Friday, May 13, 2011

CMS testing: Shhh ....

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher passes along this story about administering one of the new CMS exams to a first-grader. The new tests require the teachers to read questions aloud and record the children's answers.

Teacher: "Name a place where you might find ... (type of landform)."

Student: "Name a place?"

Teacher: "Yes. Name a place where you might find...."

Student: "Name it?"

Teacher: "Yes."

Student: "Uh...I would name it...Brianna."

It's a cute story, and you might wonder why I'm not naming the teacher who shared it -- or for that matter, why the question itself is related in such a vague manner.

If you're a teacher or parent who's been involved in the new testing, you know the answer: Testing security.

And it's no laughing matter. "The team of teachers and assistants who are administrating the test were informed that any information that is leaked to the outside would result in the loss of our teaching licenses," one teacher wrote.
Here's the dilemma: CMS has created 52 new tests (with more to come next year) as part of its quest to size up teacher effectiveness. With the stakes so high, officials don't want the questions circulating, for fear some teachers could prep kids on specific items.

But a significant number of educators and parents say the tests are deeply flawed, if not worthless. It's important for the public -- and the taxpayers footing the bill for new exams -- to know if they're right. So ... how do we have a good discussion about the validity of the tests if the tests are secret? And how do teachers weigh in if they're afraid they'll be accused of unethical conduct and potentially lose their jobs?

If you have first-hand knowledge of how this is playing out in schools, let me know. And I'll try to find out more about how CMS plans to rebuild confidence and answer questions as the district moves ahead with a testing/performance pay plan that even the biggest boosters say has hit a rocky stretch.


Anonymous said...

What happened to the "urban school" blog that was posted yesterday?

Ann Doss Helms said... had a massive crash. According to their status report, they eventually took down all blogs posted yesterday so they could revive the system. They say the blogs will reappear "soon," whatever that means.

Pamela Grundy said...

For this very reason, I asked to look at the 4th and 8th grade social studies tests. This is my field of expertise -- I wrote an eighth grade N.C. history text that is used in a number of districts around the state. After hearing stories about the test quality, I wanted to be able to judge it for myself. I was told that parents were not allowed to see the tests because of "security concerns." We as parents are being asked to entrust the fates of our children and their teachers to a system that is shrouded in secrecy, is based on demonstrably unreliable calculations, and has been shown time and again to have no positive effect on student achievement. "Failure of communication?" I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Ann, Eric, you have to understand, the testing-and-data folks don't want the teachers' input or opinions. Those opinions are worth even less than the public's opinions, and that ain't much. Teachers are just supposed to do their jobs, which are quickly devolving into proctoring tests. I've asked my wife, more than once, not to make herself into a target by speaking truth to power.

Ann Doss Helms said...

The "urban" post has reappeared, sans comments. I hope they will eventually reappear, too. I never think about how much I rely on the magic Internet elves to do my job until they go AWOL!

Anonymous said...


So it’s OK to spend weeks spoon feeding students the EOG and EOC answers but it is not OK to spoon feed the answers for the test that determine if teachers are doing the job. Who’s kidding whom?

The teachers will forfeit their licenses for revealing the CMS test questions but will be rewarded for doing the same thing with the NCDPI test.

Did I sum-up the problem correctly?

Bolyn McClung

Ann Doss Helms said...

Bolyn, I'm not sure about that. I don't think teachers have advance access to questions that will be on current EOC/EOG tests. If I recall correctly, NC kind of dragged its heels about even releasing sample questions that were out of circulation.

I think the issue with CMS tests is that many of the items on the field/pilot exams will be picked up for the real ones in the future. But what I don't understand is this: The teachers have already seen the items while administering this year's tests. So I'm not quite clear on why it's harmful to talk about them publicly.

part-time teacher said...

Do away with teaching licenses and this won't be a problem. TFA teachers aren't licensed, are they? How are they going to threaten the TFAs?

Anonymous said...

I understand your point. The NCDPI is proud that they change their test regularly: the teachers don't have the answers.

I went overboard to make a point. The testing methods between the two are so different that there can be little correlation between the "summatives" and the EOC/EOGs.

