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An Interesting Thing In Obama’s Speech This Week

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(I found out what Obama was talking about. See So This Is What Obama Was Talking About….)

Unfortunately, this week President Obama echoed the typical stuff that has been coming out of his administration about schools in his speech at a Wisconsin school.

However, there was one part that I found intriguing. Maybe others know what he’s referring to in the last line of this excerpt. If you do, please leave a comment.

But what we want to do — what we want to do is finally get testing right. So it’s not about more tests, it’s about being smarter about our assessments. It’s about measuring not only whether our kids can master the basics, but whether they can solve challenging tasks, do they have the skills like critical thinking and teamwork and entrepreneurship; assessments that don’t just give us a snapshot of how a student is doing in a particular subject, but a big picture look at how they’re learning overall; and assessments that will help tell us if our kids have the knowledge and the skills to thrive when they graduate.

So we’re not just interested in can they fill out a bubble. What we want to do is to take a look generally — are kids learning and gaining the critical thinking skills that they need to succeed. Now, these are the kinds of assessments that our states should be putting in place, and we’re setting up a separate competition where they can win grants, extra grants to help them do just that.

I had not heard anything about this effort to have states compete to develop better assessments.  Is he serious?  Or is it just window-dressing to make all the bad stuff seem more palatable?

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

4 Comments

  1. All politicians talk a big game, but never go into detail about how their great ideas will be funded. Students will continue “filling out bubbles” as long as it’s the cheap way to assess student learning. Here in Michigan, perhaps the state hit hardest by this recession, many students are asked to donate toilet paper, sit in unheated classrooms, and learn in grossly overcrowded classrooms. While standardized tests remain a joke, there are other travesties, as well.

  2. Nebraska attempted to do portfolio-based assessment for meeting NCLB requirements. This was shot down by DoE in the last administration.
    Time article on it http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1626423,00.html
    Scott McLeod at Dangerously Irrelevant used to blog about what a great alternative this was before it was killed.

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