Tuesday, June 5, 2001


There's a lot to be said against the MSPAP tests but one of the biggest factors is that the way in which the tests are reported does not take into account simple human nature. Students receive no feedback on their performance on the test. There are no consequences for the student. The schools receive a "report card" for the performance of their students. What's wrong with this picture?

Middle school students are concrete thinkers and the abstract escapes them. They usually ask, "What's in it for me?"

Yesterday, Scott said that when he takes the test, he's not going to try at all because it doesn't matter to him. Then I reminded him that the school receives a report and that students ARE the school and that if he messes up on the test, it makes the school look bad and ultimately he will look bad as part of the school community.

I'm afraid this test is merely a reflection of the trend to hold teachers accountable for student learning but not holding students responsible. The old saying is true. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I could stand on my head trying to compete with MTV, knock myself out to teach a lesson a dozen different ways in interesting ways and agonize over how to help a student to understand the lesson. However, if the student is unreceptive for whatever reason, there's nothing I can do as a teacher.

If a student chooses not to work, not to learn, should I be blamed? Absolutely not.

And the MSPAP test should hold the student responsible for performance by providing test results to every student.

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