This might well explain why Dr. Gorman isn't happy with the testing that shows the GAP is closing. If CMS were to give EOCs and EOGs like these data point gathering test, he'd have a different idea of where the heck that GAP is. Maybe that's one of the points of these new test?

part-time teacher said...

Here's an interesting comment from Trent Merchant from the Bill James e-mail battle: "...where your constituents will lose 2/3 of the elementary teaching assistants, many of whom have masters degrees, who have all the qualifications to be teachers except for formal certification..."

Teacher have long used licensure/certification to protect their turf, even if they are incompetent. Now it's being used against them. Open the doors. Licensure discriminates against those who have to work for a living, because people can't afford to 'student teach' for a semester. We have to work.

Anonymous said...

Ann, THIS qoute is the best you got??????????????????
Here's the dilemma: CMS has created 52 new tests (with more to come next year) as part of its quest to size up teacher effectiveness. With the stakes so high, officials don't want the questions circulating, for fear some teachers could prep kids on specific items.

Seriously? Here's the dilema.......that is far from the dilema. The dilema is that the people downtown are not organized and have absolutely NO IDEA about the amount of test documents that will come steam rolling in over the next 3 weeks. THE DILEMA is that when they realize they can not handle the sheer volume of paperwork and test documents, that all the results will not even be good indicators of actual student knowledge. HERE IS ANOTHER DILEMA... WHEN A CHILD KNOWS AN ASSESSMENT DOES NOT COUNT AS A GRADE (and believe it or not in many cases when it does count as a grade) they will put little to NO effort into it. They will bubble dots that make a scan sheet look like a Christmas Tree......or darken the dots / bubbles so it says some word or name. This is just COMICAL. The reality of all of this is that the very people creating this process and the actual procedures for the test have not set foot in a class room let alone a school in probably 5 years. .............WOW Here is the Dilema? Ann I expect better from you and your staff.

Anonymous said...

HERE ARE SOME ACTUAL QUESTIONS that may add to the "DILEMA"?????

1st Grade:
1. In January you are shopping in a store and see a Ball and a Coat. Which of these is a want and which is a need?
- now if you lived in CLT this year the answer is obvious but what about someone who lived in Florida?

2. Which Holiday do we honor people who have served our country in the military?
- Veterans Day (Memorial day too)

I mean really.......... knowing the answer to these questions or for that fact knowing these questions POSES NO DILEMA. It is what a First Grade Teacher teaches. However, a poorly written question like number 1 leaves too many variables to come into play. If we paid a private firm to develop this gruel we should get a refund. The fact that someones pay may be linked to the assessment of my 7 year olds creative and adventurous mind is fundamentall wrong and it also means that my 7 year olds creative mind will be thwarted by an otherwise creative educator. GORMAN YOU MAY BE MOTIVATED BY PAY, but we as teachers and in some cases teachers and parents ARE NOT!

Anonymous said...

Ah, the adjunct life for you. There were more than a few TFA's just released in this batch plus all the former TFA's that disappeared this year. Evidently that out of field training did wonders in their evaporation from Pete's smoke and mirrors education manifesto. I trust your next MRI is by an unlicensed, untrained part-timer hoping to acquire a living wage. Pam, the security issue is capital needed to float Measurement, Inc.'s latest Mondo Condo project.

Anonymous said...

After giving Summatives for many days, I will say these test developers must have never met a child. When you use words like "satisfy," and "natural resource" with a five or six year old...come on...About 20% of the questions are valid, but come on people...ten random and isolated way out of left field questions to see if a teacher is effectively teaching Literacy for the year...test booklets with two questions (the rest read aloud)...last time I checked it costs about .11 to copy one page at the office store. Teachers have less access to EOGs than these (unless you are in a group with modifications), but these questions were either laughably easy or way too hard...and extremely random!

therestofthestory said...

Curious about teachers and students not seeing the tests before taking the test when it means something. Harlem Achievement Zone 3rd graders have see their end of year 3rd grade test 3 times before they have to take it for the score.

part-time teacher said...

