having trouble with the testing ALL seem to be the public schools. Maybe there's a pattern of problem here and it's not the "overload" of the student. Maybe it's the requirement that the school teach the basics and leave the politically correct b.s. for the student to learn on their own. The teachers union will stop a solution from ever being enacted as long as they can continue to block the voucher system. No competition, no reason to improve.

shamrock
460
Points
shamrock 03/14/09 - 08:40 am
0
0
To this day the most

To this day the most influential teacher I had was in 6th grade. Mrs. Atha ... a Methodist preacher's wife ... made learning fun and exciting. I was never a great student barely making it through 12 years of school that almost turned into 13. Yet, information I still need over 40 years later I learned in her class. She was strict but she knew how to teach. She ruled the classrom, something teachers are not able to do in this day and age. Girls got smacked with a paddle (she called it a spattin') just like us boys (if you were bad). You wouldn't dare tell your parents ... because it would result in a whuppin'. Respect for your teacher was learned at home where you were taught to respect all adults in a position of authority.

I4PUTT
5
Points
I4PUTT 03/14/09 - 09:08 am
0
0
Teachers have a truly

Teachers have a truly difficult job. Parents, BOE's, current childs rights advocates, the media and judges are all to blame for this. Kids go to school to learn what is presented to them. All kids who disrupt and stop others from learning should be expelled. When the kids throw away a free education and parents must pay for their kids to learn, things will change. If parents choose to sentence their kids to a lifetime of ignorance, so be it. They already are doing this in other ways and nothing is being done.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 03/14/09 - 11:43 am
0
0
We need teachers whose

We need teachers whose knowledge of their subjects, whose instructional skills, and whose positive attitudes toward children and their pupils' learning motivate their charges to learn what our children will need to learn if they are to function as responsible, civilized and productive adults. So doing, Ms. Hill, requires protracted, diligent teacher work. Such teacher effort is essential to our desired student outcome but it cannot account in totality for such an outcome. Ms. Hill, your emphasis on the diligence with which a teacher works is misplaced. All teachers should emphasize student outcomes of which standardized test scores is a critical measure. It's about WHAT STUDENTS LEARN in preparation for adult life, Ms. Hill, NOT ABOUT HOW HARD TEACHERS TRY to prepare them for their futures.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 03/14/09 - 12:40 pm
0
0
The problem is that teacher
Unpublished

The problem is that teacher have to "teach to the test." I personally know of one student who had straight A's the last year of high school, but could not graduate because she couldn't pass the exit exam.

142
Points
Dan White 03/14/09 - 12:49 pm
0
0
Amen. A brave and couragous

Amen. A brave and couragous public letter. I hope she doesn't get persecuted by the administration for telling the truth. Micromanaging how a teacher grades making the End of Course Test count 15% of a student's grade is too much government oversight.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 03/14/09 - 01:14 pm
0
0
Does anyone ever evaluate the

Does anyone ever evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher in a classroom? Although their heart may be in it, their pitch may be all wrong, and if not eveluated they would never know what the problem is. So again, is there ever any regular evaluations made of teachers in a classroom? If not shame on us all for blaming everything on parent involvement or lack of.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/14/09 - 01:55 pm
0
0
grouse, does that tell you

grouse, does that tell you something about the straight A's? It happens to star athletes all of the time. They graduate with honors and can't even read. No one knows it until they're tested.

workingmom
0
Points
workingmom 03/14/09 - 03:25 pm
0
0
Teachers are observed and

Teachers are observed and evaluated several times each year. There is a defined set of criteria evaluators look for and it is documented and placed in the teacher's file.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 03/14/09 - 03:59 pm
0
0
I'm so glad my youngest

