Friday, April 3, 2015
High-Stakes Preppin' Only to Forget
Tests are counted for so much in the current battle over ed. reform. Yet, the greatest percentage of information one packs into one's skull for the purposes of testing in high-school exists only as short-term memory. Soon after the exam ends, so much of the information proves useless. It fades into obscurity. With time, it is long forgotten. We all know this. Do the people who swear by the tests know this?
I often look at my high-school students. They try to absorb the "necessary" facts of history. They will need to regurgitate them come Regents time in June. I am under no false impression. Most of it will be quickly and quietly forgotten. The more you test prep, the more meaningless all the material becomes to many.
How much do I remember from high school? Very little, but I learned enough to comlete college in three years. I know there are underlying methods of thinking and questioning that will remain with me, but most of the specific content is lost. I suspect I must be stronger for having known it, but I don't know it anymore. I am vaguely aware that I may one day need to relearn this stuff in order to help my kids learn it--but then, after the test, we will all forget it together.
Sadly, the pain of current CCSS testing, all its collateral damage and the bitter taste of failure for 65% of our kids may never be forgotten.