To anon 7:27: I can't get an MRI because I don't have health insurance as an adjunct teaching 13 courses per year. If I could get one from someone for less than 2K, I'd probably do it as long as they had a Masters in their field.

Anonymous said...

Ann, When will we see the number of non-classroom positions that are the subject of lay-offs? When will we see how each school and its teachers are being targeted by lay-offs. It is so frustrating when you are a parent to think of the jobs that could be saved if we got rid of these ridiculous tests. We have not even been told what day our first grader will be tested - if I knew I would keep her home that day so that we could do something valuable rather than wasting her time.

Anonymous said...

When oh when will the Peter Gorman experiment end? Will it take Mr. Gates or Road to promote him to a national power position. Common sense has now been replaced with this hope and change driven nonsense. Time for this bad CMS dream to end, and take Trent Merchant & Coach White with you

Anonymous said...

Teachers have been able to see the K-2 tests for a few days can I be assured that teachers have not been coaching their students? How can I be assured that test administrators are being truthful with the scoring of the tests? I know that teachers are expected to be professional, but once our pay becomes linked to these tests...I'm sure that teachers might do things they normally wouldn't. There is no way these tests can be considered reliable and valid.

Anonymous said...

Why cant parents have at least a say in a teacher's performance? I have had a terrible year with teachers in 2nd grade- not poor teaching but poor ethics and behavior IE hitting a child in the head with a pencil for not paying attention??? Showing your students your new belly ring (and being well over 40 makes it worse). How do I know that my comments make a difference?

Anonymous said...

Gorman trusts Gorman, and his yes-men (although Avosa let him down). And of course his Broad buddies.
He doesn't trust or care about anyone else's opinion, including his Board. And why should he? No majority on that Board is going to stop him, or hold him accountable, or even slow him down. THEY NEVER HAVE.
In a Gorman world, you get a choice every time a Board member is elected. And that's the only one you'll get until Gorman leaves.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who is an ESL teacher. She told me this week that she has not taught ANYTHING from her curriculum since January due to all the testing and test prep she has been required to do. (She has pulled from her classes to administer WIDA-ACCESS tests, field tests, EXTEND 2 EOGs,and summatives). She had to procotor with the counselor to test one kid who couldn't read the passages and just marked the answers. This system is out-of-control. Can't wait until my kids are out of here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:04 Don't forget to save room for Rhonda and Eric.

Anonymous said...

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Albert Einstein

Anonymous said...

Have you considered doing an article on how colleges/universities react to TFA getting jobs before certified teachers AND their reactions to 'masters degrees don't matter'?

Both of these ideas would certainly hurt them.

Wiley Coyote said...

Pam Grundy said:

We as parents are being asked to entrust the fates of our children and their teachers to a system that is shrouded in secrecy, is based on demonstrably unreliable calculations, and has been shown time and again to have no positive effect on student achievement.

Congratulations Pam. You've just agreed with the position I have had with public education for the past 40 years.

And we wonder why people move out of the county or put their kids into private schools.

Nothing has changed....

Ann Doss Helms said...

On positions abolished: We normally wait until July to get lists of names and analyze where they came from, because by the the dust has more or less settled. I think if we got non-classroom numbers right now, it would look higher than reality, because there are some areas where everyone got pink slips but they can apply for a reduced/redefined number of jobs.

There are some good questions afloat about the location and type of school layoffs. Eric and I will be trying to track that as time is available.

Anonymous said...

Re: the disappearing Urban blog;


living in a place where the president of the United States, mayor and mayor pro-tem (that would be Charlotte) have their children enrolled in swanky private schools because "this decision is a highly personal family matter" while championing the cause and the value of public schools in an effort to pander for votes from parents who have their children enrolled in public schools.

"Yes, we wholeheartedly support public education - as long as our own children aren't subjected to it. Please cast your vote for me!".

Anonymous said...

Lucky me, my oldest child attended CMS for 6 years and private school for 7 years.

Bring out the fires squads from all sides!

One of my biggest regrets about moving to Charlotte in 1992?

