Chris Goering, an associate professor of curriculum and education at the University of Arkansas, dropped an essay in my mailbox this morning urging parents to consider having their 11th grade students opt out of the state’s 11th grade literacy tests, set to be administered Tuesday and Wednesday. In short, he argues it it is an outdated test, tied to old curriculum standards and a waste of time.
Goering and a colleague also write the Edusanity blog, which aims to “reclaim the conversation” on education from politicians who’ve never been in a classroom, businessmen with similar qualifications and others in the so-called reform movement.
It offers his explanation for why the test being administered this week is pointless and comments generally on the (over) emphasis on testing. I don’t know the consequences of refusal to take a standardized test. I do know that some school administrators have been known to react irrationally in the face of civil disobedience. But, on a slow morning, some food for thought at a minimum.
You’ll find some links in his piece to related topics.
PS — The work on the Edusanity blog is of a decidedly different variety than you’ll find at another UA academic outpost, the Walton-financed school reform department. Its “blogroll,” with links to the likes of a blog on charter school scandals, the Network for Public Education and Diane Ravitch, the one-woman scourge of the Billionaire Boys Club, should give you a hint.
UPDATE: Goering wrote on his blog last year about this idea and consequences. In short, they might have to take a remediation class as a senior or be retained (a somewhat nutty outcome for someone, say, with a stratospheric score on the more meaningful ACT test). He wrote, however:
If you decide to opt out, there are consequences for Benchmarks, End of Course Geometry and Biology and Grade 11 Literacy – student will need to have Academic Improvement Plan and be remediated under the law. (the reason is that the student will have no test to show s/he scored proficient.) With End of Course Algebra a student must pass the examination in order to get credit for the course (must have passing grade too). Algebra 1 is REQUIRED to graduate. So, without it, you can’t graduate.
If remediation (sic) does not occur child can be retained.