Saturday, November 02, 2013

Testing, or Tested, that is the question

Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible.
—Robert M. Hutchins

     I don't know about where you are, but here assessment, which should be spelling with a capital A, is taking over education.  Teachers as well as students are undergoing rigorous (yes, an other educational buzz word!) evaluation and another layer of assessment (also known as testing) has been heaped on students.  It all has me running like a hamster in its wheel, never actually getting anywhere.  We are in a time where there is so much to learn and so many exciting ways to teach it and it just seems a shame that we have this giant A hanging over our heads.  I am trying to continue with enthusiasm and encouragement for all.
      While I am fussing  over this state of education I decided to share a few books that deal with testing. I just finished reading "The Testing" by Joelle Charbonneau,  another dystopian novel in which w have almost destroyed the world with our wars and the authorities are looking for the brightest and best to help lead the world to recovery and further advancement. Students are chosen each year from their small communities, and if they can make it through the Testing they are admitted to the University. There is romance, treachery, survival and betrayal through the ordeal and in the end, your memory is wiped so you don't remember what you went through; or do you?
     In "Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo, all children are tested as small children to find out if they have a gift.  If so, they are sent to a special school to become a Greisha, a member of the magical guard that protects the country.Alina purposely fails the test as a young child so she can stay with her best friend, Mal. Eventually her powerful gift is discovered and Alina is tested on many levels, both with her gift and with the way of life.
One final thought about testing, what are you doing to improve the testing environment where you work?