Certainly not moving to Charlotte where housing is still relatively affordable, the quality of life in generally good, where cultural opportunities have made great strides, the geographic location is ideal (beach and/or mountains), people are generally civil towards each other, where quality state universities abound at relatively affordable costs, where my family and I have made friends and feel like part of a unique and thriving community.

No, my biggest regret is not thoroughly researching the complexities, instability, lack of continuity and ongoing political squabbles of K-12 public education in Charlotte between 1992 - 2011 which well preceded our decision to move here. Going to taxpayer supported public schools in a banking headquartered town where plenty of wealth exists and where the next Democratic National Convention will be held shouldn't be this hard.

I'm worn-out but delighted to have my children finally crossing and soon-to-be crossing the finish line of K-12 educational experiences here in Charlotte.

I look forward to seeing lovely Charlotte Observer photo-opts of Michelle Obama hugging cute little kids while reading nice little stories at Shamrock Gardens Elementary while she and her husband are here - keeping in mind their two little princesses attend a private school more than twice the cost of Charlotte Latin, "due to safety reasons and the fact deciding where to send your children to school should be a highly personal family decision and NOT a matter left up to politicians like Coach White".

Wiley Coyote said...

I'm no fan of Obama but he is President and with it comes all sorts of security issues for he and his family.

At least the man had the guts to publically state DC schools were not up to par for his daughter to attend.

...Obama made his comments on NBC's "Today" show in response to a woman who asked whether Malia and Sasha Obama "would get the same kind of education at a D.C. public school" that they would get at the D.C. private school that has educated generations of the city's elite.

"I'll be blunt with you: The answer is no, right now," Obama said. D.C. public schools "are struggling," he said, but they "have made some important strides over the last several years to move in the direction of reform. There are some terrific individual schools in the D.C. system."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:28 hit the nail on the head--putting your children in public school in this town should not be so hard. We found the same situation when we moved here in 1994.
We had never lived in a city before where our kids did not automatically go to the nearest school, so like you, we did not really research things--just assumed going to school would be easy since always had been in other communities. Nor had we ever lived anywhere that the school system was so political.
Things did change for the better for many (not all) in the early 2000s, and many who have moved here over the past ten years may assume that their neighborhood assignment is secure. But really, that may well depend on the upcoming school board election. Richard McElrath made his position on assignment perfectly clear Tuesday night. I suspect there are at least 2 other board members who agree with him. Moral--beware of who you vote for come November. Testing isn't the only issue on the table.

Anonymous said...

I'll finish that headline for you.

Pamela Grundy said...

There are families at Shamrock Gardens who could afford private school, but who stay at Shamrock because it's a terrific public school. It takes a lot of work to keep it that way, but it's been worth every minute. We'd be proud to show Mrs. Obama what hard work and caring can accomplish.

Wiley, the difference between your position and mine is that genuine desegregation did and does have a positive effect on students. Shamrock is an example of that, and there is plenty of scholarly evidence showing the positive effects of desegregation (as opposed to standardized testing). You can cite all the offhand anecdotes you want, but the scholarship is quite clear.

Anonymous said...

Pam, In what way do you consider Shamrock "desegregated"? You have commented frequently on this blog about lack of upper middle class students from your neighborhood attending the school.
The state report card from last year lists only 10 tests taken by non-economically deprived students, with 168 by ED students. Likewise only 13 tests are listed for white children,out of 178 tests taken. Unless the school demographics changed drastically for 2010-2011 I don't see how you can claim it is "desegregated" or how there can be many parents there who could afford to send their kids to private schools.
I admire what you have done for Shamrock, but appears to me that the school is succeeding despite being not having many white or middle class children.

part-time teacher said...

I teach at CPCC. I make less than 20K a year. I have no health insurance. Please help me. I give all my students A's because I'm afraid they won't renew my semester-long contract if I don't. Seriously, my teeth need fixing bad. I know all this testing in CMS sucks, but what about all the higher education folks who are on food stamps and/or don't have health insurance? Most of these CMS kids will start their undergraduate careers in community colleges, where they might be taught by somebody like me, who can't go to the doctor. Please look outside the box of CMS.

Wiley Coyote said...


