"Celebrations of Knowledge" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's a new one I hadn't heard. I was asking DS (1st grade) if they've had any tests at school. No, no never any tests. Then he thinks for a minute and tells me but they DO have "celebrations of knowledge" where they have to be quiet, keep their eyes on their own papers and it sees how much they've learned (he's a sharp one! LOL!). Yep sounds like a test to me. I couldn't help it though - I was totally cracking up. I have to say I thought "Celebrations of Knowledge" was very creative, and I get that they're trying to spin them as a positive, but yeah, it's a test. Anyone heard this before?
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#2 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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I hate euphemisms. A test is a test, and they spend way too much time on them. "Assessment" drives me up a wall, too. It's just a buzz word that means test, because that's pretty much become the sole way "assessments" are done.

I'd be forced to make a few snide comments about that one to the teacher.
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#3 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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I think that's pretty cool, actually. If they carry through on the attitude as well as the words "celebration of knowledge," I bet that helps some of the more anxious personalities shine with what they know, rather than freezing up and worrying about taking a test.
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#4 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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I have to kind of disagree with EFmom a little. I worked in a hospital and we did assessments with patients. They always asked "What happens if I fail?" I said it isn't a pass/fail thing. I did the assessments solely to see where we had to concentrate our activities and where we didn't.

I like the Celebration of Knowledge idea! I think it might take the pressure off.
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#5 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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I thought it was amusing. If the title reflects the true attitude toward learning at the school, then I think it's wonderful. If it's some doublespeak out of 1984, then I'd be pretty cynical about it.

I dislike most euphemisms too. "Passing away" or "Passed" instead of dying and death are the WORST for me. I always think it sounds like the person farted.
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#6 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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I have to kind of disagree with EFmom a little. I worked in a hospital and we did assessments with patients. They always asked "What happens if I fail?" I said it isn't a pass/fail thing. I did the assessments solely to see where we had to concentrate our activities and where we didn't.

I like the Celebration of Knowledge idea! I think it might take the pressure off.
But in school, public schools at any rate, it is all testing all the time. We are in an excellent school district yet I can't think of a single "assessment" that doesn't involve a test of some sort. It is an insult to the child's intelligence to pretend that they are doing something other than testing. If the child declines to celebrate the state standardized "assessments," let's see just how joyous the teacher acts.

This has nothing to do with assessing patients. And my favorite medical euphemism is "discomfort." The word is pain. Discomfort my behind.
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#7 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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I love the name. To me it's like the idea of positive reinforcement. Instead of "punishing" wrong answers by taking away points, you celebrate what you have learned.

Kat, wife to and mommy to (Dec 07).
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#8 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 10:12 PM
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But in school, public schools at any rate, it is all testing all the time. We are in an excellent school district yet I can't think of a single "assessment" that doesn't involve a test of some sort. It is an insult to the child's intelligence to pretend that they are doing something other than testing. If the child declines to celebrate the state standardized "assessments," let's see just how joyous the teacher acts.
Really? In 1st grade? My son is in public 1st grade and they hardly ever have tests. They get math tests after every major unit (so 4 the whole year so far) but don't have tests in anything else. In reading, once they can read the benchmark books without any errors they move to the next level but they don't even know that they're being tested. They've had 2 spelling assessments this year (early september and this week), where the teacher says words and they write them how they think they're spelled (no studying) so that she can put them in groups for their "word sorts" which is their sneaky way of teaching spelling. She tells them it is a test for her, not for them. No tests in science or social studies.
I know that in some grade (4th?) there will be a lot of testing, but not yet. At this stage the tests really are just to tell the teacher what they know.
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#9 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm really not too sure how I'm feeling about this actually. My first reaction was to look away and roll my eyes. I do think that we are coddling our kids way too much in some ways. At least I've seen his teacher use red ink (even for smiley faces) and she did make a "negative comment" on one of his papers regarding his handwriting. It wasn't harsh and it was definitely earned. So I do like that. And I do understand that some kids really freak out with the idea of a "test". But on the other hand, they WILL hear the word at some point. And this is 1st grade - how many negative connotations and panic attacks would they really have over a word they've probably seldom seen in action. Our kids will have different tests for the rest of their lives - drivers tests, if they go into the military or trade school they'll have aptitude tests, for certain positions you have to pass a test, etc. I seriously cannot see the Marines for example passing out papers and telling the recruits it's time for a Celebration of their knowledge! Perhaps I'd understand it better if they called them "Examinations of Knowledge". For one thing, that's what a test is. It's also a "less scary" name I guess, and can be shortened to "exam" easy enough. Not upset over it, still chuckling a little, but a little puzzled as well!
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#10 of 18 Old 01-08-2010, 11:54 PM
 
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I can kinda see the logic in it. I can imagine some kids might come into school a bit anxious about tests, not really knowing what they are.

It reminds me of a prof in college who would pass out exams in our senior-level physics classes says "here is an opportunity to show me what you know. Or for some of you, and opportunity to reveal how little you know." She had that kind of sense of humor. She also gave out Hershey's kisses with each test.

Most of what DD takes are "assessments" because they have different leveled work depending on their level (second grade). It truly assesses their progress and the teacher can adjust DD's work accordingly. On Fridays, she takes a spelling test based on the week's words. They call it a test in that case.
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#11 of 18 Old 01-09-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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I think it's a little fluffy and hippie-dippie and as a teacher it's not my thing to use phrases like that, but ultimately reflects what is probably a good attitude towards assessing what students have learned.

