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No child left behind (or untested!) - Page 2

post #21 of 49

I think it became a scapegoat almost right away where I live....even though our schools were slow to make any sort of change.  

 

As far as saying what schools should be doing/not doing to achieve certain goals...NCLB really isn't specific at all.  As a parent of a soon to be fourth grader and a soon to be eighth grader....it doesn't seem like the schools necessarily know what they should be doing.

 

Both of my kids attend/attended an elementary which had a higher number of kids from disadvantaged backgrounds compared to the rest of the district.  I believe one intention of NCLB was to provide more focus on how well we are educating kids from these types of backgrounds.  I think the curriculum especially in the early elementary grades is full of gaps....the kids who have parents who are better educated get a lot of these gaps filled in by their parents...but the kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are still struggling.

post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coral123 View Post

 I think the curriculum especially in the early elementary grades is full of gaps....the kids who have parents who are better educated get a lot of these gaps filled in by their parents...but the kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are still struggling.



This is what we see in our district.  Our schools focus so intently on math and reading, that there is little time in the day for anything else.  And the results are disappointing.  The kids from low income backgrounds continue to struggle with math and reading and the whole school has a low understanding of science, art, music, social studies, etc, etc.  

 

The higher income families fill in the gaps and the disparity continues.   In my local community, the issues in our schools are directly influenced by the extraordinary poverty here.   Until we address the lack of decent jobs and job training, little will change with our schools.  

post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post

 

I think one of the biggest failures of standardized testing, in general, NCLB or not, is that teachers are not always trained in interpreting the results of the standardized scores. Although teachers generally have access to those scores, interpreting and making a plan for individual students based on those test scores does not always happen.  Testing for the sake of testing is stupid.  Testing so that the teacher can have a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular student is not necessarily a bad thing. 

 

Yeah, I agree. I don't understand how that is supposed to happen in IL where the ISAT test scores are only available the following year. I know there are other tests, but I'm not sure how they all work together (or not) - and my DH is a public school teacher!

 

As far as NCLB and our school goes, we just got the school choice letter offering us the chance to transfer due to our school's lack of adequate yearly progress in reading. We're staying put anyway. There's more to the school than standardized testing, and we really appreciate the intangibles.

 

 

post #24 of 49

Ruthie.....my original comment wasn't about NCLB causing the gaps.  I meant that things are taught  in a very scattered fashion, if at all, even in the most basic subjects.

 

Here is the best analogy I can use.  Say you sign your child up for piano lessons.  The teacher decides not to teach the kid about the C note or the A note......well he wouldn't seem to be a very effective teacher, would he.  There are a lot of gaps in teaching the basics as far as math, grammar etc.

 

Our social studies curriculum is dreadful....that is a lot more about edufads than anything NCLB has done.

post #25 of 49

The problem is the lack of flexibility.  They teach for the test, all the curriculum is based on whats on the test, and how the questions will be portrayed.  They even have practice tests on filling in bubbles. 

 

If they were allowed to deviate and teach for learning... that would be something wouldn't it?  As far as teaching reading and math only... that's not the case but reading IMO is the most important thing you will learn in school.  I took my kids out half way through last year and thats all we worked on was reading.  They went back this week and DD1's teacher already sent her for advanced testing.  Which honestly, just let her be, she'll feel pretty darn good getting all A's this year. 

post #26 of 49

Actually the curriculum where I live is not strictly aligned to the test.  That being said, if the test has the expectation  that a child in a certain grade has the ability to say add fractions, is it wrong to think that I think the school should be teaching that.

 

NCLB does not dictate at all what should be taught.  School districts have a of knee jerk reactions, and don't seem to really know how to effectively teach.

post #27 of 49

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

YES!!!!  The public school my kids went to didn't have as strong of a reputation as some of the other schools in the area, but looking at the test score by demographic was mind blowing. Every single demographic tested better in our school, but we had a higher % of kids in demographics that tend to score lower. Minority children on free/reduced lunch score lower than other groups, and we had a fairly high % of kids in that group, but they did better in our school than ANY other school in the area. When I looked at the scores for white kids not on reduced lunch, our scores were higher for every subject in every grade than the surrounding schools. Yet, the other schools were still perceived as "better,"  either because the average was higher or just because more of the kids were white (I could never quite figure that out  shake.gif.)  I always though it said a lot about our teachers that our average was NEARLY as good as the schools that had a different demographic.

