While Orange Is the New Black continues to garner a wide range of reactions from the public and critics, let’s do a little math and confront something that is not receiving the media attention that it should: Testing is the new learning.
Back in 2005, when the SAT introduced with much fanfare a third section to the pointless gatekeeping test, writing, as a teacher of writing, I pointed out that a test labeled “writing” is not a writing test at all if 25 minutes of the test is a writing sample (prompted and one draft) and 35 minutes is multiple choice. When we do the math, the “writing” section of the SAT is a selected-response test (and it likely does far more harm to writing instruction than good).
At booksareenough (blog), the math on how much time is spent at the beginning of the school year teaching/learning versus testing is yet more proof that testing is the new learning:
I want to provide regular updates on how the Florida Department of Education(sic), legislature and districts are combining to test kids to death. Learning, teaching, mentoring and exploring are secondary to testing the life out of kids.
School has been in session for three weeks. Guess how many days our library has been closed all day to host testing? The answer is two days.
How many days in the first three weeks of school have included lost time for testing? The answer is four.
How many days next week will see lost time for testing. The answer is FIVE.
By next Friday 9 of 18 school days will have lost time to testing- 50%. Is this criminal? You decide.
How many different standardized tests will the average high school student have taken after 18 days of school? The answer is 3.
Teachers do not get to decide how and when to test. These are forced tests.
Is this criminal? Yes.
And while FairTest is calling for a moratorium on Common Core high-stakes testing, I think we need to go even further and end high-stakes testing entirely.