An earlier post described the excellent results obtained by the schools in the NYC Performance Standards Consortium, where standardized tests were replaced by performance assessments.
This teacher taught in one of these schools:
In fall 2008, I student taught at one of those schools, after a prior student teaching gig in one of the ‘small-school’, test-is-king high schools elsewhere in Manhattan. The difference is overwhelming. I am a history teacher, and we had the ability to teach thematically, and to assess based on performance on creative, innovative projects also deeply rooted in critical thinking skills. The kids responded in incredibly positive ways, and were producing some amazing work. If I could have gotten hired there, I would have in a heartbeat … But then Bloomburg instituted his hiring freeze (I landed at another fantastic school in Massachusetts, so no regrets). I have no doubt that schools like these are better serving the students of NYC, and I’m thrilled to hear that this might be expanding. I was raised on the Regents exam, and as a student I never worried about them or had problems excelling on them. But when I started teaching in NYC, I saw how much of a toll those tests took on more disadvantaged students, without any real measure of their intelligence or development in their study of history. To have more schools follow the model of performance assessments is a small step in the right direction for once.