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Literacies - Post 3

kayari's picture

When Freire discusses how learning becomes “techniques, naively considered to be neutral, by means of which the educational process is standardized in a sterile and bureaucratic operation” I step back to analyze what goals public education has and how these goals have been sterilized. I question what the intent is for public education today. Pressure to perform on standardized tests are causing the classroom to be centered around the test. But what are the goals of the test? One could argue, such as myself, that tests funnel students into reproduction of socio-economic class status. Tests do seek to also gauge whether a student has mastered certain material. To use standardized tests to judge whether a student knows how to read then makes literacy a standardized and sterile activity. Centering a classroom around the assessment tool does not provide in-depth experiential education on a topic. As educators I believe we should focus on the goals of the tests not on the tests themselves. How can we shift the focus off high-stakes testing when salaries, school funding, and schools remaining open depends on test results? How can our students be successful on tests without us teaching to the test?


alesnick's picture

test success w/o excessive test prep

How can students succeed on tests without their teachers teaching to the test?  Important question!  There is a growing research literature on this, beginning (to my knowledge) with Oakes' work.  Intuitively and experientially, my sense is that rich academic-social engagement with learning fosters success.  I hope you will investigate.  Another thought, though, is to wonder what happens to our thinking about curriculum and pedagogy when test performance is set up as the resolution of the uncertain, dynamic growth process that is learning.