I know in my classroom (when I had one), there was a big difference between assessments (what I'd do pretty much every day to make sure I had taught the material so the students, you know, actually learned it), and tests, which were rare events. An assessment would be something like, "on the back of your paper, write down three different phrases you can use to close a friendly letter." And then I'd peek at a representative sample (different ones every day) to see if I had actually, you know, done my job.

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#12 of 18 Old 01-09-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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Really? In 1st grade? My son is in public 1st grade and they hardly ever have tests.
Sure. My kids had tests in math, spelling, reading and a host of other things on a routine basis in first grade. They even were tested a great deal in kindergarten.

It's like not having time to feed a calf because you are too busy weighing it ten times a day.
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#13 of 18 Old 01-09-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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I think it is mostly eyeball rolling funny

I must admit I do not see any good reason not to call a test a test and "celebration of knowledge" is not a good euphemism for test.
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#14 of 18 Old 01-10-2010, 03:50 AM
 
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With all the talk of high stakes testing and what not in schools to day, I can understand why the teacher wants to set her own small test to see how the students are doing apart from those.

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#15 of 18 Old 01-10-2010, 05:40 AM
 
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I just wanted to mention that while assessment is a huge trend right now (a HUGE partially annoying trend), it isn't just about tests. Assessments can be a ton of things in the classroom, but the ones we usually share with parents are the tests, since many parents don't necessarily understand what we are looking for in many other types of assessments that we do.

Don't get me wrong... I do think that in most states and provinces kids are way over-tested. Plus, when I was doing through Ed-school I wanted to take the word assessment and rip it out of the dictionary. I just don't want anyone to think assessment = test.
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#16 of 18 Old 01-11-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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This has nothing to do with assessing patients. And my favorite medical euphemism is "discomfort." The word is pain. Discomfort my behind.
OT: There is something between "comfortable" and "in pain" for most people. How in the world is "discomfort" a euphemism? Things can be uncomfortable without actually hurting...

I think "celebrations of knowledge" is probably going a bit too far, especially when it sounds like a test. An actual "celebration of knowledge" would be more like the class holding a party that went along with a theme they'd been studying, you know? For the record, tests and assessments are supposed to be different things. I realize that they aren't usually, but they should be.

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#17 of 18 Old 01-11-2010, 08:36 PM
 
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On the whole "Assessment" push, I hate it. There is a difference between an Assessment and a Test, yet the amazing state of Ohio decided to change the name of our huge, big, this determines how your school is reported, how the teacher is viewed (no one bothers to compare if each of our students' progressed 1 year of knowledge or more, for instance, I am teaching 6th in a new school for me-same big Urban district- the 6th grade students at this school did Very well (for our district) as a group last year, and the year before that, etc. All I keep hearing is "last year we had a 78% passing rate in 6th grade reading" so you have big shoes to fill. however, the group of students that I am teaching had a 57% passing rate as 5th graders last year. Looked at logically, If I can get 57% or more to pass the 6th grade test, then I will have helped my students gain 1 year or more of knowledge. However, I keep hearing how I "have" to match or exceed last year's 6th grade scores. The scores need to move up with the individual chid/average for the grade, each year. Different kids, different groups of kids, different abilities. Can you tell I am stressed ) how the districtis are viewed, etc.

It has been the Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) for the last 4 years (was the Ohio Proficiency Test previously) About 2 months ago (yes, in the middle of the school year) the state officially changed the name to the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) In my opinion, it really is not an assessment, it IS a Test. It is standardized based only on grade level across the state, same "assessment" for every child of that grade level regardless of incoming ability level, district make-up (rural, sub-urban, urban) and each school district may only count "Alternate assessments" for 2% ( i believe that is the new mark) of all Students, regardless of IQ, IEP Goals, Identified Learning Differences, etc. Our Large urban district has about 18% of our students with Identified learning Disabilities, and much more than 2% of our total enrollment have IQ's under 70. Yet, they must be given the Standardized tests appropriate for their grade level if they don't make the 2%, or we do what is right for the child and just not give the "Assessment" that will frustrate them because, while most are hitting their IEP goals, our student population has more than 2% who will not be able to read/understand the actual grade level test. Right now we are supposed to be able to get 75% of 98% of our enrollment to be at grade level proficiency, regardless of the above mentioned issues. The "plan" is that in 5 years, 100% of 98% of our enrollment is supposed to be proficient. There are currently no accomadations for districts with higher percentages of students with IQ's of 70 or lower (urban districts tend to have much higher percentages than sub-urban) and no differences in requirements for low-income districts vs the affluent districts. No differences made for the ability level that students come to the schools with, parental involvement, anything.

I have faith in my students, their families, and myself, but to ignore, or pretend, that the only issues affecting how and what a child learns is the child and the teacher, is unfair.

Wow, I am so sorry to derail the thread! I actually like "celebration of knowledge" but agree it depends on how the teacher presents and uses it
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#18 of 18 Old 01-11-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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I wonder how much of this is because of the parents? In 1st grade, kids probably know what a test is, and if they watch tween TV or have older siblings might be worried about it... but unfortunately there are some parents out there who base their self-worth on their children's academic accomplishments. Sure, they know that this is a "test" once it's described for them, but it does push some of the emphasis off of the "omg if my child fails this test, he has no hope on the SAT's" and make it sound a bit, well, happier.

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