Song and Dance

 Here we go again. 

The annual high-stakes testing reality show. 

And, here in Colorado, schools will do just about anything –teachers will sing and dance and plead and beg, administrators will push a peanut down the hall with their nose or shave their heads or both, counselors will give away goodies galore– all to get the kids to try to do a decent job on CSAP. Or even to just –pretty please with gumdrops and iPods and Xboxes on top– show up for the damned thing.

Don’t believe me? Read this.

These days all states have a version of this kind of testing.  CSAP, the Colorado Student Assessment Program, is the big enchilada around here.  A school’s AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) largely depends on how their population performs on this one test. Which, incidentally, can take up to five school days to administer. 

The bar exam, for crying out loud, only takes two!

And length is only part of the problem, though not a small one when you’re dealing with restless middle schoolers… or any other kid, for that matter.  The biggest problem is that, while the testing is “high stakes” for the faculty and administration, it’s virtually “no stakes” for the kids.  While a low score on the test is advertised to have some nebulous effect on future course selection, this matters primarily to the students who will try hard in any case.  Presently, kids are not held back or denied graduation because of a low score –or even a no score– on CSAP.

Hence all the bribery.

Frankly, I think it’s undignified. 

And just plain silly. In so many ways.


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