The reading for this week was: The testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better. This reading is written by Daniel Koretz. This week’s reading focused on how test preparation in schools impacts students’ education. The reading talked about standardized testing which is defined as any form of test that requires all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selections of questions from a common bank of questions, in the same way, and that it is scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance on individual students or groups of students. The way a student prepares for a standardized test is guided by the teacher and school, but this does not guarantee how a student will process what they’re preparing for. The author of this article, Daniel Koretz has done a lot of research on education; assessment and testing policy. He discussed an issue in teaching and testing that should be a concern: preparing students for tests corrupts instruction and invites cheating. He reasoned that some teachers “teach to the test” even at the expense of true instruction; others use tests to “learn what to teach” and testing and test construction are often just not done well. He suggested taking a “test-accountability” approach in that testing is used to help the teacher determine strengths and weaknesses in teaching and help the teacher determine what type of teaching and testing were needed. Overall, he suggested teachers pay closer attention to the relationship between instruction and testing because they are mutually influential.
There are three types of bad test prep: Reallocation between subjects, reallocation within subjects, and coaching. Reallocation between subjects is when teachers cut back on instruction in untested subjects, so they tend to only prepare their students for what subjects will be on the test. This leaves students without important knowledge that they should be learning but they aren’t because their teachers left it out due to the test. This also leads to an imbalance in what they learn, for example, students will be stronger in math but not in other subjects that aren’t on the test.. Reallocation within subjects is when teachers cut back instruction on content within a subject that is not emphasized by a test. These students will lack important content that is in the curriculum. These students haven’t learned a lot in many areas of a subject to make more time for the content that will be tested on. The last type of bad test prep is coaching, this is when teachers focus on how content is tested and do that exact thing. These teachers will only teach details that are particular to the test rather than the content to support good test scores. This includes the process of elimination, plugging in which usually is seen in math, and memorizing instead of learning the information.
Another major part of the reading is the discussion on when does test prep become cheating? Most individuals do not believe that test prep is cheating. But the majority of people consider cheating to be when individuals change answers, or share answers on the test. When teachers omit material they know is important for their students’ success so they are misleading individuals’ test scores. If a teacher teaches students to look for something on the test rather than actually knowing the content then they will not remember it after the test. Also many teachers do not fully understand testing, and are just wanting to see their students succeed. In test practice problems, the questions often help the students to know what to expect on the test but not in real world situations. This reading is developed by starting with what test prep is and then he went on to talking about the three types of bad test prep. Another major part of the reading is when does test prep become cheating? Koretz discussed this question and gave her opinion on the question. The reading ended with the discussion of corrupting the idea of good teaching. The point of view for this reading is Koretz researched this topic and wrote down what she found about this topic.
I found an article titled: New York Joins Movement to Abandon Use of Student Tests in Teacher Evaluations. This article was written by Eliza Shapiro on February 1st, 2019. Four years ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed a plan to put New York at the forefront of a national movement to reshape American public education: he vowed that half of a teachers rating would be determined by student results on standardized exams. This immediately resulted in resistance from teachers’ unions and parents. They protested that this would add undue stress on teachers and children. As a result of all of the protests the evaluation system was suspended only months after it had been put in place. Local school districts and teachers unions in New York will now officially be allowed to decide together how educators should be evaluated, with some oversight from the state education departments, and no requirement that standardized tests must play a role. The state of New York is now fighting for other states to abandon the use of student tests in teacher evaluations. This article relates to the reading because Koretz discusses the issue of if standardized testing is prepared so poorly because the teachers are evaluated based on their students’ results on the tests. If these standardized tests did not affect a teachers evaluation then they may actually prepare their students the correct way instead of just making sure that they get the best score possible.
Weekly Reading: Koretz, D. (2017). The testing charade: pretending to make schools better. Chapter 7, Test Prep. pp. 93-118. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press.
