Saturday, March 12, 2005

Illinois Students Get Shortchanged

Public school students that are taking annual acheivement tests in the State Of Illinois no longer have to worry (reg. req'd) about taking the writing/history/social studies components of their assessments:
For the first time in more than a decade, Illinois students no longer have to take substantive writing exams or tests measuring their knowledge of fundamental principles of U.S. government and history--the result of some of the most severe state testing cutbacks in the nation.
We wonder if these cutbacks have less to do with a shortage of funding and more to do with the fact that under the federal No Child Left Behind Act students are only tested in reading and math. Let's take a look:

The state's 3rd, 5th and 8th graders are taking only reading and math tests, and 4th and 7th graders are taking only science tests. Next month, high school juniors will take pared-down exams in reading, writing and math, the only tests required under the No Child Left Behind federal education reforms.

Wiped out is a writing test that dates to 1990 and was being given to 3rd, 5th, 8th and 11th graders, and a social studies exam for 4th, 7th and 11th graders, first instituted in 1993. Test questions in fine arts, physical development and health were stricken from ISAT tests this year as well.

We thought that was the explanation.

Both as a public school classroom teacher and the parent of a child that attends public school, I would be the first to say that testing can be a highly effective method of assessing student progress as well as a diagnostic tool for detecting students' areas of individual strengths and weaknesses. But in order to maximize testings' effectiveness, we would advocate that students be tested in all academic areas including history, science, and yes, even fine arts.

An Invitation: All writers and readers of education-related posts are invited to contribute to the sixth edition of The Carnival of Education. Please send your submissions to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] com. We should receive your contributions no later than 10:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, March 15, 2004. The Carnival midway will open here at the 'Wonks Wednesday morning.

For the latest edition of The Carnival Of Education, please click here.

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