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Return-Path: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Received: from literacy (localhost [127.0.0.1]) by literacy.nifl.gov (8.10.2/8.10.2) with SMTP id j71Js4G27641; Mon, 1 Aug 2005 15:54:04 -0400 (EDT) Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 15:54:04 -0400 (EDT) Message-Id: <42EE1AB8020000A00000044E@smtp.us.future-gate.com smtp.de.future-gate.com> Errors-To: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk From: "Katrina Hinson" <email@example.com> To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1191] RE: high-stakes testing, state/federal X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent 7.0 Status: O Content-Length: 11837 Lines: 215 Marie, You asked : Perhaps we should shift our questions away from the tests themselves. Perhaps we should discuss what we want to measure, and then make some suggestions and have discussion on how might be best to capture the stuff we want to measure. We keep getting stuck in this quagmire of misinterpretation of terms. I really want to see/measure how my students think - the thought process they use to get from one point to another - to achieve the answer they come up with. Ultimately how they think is going to determine how easily they learn and progress. Do they over think - do they underthink. Do they see things through completely or do they stop to soon. (For a lot of multiple choice questions, stopping too soon, the answer is there and wrong, vs if you "complete" the work and get the correct answer.) I want to know if they really do know the basics - add, subtract, multiply and divide and not just with simple numbers but with LARGE numbers. I usually find when I do my own assessments that students can work with a 2 digit number but struggle when a third is added. I want to know how easily my students recognize patterns, be it shapes, numbers, letters etc. I want to see how well they communicate both verbally and written - I want to see/hear how well they read - not just what they can glean/comprehend from a short passage - but the rate at which they read, the fluency they read at and what kind of words they are stumbling over. Are they misunderstanding passages because the material is content related, such as a passage on "mitosis" versus being more generalized or life related like reading a newspaper article. Older Students can become so focused on the GLE, in my case, with the TABE, especially if it's really low, that they grow frustrated and often comment that they'll "never get it". My younger students often experience the same frustration for different reasons - they come in knowing they completed 10th grade or 11th grade etc, yet test much much lower than that and then when their scores are discussed with them during student/teacher interviews they express the disappointment they feel and question if it's even worth the effort to try. Or they test really well yet when given material that's designed to correlate to their GLE/Intake assessment, they struggle and don't understand the material, grow frustrated, disheartened and in the worst case scenario, they quit attending class. Sometimes that initial assessment seems to set the stage for failure rather than success and it would seem to me that the focus should be succeeding - that there needs to be a better way to promote the positive and not the negative. On a different note, I'd like more information on BEST Plus and REEP. Where would I find that? Katrina >>> email@example.com 08/01/05 2:26 PM >>> MIME-Version: 1.0 Hi Katrina, thanks for your post. A couple of things to consider: You noted below in your post that 'standardized tests are necessary because of funding'. Actually, standardized tests are necessary for fairness. The funding part is quite frankly secondary - although no one would argue with your frustrations regarding **that use of them**, myself included. I'm just trying to get you (and all) to see these differences and be careful to understand how the many pieces of accountability work together, or don't work together. And both theoretically and in reality, any type of test (including surveys, interviews, and portfolios) can be standardized, and in the best of all worlds, should definitely be standardized. (The challenges for these latter assessments are steep: costly, time-consuming, huge amounts of paper/documentation, etc.) If you check out Phil Cackley's post, he discusses two performance-based assessments (Best Plus and REEP) that are standardized, that provide much more usable information for the student and teacher, and that are, low and behold, approved for use with the nrs. Not perfect...nothing is with all this...but moving toward a more effective space. Perhaps we should shift our questions away from the tests themselves. Perhaps we should discuss what we want to measure, and then make some suggestions and have discussion on how might be best to capture the stuff we want to measure. We keep getting stuck in this quagmire of misinterpretation of terms. What do others think? marie cora Moderator, NIFL Assessment Discussion List, and Coordinator/Developer LINCS Assessment Special Collection at http://literacy.kent.edu/Midwest/assessment/ firstname.lastname@example.org -----Original Message----- From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Katrina Hinson Sent: Monday, August 01, 2005 10:13 AM To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1184] RE: high-stakes testing, state/federal I've been really quiet on this list for the last several weeks - partly because we just welcomed a brand new baby to our family - now that I've caught up on all the collected emails, I think I'll dive into this discussion. A colleague and I were actually discussing "standardized" testing issues over coffee this past Saturday as it relates to our own program. To answer the questions posed by Howard: I don't like standardized tests. I never have -even as a student in school myself. I think they are excellent guage of a student's ability to memorize and regurgiate information but not necessarily a good guague of a student's ability to APPLY the knowledge