We looked into the reading by Kiersten Greene and Jean Anyon called, Urban School Reform, Family Support, and Student Achievement. In this reading, there were four main topics that he wrote about in this reading. The four topics are poverty and schooling challenges, urban poverty, neighborhoods, and schools, the effects of SES on achievement, and increased family support and achievement. Starting with poverty and schooling challenges, the correlation between low income schools and poor student test scores is widely discussed. While programs like No Child Left Behind are created to combat this sad reality, they often aren’t enough to raise standardized test scores. According to Green and Anyon, “With such acknowledgement, policy and practice that link education reform to economic reform can begin to deepen the difference educators make in the lives and futures of poor children”. Therefore, school and economy cannot be looked at as separate entities, but rather as one cause and effect unit. Now looking into the urban poverty, neighborhoods, and schools part, widespread urban decay’s negative effects on schools are severe and appear not to be getting better. Education’s funding has been diminished due to weakening of the city property tax base. Countless public schools in urban areas lack access to curriculum resources, repairs, smaller class sizes, advanced classes. These are all because of lack of funding. The next part is the effects of SES on achievement, growing up in poverty has a strong influence on a child’s development. This has been studied by analyzing the differences in young children’s achievement scores in literacy and mathematics by race, ethnicity, and SES. By age of five, children who are in the highest SES group scored 60% greater than children in a lower SES group. SES and race have a greater influence on cognitive development than family structure. Programs to raise the incomes of poor families will greatly enhance the cognitive development and opportunities given to children with low SES. Lastly, looking at the last part of the reading, increased family support and achievement. Research demonstrates when poverty is alleviated students success is alleviated in schools. A study in 2003 was done on Native American children on a reservation found when a casino started distributing money to poor families, about 6,000 dollars a year, the children’s negative behaviors (vandalism, stealing, bullying, stubbornness, and outbursts of anger) dropped to levels of families who have never been poor. Another study was done in 2001, found that small income supplements to working parents (amounting to about $4,000 per year) improved children’s elementary school achievement by about 10% to 15%. A program done in inner city Milwaukee further continued the research into poverty and education. The participants were given: the earnings supplement, subsidized health insurance, subsidized child care, and assistance finding jobs. In total it was about 5,300$ worth of assistance per family. Children in the program performed better on reading and literacy tests and scored higher on the standardized tests. The effects were even more pronounced among the boys of the group who, in addition to earning better grades, were more likely to plan on attending college. In conclusion, families with more disposable income have more time and money to further engage with their children and their education.
For our learning experience, we chose to do jeopardy for our activity. We started out with a few slides to go over a summary of the reading to make sure that everyone took away the main points of the reading. My contribution to the design of the learning experience was to make all of the questions for the jeopardy board. I spent a lot of time trying to make sure that these questions were accurate to the reading and tried so hard to make the questions challenging but not too much to the point that they couldn’t answer them. During the learning experience my responsibility was to read two of the summary slides and aid while they were playing the game. Whenever any of the questions were unclear I would try to aid them in the right direction and help them get on track. I think that overall the jeopardy game went really well and I’m very happy with how this learning experience went.
Greene, K. & Jean Anyon (2010) Urban School Reform, Family Support, and Student Achievement, Reading & Writing Quarterly, 26:3, 223-236.
The reading for this week was: But that’s just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. This reading really focused on culture in the classroom. They talked about people integrating culture into their curriculum. One of the topics that really interested me was “Culturally relevant teaching in action”. I found this really interesting because a lot of students may not understand why teachers are bringing up this topic of culture. If I was in elementary school and someone asked me why we were learning about culture I would have no idea. I think it’s very important to make sure that students understand why it is so important to learn about different cultures. They developed this piece by starting with talking about connecting school with culture and then they had many other sub points such as “What is culturally relevant pedagogy?”, “Culturally relevant teaching in action”, and “Implications for further study”. I liked how they really got to the point in this reading and they started with linking school and culture. This gave me an idea right away about what the reading was about.
I found it really interesting that teachers were trying to integrate culture into their classroom and I found it really amazing. I wanted to know how these teachers were doing so to make it appealing to younger kids. I took a look into this and found an article titled “When school gets real: Teachers connect classroom lessons to current events”. This article was written on August 2nd, 2018. New York Times asked teachers and students around the world the following question, “How do you connect what you’re learning in the classroom with what’s going on in the world outside of school?” They received over 1200 responses from teachers and students from all over the world. I shared a few of the responses that stood out to me. They both are very different and unique but I love the way that they connect culture to these activities.
The first one I read was an 8th grade teacher, Jeff Baird, at a middle school in Brooklyn, New York. He explains how he has his 8th grade students choose a modern day issue of injustice that they would like to learn about, and take action toward solving. This has resulted in everything from Instagram accounts about our society’s racist beauty standards, to Musical.ly fund-raisers for L.G.B.T.Q.+ rights groups, to creative writing pieces, artwork and political letters that urge others to help victims of police brutality. I found this one very interesting because these students were able to pick an issue that they were really passionate about and pretty much do whatever they wanted with it. They had some restrictions because the assignment had to be graded somehow but I found this amazing that the students had such a wide range of things they could do. This type of activity is really tailored to each specific student.
