Sunday, April 14, 2013

Will testing terminate the silo-hugger syndrome?

We all know teachers teach-to-the-test.  In case you haven't heard:  25% of the Smarter Balance assessments, and 30% of the PARCC assessments will be a simulated research task.  If you examine the PARCC frameworks, you will see that they recommend at least a 1-2 week research task, followed by other shorter research tasks.    Well, if their curriculum framework recommends research, it makes total sense to "assess" (i.e. test) this.  So, why are teachers surprised?    

Now, let me share that I am NOT a test proponent -- In fact, I abhor standardized tests and believe we should move to performance based assessment and student portfolios. However, if it is a test that points out to teachers why they should be coming to the library...then let it be a test that wakes those silo-huggers up.  Glory be.   

This week, I received this email:

       Hi Paige,

       A third grade teacher brought me the following question off of a practice  
       assessment out of a Common Core crosswalk book and asked me to verify the     

            The author who wrote this passage found the
            information by typing Alexander Graham Bell
            into a search field.  This type of electronic
            text feature is

A.    a hyperlink.
B.     an icon.
C.     a group of keywords.
D.    an electronic menu.

       I thought this was interesting, another piece of why we need school librarians.

Karen  (Name redacted) 
Salem School Librarian K-12
Salem Central Schoo

Here is the FRAMEWORK language from the 7th grade PARCC for research: 

Research Project

Each module includes the opportunity for students to produce one extended project that uses research to address a significant topic, problem, or issue. This entails gathering and synthesizing relevant information from several additional literary or informational texts in various media or formats on a particular topic or question drawn from one or more texts from the module. Students are expected at this stage to have performed research that assesses the accuracy of sources and uses a standard citation format to acknowledge the conclusions of others. Students can present their findings in a variety of informal and more formal argumentative or explanatory contexts, either in writing or orally. (Research aligned with the standards could take one to two weeks of instruction.) Ongoing incorporation of research for shorter tasks should also be a regular component of instruction. 

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