“National Canine Latin Barking assessments” – Canadian version

I read Michael Doyle’s posts about the frustrations of the whole standardized hoop-jumping, I mean testing, situation with an odd sense of voyeurism. We just don’t have that kind of thing here…dare I say yet? In Ontario they do, maybe in other places in Canada, too. But Quebec is so involved in being unique that we have our own kettle of fish to conquer here in trying to balance uniform end of cycle examinations with individualized programming…

Though…this year I am working at a school whose school board is located in the US. Our students took Canadian Achievement Tests (CAT-4) this year, which are meant to be benchmark tests for the federal government. The powers that be at our central board decided to do PD around comparing results in different domains and then told teachers to look at the domains that scored higher and ask the teachers who taught those domains to share their secrets to success, so to speak. Suggesting that teachers who scored higher (that is the actual phrase she used) were more successful (better) teachers than those who scored lower.

That immediately raised my hackles. My domain, English Language Arts, scored the lowest. Given the logic of the recommendation given in our PD session, I should go speak with the Math teacher, whose domain scored the highest, for advice on how to raise our students abilities to score higher on timed standardized testing situations? Not to mention that our students took these tests in October at which time I had known them for approximately 4 weeks. And this situation was mirrored at different campuses in our school system.

The ire that shot through my system for just that moment was shocking to me. And I got a fleeting sense of what it would be like to live with this kind of reality on a day-to-day basis.

At the moment the Canadian version of the National Canine Latin Barking Assessments is contained to a few independent schools (at least in Quebec) but I fear it spreading. I really do. I don’t want to teach with an ounce of that bitter feeling I experienced when I heard the phrase, ‘teachers who scored higher on the tests’…

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