Kristen Kalenowicz is a high school teacher in Milwaukee. She says “Two years ago I introduced the lens of mental health to discuss The Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar. Part of me wondered if this was overstepping, if mental illness should be saved for health class. Yet over the past year, my belief that young people need to explore mental health across all disciplines has been reaffirmed. With the recent suicides of public figures, the bullying of L.G.B.T.Q.+ individuals, and society’s discussion surrounding school shooters and mental illness, this is a topic that we cannot afford to leave out.” After she reads these books they have discussions on mental health and related topics. Although this activity is very different from the first one I talked about I feel that it is just as productive and appropriate. I love how she is connecting a culture topic to a book that they read in class. This helps bring what they do in class to real life and shows how it connects to the outside world.
For my current connection I gave a summary of the article that I chose and then I had three discussion questions for the class. Which activity would you like to do as a student from the two things I talked about? As a teacher, what would you do to integrate culture into your classroom? Did your guys’ school do anything to integrate culture into your classroom? We had a great discussion and I found it very interesting how everyone chose a different activity that they would rather do.
Ladson-Billings, G. (2016/1995). But that’s just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. In E. Blair & Y. Medina (Eds.), The social foundations reader: Critical essays on teaching, learning and leading in the 21st century (pp. 285-292). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
October 15, 2020
We looked into the reading by Michael L. Sulkowski called, Unauthorized immigrant students in the United States: The current state of affairs and the role of public education. In this reading, the first thing that he talked about was the phenomenology of undocumented immigration. As of recent times, about 5.3 million children living in the United States are undocumented, meaning that they are not officially recognized as citizens, or have at least one parent who is undocumented. At least 775,000 of these children do not have citizenship status, refugee status, permanent resident status, or any other form of temporary residency status for the purpose of work, education, etc. Approximately 4.5 million children in the United States are at risk of losing at least one parent to deportation or detainment by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, which is also known as ICE. Some of the reasons for immigrating to the United States include but are not limited to seeking a better life, education, medical care, etc for oneself and one’s family; escape from conflict and warfare. Currently, half of these individuals and families hail from Mexico and are attempting to cross the United States/ Mexico border. Also, many others come from Central American nations. A significant number of immigrants living in the United States become unauthorized when their visas expire or are left unrenewed. Families are often forced to flee their homelands due to violence or dangerous circumstances. Parents are willing to endure the challenges of immigration for the sake of their children.
The next thing that Sulkowski talked about is Deportation. Deportation rates have increased during the Bush and Obama administrations, and the Trump administration made efforts to accelerate this process. The majority of deported immigrants were not criminal offenders. The United States deportation processes are cited as disproportionately targeting undocumented working-age Latino males and families, arguably due to bias and discrimination. They mentioned the impact of current practices on youth. “Higher risk of parental loss, greater disruptions in psychosocial functioning, increased risk for mental health problems, and more significant problems in academic performance when compared to their peers” (Sulkowski, p 64). This increased the risk of victimization and bullying by their peers due to their race, religion, or socioeconomic status. CHildren with at least one unauthorized parent can miss out on between 1.25 and 1.5 years of overall K-12 school attendance (Sulkowski, p 64).
This reading really did open my eyes to this problem that is happening in the world we live in today. I want to emphasize something that we talked about in our discussion during our learning experience. One of the discussion questions in the slide show was “Do you think that it is right to separate a child from their mother or father because they are undocumented immigrants? Explain why”. I brought up a very good point of trying to put ourselves in their shoes. I first just simply started by thinking about how I would feel if my mom or dad was suddenly ripped from my home. I could not even imagine how I would feel as a child. I first of all would have no idea why my mom or dad was being taken away from me and I also wouldn’t understand where they are being taken. I then was thinking about the effect it would have on me as a child. I relied on my parents so much when I was growing up and I learned so much from them. I believe that children need parental support and guidance to help you through life. I know if I didn’t grow up with any guidance, I would have done whatever I wanted as a child and by doing that I would not end up where I am today.