they have. I also think one of the fatal flaws with a standardized tests is that sometimes students learn something simply to pass a test but then forget it as soon as they think they don't need it any longer. Unfortunately, because of reporting and funding, I think standardized tests, irregardless of which one a state or school uses, have become a necessary evil. I happen to agree with others that spoke up on the list that stated that they don't really think standardized tests are the best way to go in terms of assessing students. Like others, my own school does intake testing before assigning a student to a class. One of the problems I've found is that some students don't take the test seriously, they get really low! scores, are improperly placed, and then they quit coming b/c they get bored. For the record, we use the TABE test. I've seen students test who simply opened their test booklet and just bubbled in answers - yet when doing work in class, it was discovered that they knew way more than the test showed. Likewise, I've had students test really high, and it not be an accurate indication of what they really knew. I've had students, especially in the math portion of the test, score at the 11th and 12 grade level yet those same students could not work with complicated fraction problems, had trouble with long division, etc,let alone the inability to do algebra and geometry. The TABE, along with any standardized tests, is going to have inherent flaws - because it uses snippets of data to "test" a student's knowledge base but it doesn't come close to giving a real and sometimes completely accurate picture. On a side note, I also agree with earlier comments that the TABE is not neces! sarily an ideal test to "assess" a student's reading ability. In my t levels, as a GED instructor and even as an AHS instructor, reading ability is truly only assessed when an instructor spends some quality one on one time with his or her students gauging everything from fluency to comprehension. The TABE, CASAS and even the GED definitely tests comprehension skills but give a weak assessment of the students' fluency skills. It can be assumed that if the student has trouble comprehending what they have read, then by defaulty they have trouble with fluency - but it doesn't begin to tell or help an instructor know just where that problem might lie. Is it with word recognition, phonetics, rate, etc. There are a lot of questions that no standardized tests can ever answer and that the instructor is going to have to "assess" on his or her own. My experience with CASAS is that it too doesn't give a complete picture BUT, I do like the fact that it is "Life Skills/Employability Skills" based. I think it's much easier to explain to someone in their 50's and 60's in terms of CASAS, than it is to have given them the TABE and show tell them that they are at a 4th grade level in a given area. I agree that such explanations are a bit demeaning to adults who have life experiences that the TABE does not take into account. There is a huge difference between the 17 year old who completed 10th grade and the 50 year old who held a job for 20 years before the plant closed and those differences are NOT Assessed or accounted for in assessments. Howard asked if there was one tests that was "better than sliced bread". I think the answer to that is "no." No one tests will ever give a complete picture. I think that is also the fatal flaw in the NRS. It's data driven only and data is one sided. Data like that can be skewed b/c not everyone tests well; data can be misleading - students tests high or low and it not be the real "indication" of their ability; students deliberately "blow" the tests b/c they don't understand or appreciate the significance of it. There are a lot of factors, it seems to me, that make "standardized" testing flawed but because of funding issues, they are necessary. I think it becomes equally necessary then for instructors to go beyond the "initial" assessment done at an intake session to truly identify the needs and abilities of their students. I think this can be done with one to one interviews, surveys and teacher made materials. I think that as a student enters and learns, that portfolios ! of work highlighting their growth are the best assessment of their ability. I don't think there is an easy answer or solution. Regards Katrina Hinson >>> email@example.com 07/27/05 10:21 PM >>> MIME-Version: 1.0 "Help", he says, not quite desperately. (I have procrastinated, so I am just a "nonce" from desperation.) As my program (staff and learners) and fellow practitioners move into the 21st century of "no adult left behind", trying to meet the accountability requirements of federal, state, and program parties, trying to be evidence-based, standards-based, and so on in the jargon of the moment, we are as you are trying to prepare our learners for post-secondary training/education and for living-wage jobs, and, well, frankly (as St Paul said) trying to be "all things to all people so that some few can be saved". In that context, I am interested in hearing and/or discussing with folks the implementation of standardized assessments. Are they always a necessary evil? The devil's due? Have you found ways to make them relevant, engaging? Perhaps (whisper, wink) you are you a true-believer? Is the TABE, the BEST, the CASAS, the best thing since sliced bread? Don't be shy. Blast me. Guide me. Lurkers, come out and play. Theorists, practicivists welcome to proselytize. Do you reject standardization? Are you are a naturalist? Please, let me know how to move down the "path not taken." If your comments are "not ready for prime-time", you can reply privately to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. Howard L. Dooley, Jr. Director of Accountability, Project RIRAL Assessment Team, Governor's Taskforce on Adult Literacy We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors...but they all have to learn to live in the same box. We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors...but they all have to learn to live in the same box.
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