The answer to the question is NOT desegregation. Desegregation ended decades ago, regardless of whether you want to try and make the case it hasn't.

You cannot force people to live where you want them to live and because of that fact, there are and will be schools that are a majority one way or the other with some schools inbetween.

To suggest that desegregation is the only way to "have a positive effect" on kids is a prime example of WHY public schools have and continue to fail.

The all Black high school I was zoned to back in 1970 never got the message because most Whites moved out of the area and today, 40years later, the school is still 99.5% Black, with almost 1,000 students.

So I guess to use your argument, the students attending this school all that time had no positive effect on their lives because few Whites were enrolled.

You know, 2+2=4 in a school that is in the inner city or in the suburbs or whether the school is 100% Black or 100% White.

Because educators and politicians can't get past that simple fact is the reason public education continues to be mired in political postering and rhetoric.

By the way, I wouldn't call Shamrock Gardens "desegregated" since out of the 369 students, only 23 are White.

Wiley Coyote said...


I notice my last post was deleted.

I'm wondering what could have possibly been in it that would warrant that.

It was post #36, it was there and now it is gone.

Wiley Coyote said...


Out of 369 students at Shamrock Gardens, only about 23 are White.

Is that "genuine desegregation" in your view? Just curious.

The all Black high school I was zoned to in 1970 never really achieved integration, although technically it was "desegregated", because most Whites either moved out of the area or put their kids in private schools.

Today, that same high school is 99.5% Black, with 4 Whites enrolled.

To use your analogy, I guess these kids today and for the past 40 years haven't experienced a "positive effect", since the school has remained largely not integrated.

Anonymous said...

From Pam's blog, March 2010:
"And despite the advances the civil rights movement has brought us, Shamrock itself remains largely segregated, separate from the well-off, predominantly white neighborhoods that surround it, most of whose children leave the area each morning to go to other schools. As best as I can tell, most of the kids at Shamrock have limited contact with whites, beyond those mysterious (and much-beloved) adults who are their teachers.
I don't know if this kind of segregation affects the way that Shamrock's students see white people. But I do know that it affects me. Our neighborhood is now full of young white couples, and of light-skinned children perched in strollers, riding bikes, dashing wildly down the streets. As I ride my own bike, or labor in my garden, I see them through the lens of segregation. All I know – or really care to know – about them is that they will never pass the threshold of our school."

therestofthestory said...

Might i offer this perspective. Inegration, desegregation, etc. have different meanings between west side Charlotte and east side charlotte and probably just a bit down South Boulevard. West Charlotte has a whole different attitude about what is civil society and how they treat white people show up in West Charlotte.

Bottom line Pam and Wylie, it is not the same on these two much different sides of town.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 11:20...

I've read that before....

As I have stated, you can't force people to live in a certain area and where they do live, you can't force them to attend the schools in their zone if they choose private schools.

Pam made the CHOICE to send her son to SG, which doesn't matter to me one way or the other. It's her choice.

Perhaps her neighbors are looking at the big picture and where their kids will go to school beyond the elementary level or perhaps stability means more to them than whether their child sits next to another child of a different ethnic group.

It's interesting that with the end of busing in Charlotte 10 years ago, White enrollment has actually dropped to about 33%, down from 50% in 2001.

The problems facing CMS are overspending, politicization of every aspect of the system, inept leadership, distrust and most of all, instability.

When people move to Mecklenburg County with the school system as a major factor in their decision or people who currently live here start pulling their kids out of private schools en masse and enrolling them into CMS, then we'll know they have finally gotten it right.

Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Lay-off notices for non-teacher positions went out Thursday or Friday, depending on the principal. Those jobs end June 14, the last day we work.

It's really awkward praying that you aren't the one to get cut and feeling awful for your colleague who did. Why couldn't they have at least waited until the state legislature finalized their budget to go with the worst-case scenario?

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the "urban" blog back up - minus all it's original comments!

Is it something someone said?

Anonymous said...

It is also really sad that if CMS gets more money, the folks who were cut will not even be able to return to their orignial schools. If you were fortunate enough to get picked by another principal (who did not even get to meet or talk to you), you are obligated to stay there. So, even if more money is obtained, you are still being shuffled around...which is better than no job, but still sad.