Our learning circle choose to focus on having everyone express their opinions of undocumented immigrants and deporting immigrants. For our learning experience, we first chose to have a few slides that went over a summary of the reading. We did this incase someone did not understand the reading, so this gave them a chance to understand the reading better so we could create better discussions. I think that this worked very well because if people were confused, this helped them be able to participate in the discussion. The next thing that we did was we broke into breakout rooms and there were five discussion questions that each group had to answer. In these groups they were creating a discussion by answering these questions. Once the questions were completed, we came back into the main room and had a whole class discussion on these questions. Each group discussed one question and people made comments on their opinions. I believe that our discussion was very productive and we really dove into the impart that deportation of parents can do to these children.
My contributions to the design of the learning experience was that I came up with a discussion question for the whole class to answer. I also designed the answer slides for each group to put their answers on. This may seem simple but I spent some time thinking about the most efficient way to have the groups answer these questions while also thinking about making it easy for them to understand. My responsibilities during the learning experience was to read one of the summary slides to get the information across to the class. I then explained to the class what our learning experience was and what they were to do in their breakout rooms. Once we were in the breakout rooms, I helped guide our group’s discussion to make sure that we stayed on track. If they were ever stuck on a question I would guide them to help them understand the question more. I think overall that our learning experience went very well and it was a productive discussion.
Reading for the week:
The reading for this week was Brown and the foundations of educational equality: Equality in education law and policy. This reading really focused on Brown v. Board of Education and many other court cases regarding the school system. They first focused on Brown v. Board of Education. This court case took place in 1954, they ruled that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. This case was a major turn around for the civil rights movement. Something that came about in this case was something called “Separate but equal”. This meaning although we may be separate as races, we should still have the same rights as humans. They also mentioned court cases that came about before Brown v. Board of Education. In 1896 there was a case called Plessy v. Ferguson, they ruled that racially segregated public facilities were legal, as long as the facilities were equal for blacks and whites. This was a clause to protect blacks from having facilities that were in bad conditions, it was required that they had facilities that were in the same condition. For example, it was legal to have separate railcars for black and white passengers but their railcars were required to be in the same condition and equal to one another. Then came along the Jim Crow Laws, which were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the South. In the early 1950’s the NAACP which was founded in 1909, put most of their efforts into protecting the rights of African American citizens. “In 1950, the court ruled in Sweatt v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, cases that both involved graduate school education for African American students”. In the case, McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, they ruled that it is unconstitutional to separate an African American graduate student from white graduate students. For example, African American students were not able to participate in class discussions when they were separated from the white students. In the case, Sweatt v. Painter, it ruled that denying law school admission to an African American student on the basis of race was found unconstitutional. Students were being denied admission to law school which was clearly not equal.
They developed this piece of writing by first explaining what Brown v. Board of Education was and then they went back into time and explained some of the cases that lead up to Brown v. Board of Education. By explaining the cases that led up to Brown v. Board of Education, I was able to grasp a better understanding of how Brown v. Board of Education came about and where they stood going into this case.
I focused on finding an article about Brown v. Board of Education. The article that I was is titled, 65 years after Brown v. Board of Education, school segregation is getting worse. This article was written on May 17th, 2019 this date is marking the 65th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education. In this article, a report was done by UCLA and Penn State, they looked at federal student enrollment data and other research on school segregation. They found that students across America are increasingly attending racially isolated schools, with black and latino students in particular attending schools that are predominantly nonwhite. While white students are attending schools that are less white than they were in the 1950s and 1960s, but these schools still have far more white students than they should for the student population. School segregation is no longer just a white/black issue, but now it involves other racial groups. The gap between black and latino students and their white peers is growing wider, creating schools that are not only racially segregated but also economically segregated. Students attending predominantly black and latino schools have less access to beneficial programs than their peers. The report states that it is common for black and latino students to be largely concentrated in schools together, while Asian American students attend schools with larger white populations. I made a slideshow that gave a summary of the article and then I had three discussion questions for the class. What does your school situation look like? From your experience, do you think that it is true that Asian and white students are “grouped” together and black and Latino students are “grouped” together in schools? What can we do in an effort to desegregate schools? We discussed how many do not realize that segregation in schools is still prevalent today.
Lockhart, P.R. 65 Years after Brown v. Board of Education, School Segregation Is Getting Worse. 10 May 2019, https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/5/10/18566052/school-segregation-brown-board-education-report
Superfine, B. (2013). Ch. 3. Brown and the foundations of educational equality. Equality in education law and policy, 1954-2010. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-67.
