Thursday, March 28, 2013

MCAS is a sinking ship of fail.

I hate MCAS. 

We know this. It’s not a secret. I complain quite frequently about it. MCAS is a soul-sucking, creativity-killing, beaurocracy-driven, logistically despicable waste of valuable learning time. I understand why tests need to happen. I don’t understand why we can’t figure out a faster way to revise the testing process to make it more accurate and meaningful. 

Thirteen years ago, the sophomores sat down to take 10th grade MCAS for the first time (officially, anyway, because previous years served as guinea pigs). Thirteen years later, we finally have a new set of learning standards, but we’re scrambling to create a better test to assess these new standards. Thirteen years of stupidly-worded questions, boring, repetitive analysis, and hours of missed learning time later, we’re TRYING to make a new test. 

THIRTEEN YEARS. Why can’t it happen faster? What’s with the slow turnaround? While we were wasting time on a dumb test that doesn’t measure anything worth knowing, THIRTEEN YEARS worth of kids grew up and graduated or didn’t but it doesn’t really matter because we can’t help them now. Thirteen years worth of students think open response is a genre and multiple choice is a way of life. Thirteen years worth of students missed God knows how many hours of learning time that was spent prepping for or taking a dumb test. 

What took so damn long? When a ship is sinking, you jump ship and try to swim to shore. You escape in a lifeboat. You shoot off flares. You do anything, really, as long as you’re doing SOMETHING. You don’t stay on the sinking ship until it hits the ocean floor, just to make sure it’s really sinking, just to make sure there’s no hope. 

So here’s a radical idea: What do you say we try not to drown from now on?

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