 


ITA.  When we moved to our current city, we were able to get a book that listed not only each schools scores, but their "expected" scores based on a variety of factors.  So, basically equalizing for parental education, income, etc...  It was really eye opening to see that some of the "really good" schools could have been doing a lot better and some of the "really bad" schools were getting some amazing results given the disadvantages some of the kids were working from.

 

Our district also had at least one school "failing" that had a highly transient population.  When you just compared  the kids who were there a full year, they scores were great.  When you threw in 30-40+% of the population that had only been at that school a couple months the nubmers were way lower.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post

I used to sub a lot in the public schools, as a special ed teacher. I ran across stuff like moderately developmentally delayed middle schoolers who were mostly working on practical living skills (buying groceries, cooking simple meals, reading/recognizing warning signs) who were also spending a period a day memorizing Latin roots, for the upcoming testing. It was ridiculous. When I was teaching and/or subbing it was really difficult to get kids in special ed exempted (not sure if that's still true), so a lot of kids just had to spent a week or two taking tests that were just too hard for them, and they knew they were not doing well and felt so crappy about it. It was always a miserable week, even though I tried to make sure we did a lot of fun things when we weren't testing.


That is so frustrating!   Our most recent thing like that is that the district busses ELL (English Language Learners) to certain schools.  I think, long term, it is a great plan and actually ends up with the kids fluent in English.  In the district I grew up in, ELL (ESL there) classes are only like 30 minutes twice a week and the kids rarely "catch up."  AND they're missing math, or social studies, or *whatever* while they go to their ELL classes.  In our district, they have ELL classes with the idea that a year (or two) of intense ELL instruction actually gets the kids ready to be a mainstream classroom.  What this means, though, is that one specific school has all of the children with the worst English skills.  And way more than the amount they can exclude from testing.  So you  have a bunch of kids with very weak English taking a test, IN ENGLISH, and, of course, failing.  There is nothing wrong with the school (my DD went there one year and it was great, we moved because a new school opened in our neighborhood and it was overcrowded) but they're never going to test as well as the rest of the schools in the district.

 

 

post #28 of 49

I would repeal it completely.  I see no upside whatsoever.  It has taken the education right out of teaching.  The amount of time that is squandered on teaching to the tests is insane.  I've got one kid, who is a straight A honor student, who gets so torqued up about the testing that she routinely vomits the night before the tests.

 

Dh is a public school teacher.  The standardized tests are meaningless.  They are manipulated routinely to obtain the outcomes that are politically desirable in a way that's just shocking.  A great book on this topic is The Myth of  Standardized Tests, by Phillip Harris.  Over the years, dh has seen much of the science curriculum gutted in the guise of "higher standards."  What higher standards means in the NCLB environment is lower standards.  Everyone has to meet these lower standards though, and pretty much all of most teachers' efforts are on getting all the kids in the class to the same low standard.  He used to teach much more complicated concepts and skills than he does now.

 

I've seen the same things with my own  kids.  The curriculum gets dumbed down every year so that the school can yap about how well they do on standardized tests.  I work in a university.  I'm now seeing students who have never had to write a research paper in high school, because it isn't covered on the tests.  It's absolutely astounding.

post #29 of 49

What gets me, is the parents that are okay with kind of unnecessary test in school.  It doesn't mean they shouldn't be tested to gauge their knowledge.  We were back in the day.  I did so much more in the "needs help" classes then I see my kids doing in regular class... by the way it was because ate crayons and paste... I think I grossed out my teacher.

post #30 of 49

My son goes to a school that just got off of the "failing" list. I see them really looking at their population and why it is failing. In our district we are looking at lots of ESL homes, lots of poverty, etc. So one thing our school does is put on lots of programs in the evening for the whole family. For example a family game night to teach family games. The thinking is that games teach Math skills at home. Math was one area where scores were the weakest. They also found that parents simply didn't have the volunteer time that schools with parents in higher income areas did. They placed many of our specialized schools within the more "at risk" schools. So the full time gifted program is in our school, the math and science charter is in another nearby. This means that the one PTA has more resources to draw from. So overall, I really could do without the weeks of testing and I think that NCLB has issues. But, I think it's really how the teachers and administration addresses the issues that makes it sucessful or not. Sure our school could have spent a lot of time complaining that the playing field wasn't level. Or they could do what they could to level the playing field.

post #31 of 49

Curriculums were dumbed down before NCLB.  My oldest started school just as NCLB came into effect.......NCLB is in some ways an ineffective reaction to poor curriculums that existed before the law came into efect.