September 17, 2020
We looked at a reading by John Dewey called, Exploring Education: An Introduction to the Foundations of Education. In this reading, it was split up into three different sections. The three sections were: what is education, what is school, and what should we teach. The first section, what is education, talks about how Dewey believed there were two aspects to education. The two aspects of education are psychological and sociological. Dewey explains that psychological education focuses on the development of the child’s “powers”. He explains that powers are the specific abilities and talents inherent to the child. Psychological education also refers to what many think as education today. He focuses on the development of the child’s knowledge and skills when it comes to the psychological part. Now looking at the sociological part of education, this refers to the role of schools to translate children’s own instincts into skills they can use in the adult world. Dewey believed in both psychological education and also sociological education. If psychological education is placed before sociological education, the education then becomes “Barren and Formal”. But if sociological education is placed before psychological education, then the freedom of the child is subjected to the needs of the collective. Overall, Dewey believes that the child should be educated so that individual strength and affinities are strengthened then interpreted and translated to their social equivalents.
Now looking at the what is school sections, he explains how school is primarily a social institution. Dewey explains how school should simplify existing social life. A child cannot be expected to immediately jump into society at large and expect to succeed. Everyday life is too complex for an inexperienced child to understand the many nuances. School should then be a simplified reflection of the larger society. Dewey believes that the reason modern education fails is that school is not seen primarily as a form of community life. Education in school then should be center and focused through the community of the school. Moral education of the school should be achieved by emphasizing the socializing aspect of education. That teachers should be less authoritarian figures in class instead members of the school community tasked with guiding the students through lessons as opposed to dictating to them.
Looking at the what should we teach sections of the reading, Dewey explains the child should not be introduced too quickly to special subjects of reading, writing, geography and others. The center of education should be based around the child’s own social life. Studies like literature and history should be made relevant by applying them to the child’s own social situation. The education then doesn’t have a set curriculum as we understand it. Instead the child is introduced gradually with new subjects as they present themselves to the child. Finally there should be no end to education, education should be a constant process that exists for the sake of the process itself as opposed to preparing for a future test.
As a group, we chose to make a slideshow. We chose to have a few slides in the beginning to go over the main ideas of the reading to give everyone a better understanding of the reading. We also took into account that not everyone is going to read the reading assigned for this day, so we wanted to give everyone a chance to understand the reading so that there was more engagement in the actual activity. After the summary slides, we decided that we were going to do break out rooms. We chose to have each group have a slide to fill out and have a few discussion questions on each slide. Our plan then was to come back together and have each group share their answers and then this would start the discussion. Since we ran out of time we were only able to have each group pick one question to answer but I still think the discussion was successful. I contributed to the design of the learning experience because I made the slide show. I set up the entire slide show and figured out how to set it up. I set the slides up by putting the groups on each slide and also figuring out how to display the questions and how the students would answer the questions and where. I also came up with the idea that everyone comes up with a discussion question, so everyone texted me their question and then I wrote it out in the slides. I also made sure that all of the slides looked the same since we wanted each group to have the same questions so that when we discussed they all had their own answers to the questions. My responsibility during the learning experience was to explain the activity that we were doing and make sure that the students understood what was expected of them. When we were in our breakout rooms, I helped my group members stay in the right direction and make sure that their answers answered the question the correct way. We didn’t use anyone but Dewey.
Dewey, J. (2018/1897). My pedagogic creed. In A. R. Sadovnik, P. W. Cookson Jr., S. F. Semel, & R. W. Coughlan (Eds.), Exploring education: An introduction to the foundations of education (5th ed., pp. 215-218). New York, NY: Routledge.
The link to the slide show is here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1XHergKbpiq2VCMq2EFW_oS63L8LFQQ9S6Is5NL_DgEY/edit?usp=sharing
- Caroline Beery
- Upper Arlington, Ohio
- 1st or 2nd grade as of now
- I am on the track and field team at John Carroll University. My event is pole vault. I blew out my knee in January and I’ve had two surgeries so I am out for this season.
- I like this book because I believe that you should always try to have a positive outlook on everything in life. I believe that everything happens for a reason and if something bad happens then it was meant to happen to you.
7. Something that helps me be creative in the classroom is feeling comfortable with my classmates. It also helps sometimes to be in smaller groups.
8. I get a little nervous thinking about interviews themselves and the interview process.