I'm so glad my youngest children are about to graduate. They have had good teachers from beginning to end in regular public and magnet schools, all in Richmond County, and I didn't care about their credentials, just whether or not they could do the job. The one teacher my daughter complained about "left" at the end of her first year at that school for "other pursuits". They never seemed to have any problem with their other teachers. Since they both made over 2300 on their most recent SAT, I'm sure they learned something from them. I am very thankful for all their teachers except a couple at Wheeless Road school that were burnt out terribly. I just felt sorry for them, they had their hands full. I told the two best teachers I respected most at Wheeless about my children's good experiences at their previous school and they both transferred to it the next year! Whoops! LOL. I ran into them there while visiting the principal and they both hugged me and told me how glad they were I told them about that school, they loved it! It was only about 2 miles from the other one, but what a difference good morale makes!

bone
23
Points
bone 03/14/09 - 07:57 pm
0
0
i've about given up on the

i've about given up on the public's ability to understand teaching in today's public schools. both pt and craig spinks are intelligent, knowledgeable posters on a variety of subjects; yet in the field of education, they opine (1) competition is the answer and (2) teachers themselves are not teaching the subject matter well enough. tell me, where are all these highly-competent individuals who will engage the youth of america since the current crop of idiots calling themselves teachers fear competition that will expose them as frauds? good grief, gentlemen, teaching today is much different than you believe it to be: between kids and parents and public, there is very little that makes a person willing to tolerate the job, much less incentive to do it well. but i and others in the profession stay with the job only because it allows us an opportunity to help young people - bring on your competition and your challengers for my subject-matter understanding any day!

workingmom
0
Points
workingmom 03/14/09 - 09:37 pm
0
0
Well said, bone.

Well said, bone.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/14/09 - 10:24 pm
0
0
bone, my comments are never

bone, my comments are never aimed at the teachers. I appreciate those willing to work within a system I consider to be seriously broken. I consider yours to be a truly noble profession and feel certain most teachers continue with their job for reasons quite similar to yours. My objection is with the establishment and their social engineering parameters as well as the power brokers that refuse the competition, within the field of teaching, that will lead to improvement. The product being turned out by government schools is not superior to what used to come out of them, for the most part. If the taxes taken from the individual could be spent at the school of choice, those establishments outside of the government noose would have a positive influence on the current option to taxpayers. Good teachers are where you find them. They're attracted to the job. It's the system I have a problem with. I appreciate how complicated the solution is, but blocking the vouchers is a many layered comment in itself.

Farful
7
Points
Farful 03/14/09 - 11:43 pm
0
0
bone, I dare say there is no

bone, I dare say there is no one who knows the teaching profession as Dr. Spinks.

carl.m.j
0
Points
carl.m.j 03/15/09 - 04:30 pm
0
0
No one needs to worry about

No one needs to worry about the qualifications of the letter writer. I personally had her in High School and I personally believe she is one of the best ones there. My mother is also a principle and former teacher. I'm sick and tired though of teachers getting all the blame for these stupid tests. As was stated, they have no legal right to control the classrooms and most students these days have no work ethic (which is planted and grown by both parents and the culture). When our society teaches our children that life isn't that serious, how can we expect teachers who are not allowed any sense of authority to create productiveness in children? We can't! No wonder they have to bribe them. The parents do it all the time now so it is the only thing that works! Quit blaming the teachers because students these days CHOOSE to be stupid and lazy.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 03/15/09 - 06:12 pm
0
0
apex24 GA and SC are
Unpublished

apex24 GA and SC are continually ranked at the bottom according to test scores because we test ALL of our students, including the mentally retarded and those with disabilities. Other states only test students who they think will give them better scores. It's GA's punishment for being an honest conservative state.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 03/15/09 - 08:19 pm
0
0
PT the public schools ALL
Unpublished

PT the public schools ALL have trouble with standardized testing because private schools are not required to take ANY standardized tests.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 03/15/09 - 08:21 pm
0
0
Craig Spinks, what's your
Unpublished

Craig Spinks, what's your point? Are teachers not supposed to try hard to get them to learn? or because students don't learn it's the teachers fault? I don't get it. And get the lady's name right, it's Hitt, not Hill.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Ruben given last shot on downtown buildings

Richmond County Magistrate Judge H. Scott Allen approved an agreement reached this week to obtain a boarding permit in the next 30 days to "mothball" two buildings Bonnie Ruben owns in the 700 and ...
Search Augusta jobs