In addition to the general interference of testing with the aims of democratic education, we now have the problem of requirements that tests be taken on computers. Who knows whether one physical form of test-taking is better or worse for a particular student--which they might prefer, which might get them a better test score, which might be more economical for the school districts, or more profitable for the test-makers. All these angles could be investigated for years without any clear resolution.

What can't be disputed is that millions of students taking hours and hours of tests on computers is a new aspect of schooling that bodes ill for "thinking outside the box." 

Posted
AuthorJay Gillen

One of the big problems implementing Algebra Project curriculum is the disconnect between the curriculum and the testing regime.  Teaching and learning takes an approach to time that is determined by a community, not by an arbitrary and standardized "scope and sequence".

For students who haven't learned much in their past schooling, we want to do two things: meet them where they are, and accelerate. How this happens concretely depends on the precise nature of the students and the community they establish among themselves and among adults that they invite.

But standardized tests, used in often  bizarre and conflicting ways nowadays, don't make much room either for meeting students where they are or for allowing young people to establish their own community goals and culture. 

To address this problem, the Algebra Project is trying to figure out what a rational way would be for figuring out what is being taught and what is being learned and how students are developing ideas about themselves, math, and how they are constructing a community. 

This will be a multi-year process in conjunction with the Educational Testing Service, which has an interest in finding ways to work with communities that are typically not well-served by the testing regime. 

Posted
AuthorJay Gillen