BlogWalker

Muddling through the blogosphere

May 8, 2010
by blogwalker
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Waiting ’till testing is over’ – 3 questions and a quote

I certainly understand the pressure teachers and administrators at low-performing schools are under right now to raise test scores. Not surprisingly, not all teachers respond to test-prep mandates in the same way.  Many believe in the power of months of drill to improve scores, and will, accordingly, consider allowing students time for a technology-related project only  “when testing is over.”  A few brave teachers, however, integrate technology throughout the year, across the curriculum, believing that student engagement, collaboration, and creativity will boost standardized test scores.

Considering the above and knowing that the state of California is proposing to redirect EETT/ARRA funding from classrooms and, instead, add the funding to the pot of money that has already gone into over a decade of developing the CALPADS project (state’s student data system), I have a couple of questions on my mind. The questions jumped out at me this morning as I as a clicked on a Tweet from Kent Manning, which led me into his View from Here blog:

Question #1: Are students recipients of information or creators of information? – Thank you, Kent, for uploading and sharing this short gem from Marco Torres!

Question #2: Are we building on students’ strengths or weaknesses? – What if we (teachers, sites, districts, states) acted on middle school teacher Paul Blogush’s suggestion and began teaching to students’ strengths?

Question #3: What if you give a child a tool…? – First grade teacher Kathy Cassidy makes visible (and accessible) what students as producers looks like in a primary classroom.

While I do not question the value of educators having access to student data, I do wonder if extending CALPADS to the proposed PreK-20 program will actually improve teaching and learning in our state.  Will the program address the important distinctions/divides/gaps between students as consumers and students as producers? How about student strengths vs. weaknesses?

I’ll end with a quote gleaned from a conversation with CUE director Mike Lawrence, following this week’s visits to the State Assembly: “Weighing the baby does not make the baby  healthier.”

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