Neither Fair Nor Accurate By Wayne Au

Seattle Education 2010 covered this article on its page. but one thing in the article I found missing was something I learned while my own sons were in high school. We administer a standardize test in grades 3-10 which now we are trying to tie back to teacher accountability yet the folks who are pushing this have not stopped to consider the mindset of the students at each level. Now I’m not a psychologist, but I listen and follow what my own sons and their friends have told me along the way. There is a generalization I use with the current generation of students in our schools, and it may not represent all, but this generation I refer to as the “give me” generation! From the baby boomers to the Gen X group each generation has its little tells, and the Give Me group is all about what are you going to give me to perform how you want me too! Even though the testing may not show it this group is smart enough to know that if I want something, from the new cell phone to the latest video game, all I have to do is give the “older folks” what they want on their tests.
At the younger grade levels the prizes can be very simple and “cheap”, and in some cases the pride of doing well against a classmate is enough to drive success. These students are like sponges learning all that is thrown at them, and the parental involvement is evident at successful open houses each year. So as you look at schools across the state and country most elementary schools are still performing relatively well. Them we move to the middle school level the parental involvement has dropped some, and the prizes being looked for are not so simple. We begin to see drops in test scores at this level, and we see the separation begin to occur as these students tired of over testing and teaching to a test decide what they will do in high school and beyond. That leads me to the high school, which as I look around the state are the biggest under-performers, and we have a smart group who has had the standardize test pounded into them over 10 years. They see a world that is based on their “give me” attitude where rappers, professional athletes, and many others have their hands out asking ” what are you going to give me for that?” So then you wonder why these students at grade 10 have no incentive to do well on a test that neither influences graduations, nor college acceptance/ scholarships, and only matters to the educators administering it!
Don’t get me wrong as I know parental involvement, environment, and quality educators have an influence on the outcomes, but until we consider the mindset of our the students we are force feeding them knowledge they won’t accept. Instead of holding only teachers accountable, or trying to find ways to hold parents accountable, we need to follow the advice of a previous generation and actually “learn from our history, instead of making the same mistakes”


About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
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2 Responses to Neither Fair Nor Accurate By Wayne Au

  1. Here! Here! I agree on many levels. At my school, we have good teachers continually refocusing our energies on what is best for students, and we have admin who says they value teacher input because “you are the most important influence in their education” and then they ignore all of our advice and input and come up with programs and ideas simply designed to make them look good. Our admin is particularly bad at listening to students.

  2. Ancora Imparo says:

    when a student takes a phone call, cusses out a teacher in class for questioning the phone use and then the student and others claim she is a “bitch” all over facebook… Teachers have to take the high road and can’t say/act how a boss in the real world would. If parents and students take no responsibility – how does a teacher get to the instruction and achievement part?

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