Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New York City Schools, Testing, and Missouri

Shael Polakow-Suransky is the new second in command with NYC schools. A New York Times article today discusses discusses the fact that Mr. Polakow-Suransky grew up attending very progressive schools and now supports testing and assessment. I was curious about this contradiction, and I read on. Here's a quote that stuck out to me:
Until we start seeing assessments that ask kids to write research papers, ask them to solve unfamiliar problems, ask them to defend their ideas, ask them to engage with both fiction and nonfiction texts; until those kinds of assessments are our state assessments, all we’re measuring are basic skills,” Mr. Polakow-Suransky said in an interview."
I actually agree with him. Multiple choice tests are focused on basic skills (mostly). What's funny about this is that Missouri had the MAP test and the End-of-Course Exam and, as of this semester, they no longer administer the performance event, or writing prompt. And, whatever people say about the MAP, it did ask students to engage with fiction and non-fiction texts that they had no seen before. Even constructed responses ask students to solve problems and defend ideas. 

I don't know. I guess I'm getting to the age where I am seeing trends begin to come full circle. So many mixed messages. 

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