September 2011

    Measures for Measures

    September 2011 Cover

    When the consequences of test failure are school closures or firings, and schools are denied the tools to give them a chance of success, it is hardly surprising to discover widespread abuse of the testing system.

    The cheating scandals which began in Atlanta and spread across the country are only the most blatant examples of what happens when testing goes too far. Strategies that boost scores without improving learning, like teaching to the test and encouraging low-scoring students to drop out, have become an entrenched part of educational administration. Such corruption, which undermines educational quality, is an inevitable consequence of the intense pressure that high-stakes testing puts on teachers and principals. The investigation into the Atlanta scandal found, “The targets set by the district were often unreasonable, especially given their cumulative effect over the years. Additionally, the administration put unreasonable pressure on teachers and principals to achieve targets… Ultimately, the data and meeting ‘targets’ by whatever means necessary, became more important than true academic progress.” more


    Tests as Tools for Learning
    Aned Muñiz Gracia offers examples to show how teachers can use simple tests to improve learning experiences

    Using Tests to Target Learning
    How Sweetwater Union High School District implemented CTB/McGraw-Hill’s LAS Links in its English Language Development

    Overtaking Age with Desire
    Clay Williams challenges the widely-accepted theory that the acquisition of second-language fluency is dependent on learning during the pre-adolescent “critical period”

    Nashville Struggling to Educate Minorities
    J’Nisha Towne on how demographics are shaping policy

    Multiple Choices
    Language Magazine’s look at the latest in testing

    Talking In Your Sleep
    William Stimson sees a role for dreams in second language acquisition

    Europe’s Powerhaus
    Daniel Ward thinks a German immersion program makes more than economic sense

    Hotspots for Teaching English
    Nicholas Ferdinandt provides a snapshot of the current job market for teachers of English as a Foreign Language

    Funds to Document Endangered Languages

    Stephen Krashen on the bogus argument for testing

    Last Writes
    Richard Lederer with more Good Words