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March 26, 2009


Would the essay you propose be graded? If so, is that not a test?

Shall we abolish the SAT, the PSAT, and the GRE?

For over 30 years I have been making note of Elementary, middle and high sdhool test scores in PPS. I consider any school getting 75% or more of its students up to grade level to be doing a good job. Interestingly, the "good job" clusters stay the same year-to-year and the "bad job" clusters stay the same.

This seems to be most pronounced in large districts and le3ss pronounced in smaller districts; particularly the districts in which all students share an elementary, middle or high school.

Essays are indeed an assessment of what a student can do --an authentic, or performance, assessment. And unlike standardized multiple choice achievement tests, they're used by the teacher for feedback to the student and for formulation of strategies for more effective instruction.

High stakes tests threaten the viability --the very existence-- of public schools. Essays don't.

The tests you mention are not high stakes tests. Many colleges no longer require them for admission to their schools. The more enlightened of them ask for portfolios of a student's actual work.

Like essays they've written.

You taught English, where the essay, can and probably should be used in the way you describe. But what about math or lab science? How would you propose to assess student performance in those subjects?

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