Anonymous said...

Re differing views on "segregation". I don't know about views on the west side versus the east side, but I do think that many in the north and south of the county are often perplexed by the claims that our schools are "as segregated now as they were in the 60's". You just have to look around neighborhoods and in the schools to see that demographics are no where near the same as they were in the '60s. Yes, whites are often still in the majority in suburban neighborhoods, especially the farther out ones. But no one is barring the door to the school or the entrance to the neighborhood against any ethnic group.
The thing that I find most interesting about Pam's sudden claim that Shamrock's success is owed to "genuine desegregation" is that she apparently now believes that those 23 white kids have had the power to help raise the scores of the 300 and some odd some other kids at the school.

Anonymous said...

Why is mayor Fox getting voted in when he is being such a hypocrite about public schools?

Anonymous said...

But remember, it's all for the children! Our elementary students will start testing tomorrow and between retakes and the new CMS summative assessments should be done around the last day of school. It's gotten completely out of hand. It's not right that an 11 year old needs to learn stress reducing strategies. I HATE this time of the year!! I became a teacher because I wanted to teach. With this constant testing, I can't. It is so incredibly frustrating. I am so sick of the more with less emails from Gorman. I'd like to see him try to work in the situations that he has put many of the teachers and students in the system in. But we do still have CMS TV and the tests, so I guess I'm just whining about nothing...

Wiley Coyote said...

It's obvious CMS has never heard the term "K.I.S.S. method"...

Anonymous said...

Anthony Foxx at Country Day;

The former head of the Carolina Panthers, the Curry's, Fantasia, the president of Queens College, Charlotte's mayor pro-tem, are only a few of the the prominent families in Charlotte who have opted out of CMS. The list of prominent families in Charlotte who have chosen to send their children to private schools in favor of CMS would be quite long.

Of course, there are plenty of prominent Charlotte families who do have their children enrolled in CMS although I question how many in this category have had their children enrolled K-12 without the benefit of some private schooling along the way. In this category, the list of CMS's 178 schools these families are willing to send their children to is quite short. Can you say Myers Park IB, Providence High, Ardrey Kell, Myers Park Traditional, Ballantyne Elementary, South Charlotte M.S., Perhaps Smith (now Waddell) Language Academy, and maybe a handful of others?

My unscientific guess is there are no more than 10% of all CMS schools prominate Charlotte families would willingly send their children to.

My sibling lives in a state in a middle-upper middle class town where there are no private schools and everyone sends their children to their neighborhood school (I know, what a concept). The wealth that exist in Charlotte doesn't exist in the town they live in. Yet, their daughter's recent self supporting middle school musical cost $35,000 to produce with no one batting an eyelash with ticket sales and donations covering all expenses. The musical was accompanied by a full volunteer orchestra to boot. (OK, which helps if you live not too far from the Eastman school of Music).

I know, public school Nirvana (but with higher taxes).

Of course, with CMS being categorized as an "Urban" school system, we doesn't have to worry about being compared or measured against a school system like the one mentioned above. We can award ourselves "world-class" distinction in our division which is comparing CMS to public schools located in Detroit.

Anonymous said...

"we' don't have to worry"

How about measuring CMS against some of the best suburban, rural and private schools across the nation? Why is this information never available or published as ribbons fly, CO commentary congratulates and political speeches abound touting our wonderful "urban" school system?

Anonymous said...

