Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The thought police and testing

If there weren't already reason enough to be cautious of state standardized exams, this should give every parent pause,

When test graders around the nation pore over student essays this spring, they'll be looking for more than just writing clarity or good grammar. They'll be keeping an eye out for signs of child abuse, depression and threats of violence. States contract with testing companies whose evaluators, often ex-teachers, read and score the tests, usually administered to students around spring. As part of procedure, scorers are instructed to flag an exam that contains disturbing images or language. That information is usually forwarded to the state or the local school district, which decides whether to notify parents and recommend counseling. (Emphasis added.)
The article also said that some states flag for other reasons. "a student's response to a seemingly benign question can trigger alarm."

An acquaintance whose daughter took our state exam a few years back did poorly on the English portion. She was a senior in our local public school, with nearly a 4.0 grade point average. When her parents inquired about why she tested so poorly in that area they were not given an answer. They were also forbidden to see the actual exam. But according to the young lady, she believed it was because she disagreed with the premise of the question. A homeschooled student who tested poorly had a similar experience. Both are doing quite well in their college years.

I am sure that there are disturbing images on some essays. However, what the state considers disturbing is what I am more disturbed about.

Related Tags: , , , , , , ,

No comments: