Tuesday, August 23, 2005

School news bits

  1. Great joy [in all news outlets] at the news that Philadelphia students have had improving scores on standardized tests in each of the last four years.
    The overall improved scores were largely attributed to the implementation of full-day kindergarten, a standardized curriculum, the expansion of early-childhood programs, and increases in the professional-development hours for teachers and in the length of time some students spend in math and language-arts classes.
    Still more progress to be made, but positive outlook.

  2. An African-themed charter elementary school in West Chester that found itself homeless at the last minute (see previous story here) has now found a home.


Blogger Dumplingeater said...

As an educator, I have to comment here. While I don't feel that higher scores on standardized tests are a negative thing per se, I also feel that they are not necessarily something to crow about either -- especially when one of the supposed contributing factors is standardized curriculum.

This is such a HUGE issue that I really don't know where to begin, but suffice it to say that I hope that people look with some skepticism at making standardized testing a measure of educational success, and realize that there are significant drawbacks to standardizing curriciulum.

6:13 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

yes, I don't disagree with any of your points. it seemed telling to me that they mentioned that the biggest improvements were seen at the level of 5th grade, where the kids have had 4 years of improved curriculum, including such things as full-day kindergarten. that seems to make me think it's something beyond just teaching to tests that might be contributing here (even if it's more about getting kids into school, involving parents, etc. than about curriculum at all)...

6:16 PM  
Blogger Dumplingeater said...

Obviously, I don't have the same doubts about other measures such as expansion of early-childhood programs, increased professional development and implemention of extended kindergartens. Increased time on math and language art classes...hmmm, at the expense of time in art, music, home arts, etc. classes, I'm not so convinced.

But the larger point for me is that to say that any of the policies are good because they raise test scores is putting the cart before the horse (I don't mean to imply that's what you said). Those policies are good because they improve students' educational environment. If they happen to correlate with improved test scores, fine.

7:00 PM  

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