Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why Testing Kills Creativity

No time for blogging. No time for reading. No time for Online Journals. Podcasts would not help test scores. Singing might help fluency, but we need to do more worksheets. If we shot any video, it would just be of students doing worksheets. Drill and practice is the order of the day.

The Reading Workshop is no different than any other class in the United States. As outlined in the previous post, Getting Ready for the Test, daily activities have drastically changed. Other than daily online lessons on Study Island, the computers have been put to rest. Writing activities are limited to responses to passages. The entire focus is on the test. To do otherwise would not be fair to the students, the school, and the district.

Teachers don't have any choice. With the pressure on schools to meet state standards and be rated an "effective" school, the focus is driven to help students score well on the test. Professional development and district meetings all center around testing data, and improving student achievement on tests. This results in drill and practice for students using worksheet after worksheet.

Schools don't have any choice. Beginning with Proficiency Test, and heightened by NCLB, testing is the controlling force in education. A Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll in Ohio reported that 57% of those polled believe tests are not accurate indicators of students' progress and 55% think there is too much emphasis on testing. However, with the School Report Card being used as the main evaluation of a school's success, schools have no choice but to make testing a priority.

An Ohio survey, by the KnowledgeWords Foundation, found that 89% of respondents believe it should be a high priority for Ohio schools to teach "critical thinking and problem solving skills." A one-time, one-shot test does little to foster critical thinking and problem solving, and it stymies creativity. All it does is give a snapshot of students' ability read a passage and correctly answer questions. It also can reflect hour after hour spent on worksheets. Unfortunately this is the only assessment model our government uses to decide if students are getting a good education.

What can you do?
Contact Governor Strickland at the Office of the Governor Contact Page.
Contact members of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Contact members of U.S. House of Representatives.
Contact U.S. Senators.

Students in Reading Workshop have been working hard. They will score well on the Sixth Grade Ohio Achievement Test. Whether or not, teachers agree with the method of assessing students and schools, there is a responsibility for all of us to do our best. Doing so enabled Laurelville to be rated an Excellent School last year. Hopefully students can continue the tradition of excellence and before they know it, they can return to their online journals and blogs, and other engaging reading and writing tasks.
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5 comments:

Emma Hedges said...

The reason I think that test taking kills creativity is because when you take a test all you can do is sit there and follow all the rules you can't do anything creative. For example like when you are doing work out of a book you can make it a game or even work them out in a creative way with a partner.

Dylan T said...

I think testing kills creativity because the testing people are so strict. Like the teachers can't even say hi. They also let you stretch once. Also they only let you have mints. I mean why don't they put us in black suits and a brief cases and send us to work

Christian W. said...

I think that taking tests kill creativity because all of the teachers are in panic mode and are trying to get everyone ready for the test. I think that most of the teachers need to help us with the tests in a fun way. Like we could take the same test that we are taking now in a group. If it weren't for the teachers pushing us and being strict with our studying we would not do as good as we have in the past.

Austin S said...

I think that testing kills creativity because all that your thinking about is testing,testing,testing. You are also probably thinking about how you cant wait until the testing is over.

Mr. McGuire said...

Christian,

As you know, we have done some work with partners lately. However, when the time comes for the test, it is just you, your pencil, and the test.