 

By the way, schools can select any currculum they wish...NCLB doesn't specify a curriculum.

 

I'm not trying to defend the law....but to paint it as the only thing that is wrong with our educational system is simply untrue.

post #32 of 49

NCLB doesn't necessarily mean weeks of testing.  We've always had standardized testing in our state.  My kids take a newer version of the same test I took as a child...it probably involves less than a half a week.

post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post

I would repeal it completely.  I see no upside whatsoever.  It has taken the education right out of teaching.  The amount of time that is squandered on teaching to the tests is insane.  I've got one kid, who is a straight A honor student, who gets so torqued up about the testing that she routinely vomits the night before the tests.

 

I've seen the same things with my own  kids.  The curriculum gets dumbed down every year so that the school can yap about how well they do on standardized tests.  I work in a university.  I'm now seeing students who have never had to write a research paper in high school, because it isn't covered on the tests.  It's absolutely astounding.

 

Kids not being able to write a research paper is not a new phenomenon...heck it wasn't new when I was in college.
 

 

post #34 of 49

IMO, the problem with the current state of education is READING!  DD1's second grade class had kids who read at a kinder level... what does that mean ABCs?  I took DD1 out half way through the year and all we did was work on reading.  She went back to school this year and she's being tested for higher level again... Which is ridiculous her level shouldn't be considered higher level, it should be considered the norm.  I read small chapter books in 1st grade, my entire class did.  Yes all the other parts of education are important too, but they just don't spend enough time on the most important thing, reading.  That being said, the tests they have in place require an ability to comprehend what you're reading.  All the other stuff they do in class is fluff as far as I'm concerned.

post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

IMO, the problem with the current state of education is READING!  DD1's second grade class had kids who read at a kinder level... what does that mean ABCs?  I took DD1 out half way through the year and all we did was work on reading.  She went back to school this year and she's being tested for higher level again... Which is ridiculous her level shouldn't be considered higher level, it should be considered the norm.  I read small chapter books in 1st grade, my entire class did.  Yes all the other parts of education are important too, but they just don't spend enough time on the most important thing, reading.  That being said, the tests they have in place require an ability to comprehend what you're reading.  All the other stuff they do in class is fluff as far as I'm concerned.


I don't agree with this. It's actually not reading at the lower grades that's an issue. In fact, we push reading earlier than most other countries and yet we have lower life-long literacy rates than most the industrial world. Countries like Sweden have the high life-long literacy rates and they don't start reading instruction until age 7. 

 

Reading novels in first grade is not developmentally appropriate for the majority of kids. Babies are born far-sighted and it takes 6 to 7 years for their vision to normalize. This means focusing on small text that is found in novels will be beyond many 1st graders physical abilities even if they are mentally capable.

 

My eldest was an acceptional reader at the 5th grade level at age 5 but most certainly, only a handful of kids in her 1st grade class were reading even small chapter books. My youngest could read any word at any level put in front of him at the age of 4 but until his visual tracking issues resolved themselves in 2nd grade (age 7) he struggled to read through even a couple pages of Dr. Seuss. Still, he was one of the highest level readers in 1st grade. At age 10, he reads/comprehends at adult levels in two languages so the slower path to fluency hasn't effected his long term abilities. DH and myself were both reading well at the age of 3. I clearly remember being my own reading group in 1st grade and I had a chapter book and the others were reading picture books.

 

Kinder reading in our area is your basic "Dr. Suess' Hop on Pop" level and really, a 2nd grader still on early Dr. Seuss books isn't so bad. Barring any learning disabilities, it's likely it'll all "click" for him in the next year or two.

