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Veteran Teacher Speaks Out Against Culture of Assessment

Veteran Teacher Speaks Out Against Culture of Assessment

Matthew Jablonski, a veteran teacher who has taught high school U.S. history for the past 16 years, argues that the culture of assessment—judging student achievement and teacher ability on the basis of standardized test scores—is doing more harm to the school day than it is good in comments he submitted to the Ohio Senate Advisory Committee on Testing, according to The Washington Post.

First and foremost, Jablonski wants his audience to understand that teacher opposition to the increasingly heavy reliance on test scores for teacher performance evaluation is not out of fear.

"When legislators hear an educator come out in opposition to standardized tests, the assumption is that the educator must oppose being held accountable for their work. I would like to assure the committee that this is not the case," he said, according to the article.

Rather, his issue is with the limit on creative and thoughtful instruction that assessment-driven teaching creates.

"Essay writing cannot be thoughtful and expansive, it has to be modeled after state test assessments to assure success. Classroom resources are not chosen by teachers for their appropriateness or ability to spark student interest, nor for their relevance to their community. They’re chosen for the degree to which they reflect the resources students will encounter on a standardized test," he said.

As a result, he argues that using assessments to dictate curriculum has caused students to be the ones who suffer. He argues that they lose their natural curiosity and therefore lose the sense that learning can be fun.

Further, Jablonski insists that testing also causes students to lose out on valuable classroom time to take part in assessments.

"One AP History teacher I spoke to said that she didn’t even see one of her class periods for 2 weeks," he said.

Jablonski urges the committee to take into account what he's seen from the assessments thus far and encourages legislators to take more consideration into promoting longer, more creative instructions for students within the state.

"If you’d like students to learn, then give us more time to teach. Thank you for your consideration," he ended.

Read his full letter here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/22/2015

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