One of the first things we noticed when we moved here in the early 90's was that many "prominent" families did not have their children in CMS, although everyone, including those folks, were staunchly supportive of the race based assignment plan. I know those prominent families were in the private schools because we put our rising sophomore in one of the big 3 private schools. This totally went against our grain, since our previous public school experience (both with our children and for ourselves) had been much as anon 9:01 described.However, we did not want sophomore son to have to deal with reassignment after moving as a sophomore and we knew that was a very real possibility (reassignment hearings for our part of town started almost immediately after we moved in). Our younger child did attend CMS and was bused for grades 4-6. I was only in 2002 that we finally felt confident he would be able to complete his education in the high school close to our home.
Yes, yes, I know all about West Charlotte and the wealthy who attended there. But that was already starting to unravel (happened well before busing ended).
Two things perplexed me about Charlotte--1: suburban schools were often described as "public private schools". Why would you denigrate well performing schools with (mainly) well behaved students who worked hard? Why weren't those schools held up as the ideal rather than implying that somehow these schools and students magically and unfairly performed well. And 2: Who convinced Charlotteans that a massive school system, serving extremely diverse populations, funded and governed by highly partisan politicians was the most effective way to educate our children (and who decided that it was cool for everyone's education to be labeled "urban"--happened long before Peter Gorman arrived).

Ann Doss Helms said...

The comments that disappeared from the "urban" blog appear to be related to the crash; same thing happened with the original Merchant/James email item I posted on Paper Trail. Blog restored, comments gone. Stinks, but not something I can fix.

Wiley, your comment just got spam-filtered. I've restored it.

Anonymous said...

Well stated. Or, the tragedy of moving to Charlotte during the early to mid 1990's, like my family, who never dreamed or imagined they would find themselves considering enrolling their children in private school.

- 9:01

Anonymous said...

I am a first grade teacher in CMS. Despite Dr. Gorman's assertion that all teachers would test their own students, I have not tested any of mine. Teaching assisntants, ESL and EC teachers, and facilitators tested all students - at the end of the day, during specials, in a group setting. Never mind not understanding questions, what about not understanding the test administrator's accent? This after a week of DIBELS testing. I no longer have time to teach - just go from test to test.

Anonymous said...

I can fully understand the frustration the public has with CMS. CMS has/had some of the best teachers in the state of NC..this is a fact! However, for the last three years more and more excellent highly effective teachers have been let go. Those that remain have their hands tied behind their backs. This week, once again, we are seeing great teachers we depend on being removed. As a dedicated CMS teacher of 18yrs., I watch in disbelief how uniformed the public is blaming teachers for everything. I watch how CMS has the audacity to ask for more money every year for the schools only to fire more great teachers and hire more downtown administrators. I tell you what, “there is more than one way to skin a cat”! Teachers reading this, continue doing an excellent job at instructing, but stop spending your own money in your classroom and watch the dominos fall!

Anonymous said...

way back in 2001, I proctored a 7th grade writing assessment in CMS. The prompt involved defending or choosing not to support putting endangered species in a zoo. All the students dutifully wrote their essays and the test ended. After the test, one student asked me if I had ever been to a zoo. She hadn't and hoped her imagined details were correct. Teachers are encouraged to use differentiated instruction, to take a student's prior knowledge and skills into account, to give multiple opportunities for success, follow individual plans, etc., and then present their students with a one-shot standardized test. In teacher education programs, standardized testing is presented as a flawed, skewed, and biased necessary evil. Then, we worship the testing gods as soon as we are employed. In the current CMS testing environment, the children in the room cannot be indiviuals capable of wonderful unique achievement for the teacher; rather, they must be a potential 3 or 4; or a potential reason for the teacher to be fired. Teachers cannot control home life, motivation, or student vindictiveness. Students in CMS are smart. They know if they make Christmas Trees on the scantron, they have sandbagged the teacher's career, but will be able to re-take the test and suffer no consequences themselves. I've seen them do it. Students who are worried they are pregnant, may become homeless that night, may get beaten, or who are just interested in who's parents will be out of town for a party weekend will not do their best on a standardized test. Students who KNOW and have PROVED their knowledge on classroom assignments, but who are paralyzed with test anxiety after being educated in this environment will never do as well as they could on THE TEST. The portfolio option given to some EC students is a MUCH better option, and go figure, it can be used to ACCURATELY demonstrate progress, mastery of concepts, and student growth. Unfortunately, it takes longer to evaluate and will never be implemented.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:49 5/16, I was under the impression that certified teachers had to give the test, not teacher assistants. At our school, teachers are not testing their own students either. I am a TA and for three weeks in a row, all I am doing is proctoring, DIBELS, and covering primary grade classes so they can test other teacher's students. This is CRAZY!