 

 

 

post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

IMO, the problem with the current state of education is READING!  DD1's second grade class had kids who read at a kinder level... what does that mean ABCs?  I took DD1 out half way through the year and all we did was work on reading.  She went back to school this year and she's being tested for higher level again... Which is ridiculous her level shouldn't be considered higher level, it should be considered the norm.  I read small chapter books in 1st grade, my entire class did.  Yes all the other parts of education are important too, but they just don't spend enough time on the most important thing, reading.  That being said, the tests they have in place require an ability to comprehend what you're reading.  All the other stuff they do in class is fluff as far as I'm concerned.

 

Reading is a very developmental thing, and at the age of second grade one would expect that there would be a range of abilities.  My daughter would have been considered behind at that age, now I would say she is above average compared to her peers.

 

Just because you read chapter books in first grade, doesn't mean that every child is capable of that.  For some children reading doesn't "pop" until the age of 7...it doesn't mean those kids aren't as smart.  It is more of a thing like some kids start walking sooner than others.

 

I learned how to read before kindergarten.  I thought learning to read was easy.  With my daughter, all I thought I needed to do was provide plenty of books and read to her.  Which I did.  She was labeled as being behind in reading.  After doing research on my own, it turned out she needed a much more phonics based approach.
 

 

post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coral123 View Post



 

Reading is a very developmental thing, and at the age of second grade one would expect that there would be a range of abilities.  My daughter would have been considered behind at that age, now I would say she is above average compared to her peers.

 

Just because you read chapter books in first grade, doesn't mean that every child is capable of that.  For some children reading doesn't "pop" until the age of 7...it doesn't mean those kids aren't as smart.  It is more of a thing like some kids start walking sooner than others.

 

I learned how to read before kindergarten.  I thought learning to read was easy.  With my daughter, all I thought I needed to do was provide plenty of books and read to her.  Which I did.  She was labeled as being behind in reading.  After doing research on my own, it turned out she needed a much more phonics based approach.
 

 

ITA. Some people (about 30%) are visual learners, where phonetics are not useful. I didn't learn by sounding out the letter to read the words; I memorized the shapes of the letters. Which meant I was a SLOW reader. DS is almost 7 and takes after me, so is "late". Yet my 4 yo can read, but then she can do phonetics and sound out the words. I think in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade, there is going to be a HUGE range in there, which has little to do with long-term test taking. 

 

I'm not in the states, but testing every year seems like an awful waste of time when kids could actually be studying something instead. We test here, I think in 2nd and 8th grade, and that is it. Though this system isn't perfect either, and that would be for a different post. 
 

 

post #38 of 49
Coral123, I get what you're saying. Though don't you think that the testing at one level and even being surprised to find quite a few kids do not do well could have a lot to do with reading? It goes hand in hand really. What I'm getting at is the teachers are not given enough leeway to help kids learn rather than memorize. It doesn't take much to realize they are doing a disservice to the kids.

If they want to test them they need to tailor the tests to ability and not an expectation. It's unfair to the kid who learns at his/her own pace.
post #39 of 49

Lmakcerka, I'm not quite sure what you are asking.  If you are talking about reading in relation to the NCLB tests, those tests don't begin until third grade.  From what I understand, that is when the developmental differences between kids level off.

post #40 of 49
Coral I confused us both. Yes I'm talking about reading for the NCLB tests. It's pretty evident to me that reading is the main problem for those who test poorly. I sat in class with DD in third grade friday and her teacher had a read out loud story in each pod. They had to answer questions when they were done on their own. Some kids had a hard time sounding out large words and some didn't. I don't think reading out loud can show how a kids understands what they're reading but when answering the questions there were a lot of puzzled faces. Then again it could the correlation between others reading to them and possibly being hard for them to pay attention and not focusing on every word themselves.

DD's teacher said they were not given enough time to focus on reading comprehension and this bothers her. She stated she felt like she was setting them up to fail the reading test at the end of the year. Of course it's not all the schools fault. I spend at least an 1hr per kid each night on homework. I home schooled last years so it's not an issue for me and I like it. However I realize other parents may not have the time or may not always realize how important it is.

Either way something is broken.

I'm a thought process disorder type of person so if I'm still not clear as to what I'm saying I'm not offended if you ask me again.
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