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Moving from Security Networks to Evolution of Testing at Schools

Early tonight, there was an interesting edchat on Twitter. How to work with everyone on striking a balance between learning and network safety and security was the topic. After a very crowded meet up, most participants seem to concur to the next recommendations: Quality tasks, relationships, monitoring, follow through, modeling, set the stage for positive behavior, as Becky Fisher wrap it up.

There were innumerable analogies. But there was one that caught our attention, and it was referred to banning not internet use, but thinking. Amy Brown tweeted: "Ban thinking! Isn't that why we created students tests? Oops! Wrong discussion!" This tweet made me remember all discussions Matt Townsley has had about assessments over at his blog. A landing page for any teacher interested on grading and evaluations.

Moving from networks security to assessments is not easy. However, I don't mean to force you to keep reading, but knowing that 90% of our readers are educators, I am committed to take you over The Big Tests: What Ends Do They Serve?

This is an interesting analysis conducted by Gerald Bracey of ASCD. The article spins around how much information a test reveals on a student and how three testing programs may take a teacher to confirm Bracey's investigation. ASCD's writer mentions one domestic and two international testing programs: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, Program for International Student Assessment (PISA, and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS.

The author accurately asserts that "to measure the quality of our schools, we need more instruction-sensitive measures than NAEP, PISA, or TIMSS" and continues to dig in our education history:

    In the last 50 years, the United States has descended from viewing tests first as a useful tool, then as a necessity, and finally as the sole instrument needed to evaluate teachers, schools, districts, states, and nations (Bracey, 2009). In a nation where test mania prevails, tests will occupy part of the education landscape until we can dig ourselves out of that 50-year hole.

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