From high above her crowd of one, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom speaks from her antique, yet sturdy, soapbox.
Any teacher in the audience? You, there. You. The only person who showed up for my speech. Are you a teacher? Thought so. The hairstyle, you know.
Do you remember way back when you first started teaching? Okay, not the one-room schoolhouse on the banks of Plum Creek. A little more recent. Back in the days when the cutting-edge educational philosophy promoted Instructional Management as the be-all, end-all solution to making knowledge stick to the brains of children like adhesive sticks a price tag to an item you desire to be unmarred. Yes, Instructional Management ensured that no child was passed before his time. Master the criteria so it can be recorded on your individual checklist, or you won't be passing to the next grade. That's a fact, Jack. Never mind the nightmare of paperwork and record-keeping.
Maybe your first assessment tool was the Basic Essential Skills Test (BEST). It showed that students were ready to face life in the real world. Didn't it? Because everybody bent over backward to prepare students for the BEST.
Heavens to Betsy! Maybe those were not the proper tools for measuring student achievement. Because along came the MAPs. The tests of the Missouri Assessment Program. The one where students had to write out longhand answers to ambiguous questions. Which were sent away to be graded by a myriad of different people.
Then high schools began testing for End of Course knowledge. The EOCs. A computer-answered list of 30 multiple choice questions. That were supposed to show everything you needed to know at the end of that course.
But wait! Now we have Common Core standards knocking at the door. Pounding it with a battering ram. Clamoring for more depth of knowledge in the subject-matter assessments.
If I can hang on a few more years, I may be able to retire before a new program sashays down the pike. It's getting rather difficult to climb up on this soapbox in my advanced age.