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Topic: Re:coaches and standards
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DanH150093@aol.com

Posts: 95
Registered: 12/6/04
Re:coaches and standards
Posted: Jul 3, 1995 1:49 AM
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Folks-

Worst thing about coaches is they always talk between themselves during
faculty meetings. Best thing about them is they're good during strikes. ;)

A little more about real standards:

Katzman and Hodas in "Class Action" suggest that no one really knows what
works in education. Despite the billions of dollars spent, there is little
objective evidence of the efficacy of just about anything. I know the NCTM
claims the Standards are "research based", but it's terribly difficult to
find where any of this stuff has been field tested with good results. (I'm
not using this as an occasion to bash the Standards again, but to state what
I see as a simple truth.)

Their solution is what they call "multiple national curricula". For math
there might be fifty different curricula developed by all types of sources.
Perhaps Harvard would develop its own curricula and textbook publishers would
develop materials reflecting that.

Now here's the rub. Each curricula would have a final exam (oops, assessment)
associated with it. This exam would be given in place of a final, under
AP-type conditions. The grade of this assessment would be scored by impartial
observers and the score on the exam would be entered into the students'
cumulative record along with their grade in the course.

This doesn't mean that we'd all have standardized norm tests. If your cup of
tea was the more radical type material, say Math for Opera Singers, your
final assessment might be a performance of the Aria de Trig. Perhaps it would
be taped and sent off to Cambridge for assessing.

Their thinking is this would make for heightened student accountability and,
in turn, heightened teacher accountability as teachers see how their students
are doing versus their peers in other schools in other locales and states.
Detailed
teacher questionnaires might enlighten other teachers on the correlation
with success of various teaching strategies.

Admittedly, Katzman and Hodas don't like competency testing, but I think it
would be a neccessary evil of this whole new accountability structure.
Starting early (like second or third grade) students would be assessed as to
objective criteria. It makes no sense to continue in the same manner with
students of any age who aren't participating and benefitting in their own
education. Of course, during the elementary years, there wouldn't be a
punitive nature to the exams, but some state mandated intervention might be
necessary for kids who are falling farther and farther behind.

These state competency assessments would take place every three of four
years, culminating in a "leaving exam" at the end of the 12th grade.

Of course, the question is what would these exams look like? For math, I
would suggest this format. The test would be standardized, multiple choice or
short answer on the Japanese model (which are very clever). Scoring open
ended questions on a state-wide scale is just too expensive.

The test would be divided, either explicity or implicity into three parts: a)
basic computation, b) traditional word (oops) story problems, and c) problems
reflecting higher order thinking skills and problem solving. To pass, a
student would need to show mastery in two of the three parts.

A student taking IMP might be expected to excell at (b) and (c), while a
Saxonista might be expected to do well on parts (a) and (b). Thus, the
various national curricula might be compared. And a nice side effect would be
to compare those students on the parts they aren't supposed to excell at.
Might the IMP students do better on the computation compared to the Saxon
students on the problem solving part?

Anyway, perhaps a wild idea, but something's got to be done. Where I'm from,
we're in deep trouble.

Hart
LAUSD "Home of noisy faculty meetings and teacher strikes"





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