July 18, 2006

Dryden teacher on testing

Freeville resident and Dryden High School teacher Charles J. Hanley has a guest column on the impact of testing on education, A few excerpts:

Do we teach for the test? Of course we do. At some level we have no choice. That's not always a bad thing. I'm not against standardized test. The Advanced Placement test in the various disciplines is a superb challenge to students. When I taught AP classes, bucking the trend of selecting only the elite students likely to achieve the ultimate “5,? I encouraged as many students as possible to take the tests. Teaching students to go beyond rote memorization into critical analysis and theoretical formation is teaching for the AP test. All students benefit from that stretch of their intellectual muscle.

Although the history and geography Regents are moving in the direction of testing critical thinking, the floating hand from Albany has still writ large: “thou shalt cover.? That means a break-neck sprint through the masses of curriculum while hoping that at some points names, dates and places will somehow lodge themselves in the swirling synaptic whitewater of the adolescent brain. This challenge that the advertising industry approaches with multi-million dollar flotillas, teachers must navigate with the equivalent of a wooden raft....

Even after three decades of successful Regents, I feel the temptation. The pressure on all teachers to produce good test scores is intense. And it grows every day as the public, quite rightly, calls for improvement. However the risk of toxic teaching techniques grows along with that pressure.

Also on the opinion page, Cyndie Smith of Etna criticizes the county's (lack of) notification for the closing of Etna Lane this summer.

In news, we fell two degrees short of breaking yesterday's record high temperature, hitting 91F, not the 93F set in 1953.

A hearing in Dryden Town Court moved the milk-poisoning case to the county courts, and Town of Dryden Code Enforcement Officer Kevin Ezell is quoted in an article on increased training requirements for local planning and zoning boards.

Posted by simon at July 18, 2006 8:16 AM in , , , ,
Note on photos