I was assigned Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension a wonderful blog by Wisconsin teacher Pernille Ripp. The first post I commented on was discussing the up coming WKCE test, or the Wisconsin Knowledge Concepts Examination. Mrs. Ripp examines four accommodations they as teachers are supposed to provide the students during the testing time. They are: small group setting, read the instructions aloud, extended time, and break the test up. She then continues to "debunk" each accommodation and explain why these accommodations do not work. She points out that a small group setting is not more effective in allowing a student to concentrate than a large classroom. Even stating that a classroom should be a "safe-haven" for students and, if done correctly, the only noise that should be heard during testing time is the scratch of pencils. She continues on to debunk reading the instructions aloud and to break up the test. The debunk I most enjoyed was the one related to extended time. She uses an example of giving a French test to a student who doesn't speak French. It doesn't matter how much time they have, they will never be able to complete, or pass, that test because they do not know the material. I think that is a valid point and so I chose to focus on that point for the majority of my comment to her.
In my comment to Mrs. Ripp I complimented her on writing such an interesting post. I then continued on to say that I found her "debunks" interesting and valid. I explained that I didn't have experience with the WKCE, myself not being from Wisconsin, but could imagine the test being similar to the SAT or ACT. I wrote mostly about the extended time accommodation. I told her how I thought she was clever for using the example of the French test. I also agreed with her that most of these accommodations were valid and that I agreed with her view. I concluded by saying that I hope one day we can find a more efficient way, instead of seeing how many facts they can regurgitate, to test children on their knowledge.
For my second post I read "The Real Crisis in Education". This was also a very interesting post to read. Mrs. Ripp wrote about the United States' problem with education. When we hear this we assume she is talking about low test scores, drop out rates, etc. However, Mrs. Ripp looks at the crisis from another perspective and points out another casualty of stricter testing regulations: the loss of veteran teachers.
She talks about how these teachers are almost forced to walk away from a profession they love because they are unable to teach creatively. She points out how all over the country veteran teachers are being blamed for the low test scores. She even goes as far as to say that low test scores will not be the undoing of our educational system, the loss of these teachers will. At the end of her post she says in order to correct this crisis we must realize, "That assessing students in a way that reflects how they will be assessed in their future lives makes more sense. That teacher worth cannot be measured by a multiple choice test taken by a tired ten year old."
I really enjoyed reading this post. In my comment to Mrs. Ripp I told her that I had never thought about the veteran teachers and how they are affected by this educational crisis. I thought she made several very good points, as I stated in my comment. I concluded by saying that this really is a shame. I believe we can always learn from those who have gone before us and learning from veteran teachers is no exception. I also left my blog web address as well as my Twitter address.