September 2011

Measures for Measures

September 2011 Cover

When the consequences of test failure are school closures or firings, and schools are denied the tools to give them a chance of success, it is hardly surprising to discover widespread abuse of the testing system.

The cheating scandals which began in Atlanta and spread across the country are only the most blatant examples of what happens when testing goes too far. Strategies that boost scores without improving learning, like teaching to the test and encouraging low-scoring students to drop out, have become an entrenched part of educational administration. Such corruption, which undermines educational quality, is an inevitable consequence of the intense pressure that high-stakes testing puts on teachers and principals. The investigation into the Atlanta scandal found, “The targets set by the district were often unreasonable, especially given their cumulative effect over the years. Additionally, the administration put unreasonable pressure on teachers and principals to achieve targets… Ultimately, the data and meeting ‘targets’ by whatever means necessary, became more important than true academic progress.” more


>IN THIS ISSUE:


Tests as Tools for Learning
Aned Muñiz Gracia offers examples to show how teachers can use simple tests to improve learning experiences

Using Tests to Target Learning
How Sweetwater Union High School District implemented CTB/McGraw-Hill’s LAS Links in its English Language Development

Overtaking Age with Desire
Clay Williams challenges the widely-accepted theory that the acquisition of second-language fluency is dependent on learning during the pre-adolescent “critical period”

Nashville Struggling to Educate Minorities
J’Nisha Towne on how demographics are shaping policy

Multiple Choices
Language Magazine’s look at the latest in testing

Talking In Your Sleep
William Stimson sees a role for dreams in second language acquisition

Europe’s Powerhaus
Daniel Ward thinks a German immersion program makes more than economic sense

Hotspots for Teaching English
Nicholas Ferdinandt provides a snapshot of the current job market for teachers of English as a Foreign Language

Funds to Document Endangered Languages

Opinion
Stephen Krashen on the bogus argument for testing

Last Writes
Richard Lederer with more Good Words

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