How Can We Test Better?

All or nothing, good vs. evil, black or white thinking is rarely useful or accurate. No surprise when that’s true of testing. While of testing I might say, in the immortal words of Marianne Moore, that I, too, dislike it, I don’t dislike all of it all of the time. Some testing is necessary. We don’t […]

The Big Idea, or Focus, Cross-Referenced to Basic Rules of Item Writing

What comes before preparation is intention, which we previously discussed here. Still, the concept of the Big Idea bears further exploration.Let’s consider how we might approach this grade 4 standard from the CCSS, RL.4.2: Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text. This standard is passage-dependent; […]

File Under: The Law of Unintended Consequences, Cross-Referenced to Undesirable Outcomes

From the National Bureau of Economic Research, hat tip to Inside Higher Ed, an indication that overtesting is a no bueno.Ian Fillmore and Devin G. Pope of the University of Chicago studied student performance on the AP exam and found: . . . strong evidence that a shorter amount of time between exams is associated […]

Pass the Pineapple

This, from Jo Perry, the beginning of a discussion about the larger context for the sleeveless talking pineapple: An American child could go to a public school run by Pearson, studying from books produced by Pearson, while his or her progress is evaluated by Pearson standardized tests. The only public participant in the show would […]

Start Where You Are

The first time my second daughter began to read To Kill a Mockingbird, she gave up within ten pages. She was in the fifth grade. The reading was so difficult that she got no pleasure from it. When she read it last year, in the 7th grade, she loved it. When we started the homeschooling, […]