> I don't buy it for a minute.  My husband
> has worked for these companies, and they do test prep,not education.  In my job
> I have seen that nationally normed short-answer tests in reading and writing do
> not accurately reflect actual reading nd writing ability at the developing
> levels.  They reflect social class, and they are far too blunt an instrument to
> be used for the kinds of benchmarking assessment and curriculum development we
> need to provide true, ongoing access for students to increasingly advanced
> levels of learning.  In short, increasing their reading test scores does not
> help them to read in authentic situations.  My favorite line about these tests
> (I wish I'd said this) is that you might as well ask the students how many
> bathrooms in their houses and save all that paper--the results are the same.

I think that this comes down to the difference between education and
training.  You can "train" someone to do a task, but that is not
education.  In one of my lives I worked at a computer "training" institute
and that is exactly what we did, trained people to use various computer
programs and function in an office environment.  I had always worked in an
educational institution prior to that, and despite the flaws in our
system, we are still "educating".  There is a vast difference.  How true
it is that increasing reading test scores does not improve reading
ability.  I know the debate rages, but reading is a set of very complex
subskills, not all of which can be taught in a formulaic fashion.

> As compared to what?  To the authentic integration of literacy-based teaching
> in each and everu college classroom--to basic instruction in academic
> literacies that allows students access to the broad and deep uses in their own
> lives of the linguistic strategies they are learning to employ--not a set of
> test questions that are purposely decontextualized to increase the chance of a
> wrong guess.

I can remember many years ago when I was teaching in the K-12 system at
the high school level, and we had a PD day on "Every teacher is a teacher
of reading" (I would now amend that to literacy).  I am ambarrassed to
admit that at that time I could not see the value of such a series of
workshops.  Now that I am in the field of adult literacy and reading, I
really think that every college instructor and high school teacher should
be made aware of and understand how they are literacy instructors in their
particular area of expertise.  It is not just a case of regurgitating the
subject matter.  Hopefully the enlightened are leading the way.

x Bev Krieger                     x
x Kwantlen University College     x
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