Testing Abuse

Email us at roglucido@gmail.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

Deny them the Data

It occurs to us that there’s a potentially important segment of the population that might be enlisted in the struggle to eliminate high-stakes testing.
We’re wondering about the merit of someone younger than us picking up the following bit of fictional dialog and circulating it. Of course, students whose H.S. graduation, grade advancement and/or course grades are dependent on their state test scores should be strongly cautioned to seriously consider the consequences of the strategies implied in the dialog. They should discuss the possible ramifications with their parent(s) before ‘denying them the data’ by refusing to be tested, having their parents opt them out of the testing (in states that permit it) or just marking ‘D’ for each answer.

If this cadre could get 50% of all students at each school site to participate it would send a significant message to the ‘reformers’ to change their reliance on testing as the driver for classroom learning and use other methods for accountability and educational decisions.

Rog Lucido (lucid4@cvip.net)
Marion Brady (www.MarionBrady.com)
Send the dialog below far and wide:

“Hey, Hacker!”

“Hi, Bill.”
“The usual.”
“Oh? Who you messin’ with this time?”
“Not sure yet. Just thinkin’.”
“Tell me more?”
“Heard on the news this morning that a bunch of schools cheated on the big state test, the one we have to take next year.”
“So, I’d like to know how they knew somebody screwed around with the answers. How many funny scores does it take to trigger an investigation?”
“Why do you care?”

“Matter of principle. I hate those stupid tests. Hate non-stop test prep. Hate being a sheep. Hate being told by somebody somewhere that doesn’t know me what I’m supposed to know.”

“Yeah, I don’t like that either. Who gave them that right? But what can we do?”

“Well, I just Christmastree the bubbles—make the answer sheet look like Christmas tree lights.”    

“Yeah, that might explain why you don’t do so good. So?”
“So I’m trying to figure out how to bust the test without anybody gettin’ in trouble.”
“That possible?”
“I dunno. Maybe I’ll get a bunch of people to just mark the letter ‘D’ on the answer sheet.”

“Why D?”

“D. For ‘data.’ We were talkin’ about this in chem class the other day, and Mr. C has started calling us ‘data points.’ If everybody just bubbled in ‘D’s, they couldn’t rank us, which is all they’re doing anyway. ”

“The computer’d pick up the pattern in about a nanosecond and spit them all out.”
“Sure. But how many’d have to do that to make the average score useless and get the whole test dumped? And who’d get blamed?”
“Can’t answer the first question, but the second is easy. Everybody who bubbled  ‘D’ would get blamed.”
“Then what? They gonna handcuff us? Put us in jail? Throw us out of school? We followed the rules and took the test. What can they say?”

“I dunno.”
“Neither do I.”
“How about if everyone just wrote across the answer sheet, ‘I choose not to take this test’?”

“I like that. Flat stand on our rights, like Ghandi or King. But nah, some teacher’d see that, call the office, and the principal would be on the horn with a threat that'd scare most kids into doin’ what the mayor or governor or president or somebody says we have to do. No, it’d be better to ship the tests back to wherever they come from. Then, big surprise!”

“Lemme know. I got ten times more friends on Facebook than you. I’ll spread the word.”

-Created by Marion Brady with some input from Rog Lucido


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