(PRWEB via PR Web Direct) July 12, 2005 -- Most people see teachers as being smart and able to answer the toughest questions. But seven-year- teaching veteran Debra Craig discovered this isn't always the case. While she may know how to multiply fractions and knows who wrote the Constitution, she was at a loss in explaining why public schools do some of the things they do.
“ Even though summer vacations are upon us and the last thing most children are thinking about is school, soon parents will be receiving notification from their school district's just how well their child performed on the state assessment from the previous ”
For example, when time is in short supply in schools, why are some state tests given four to six weeks before the end of the school
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year? Why does the government compare one set of students with a completely different set of students and expect growth? Why do they want parents to think that state assessment tests really tell them how much their child knows when in fact, they don't?
Debra's book “Why Is the Teacher's Butt So Big? Plus 111 Other Mysteries of Public Education" looks at these issues and more. It will be available to the public on September 3, 2005, at Amazon.com. A free advance copy is available to the media by contacting Debra.
One of the goals of her book is to help parents explain what state testing really represents and she feels now is the time to do it. “Even though summer vacations are upon us and the last thing most children are thinking about is school, soon parents will be receiving notification from their school district's just how well their child performed on the state assessment from the previous school year,” Debra explains.
Most parents want to see and expect their child to have performed at least at the “proficient” level, and ideally, even at the “advanced” level. But the reality is, many students won't. Many bright children might just have scored in the “basic” range. Should the parents be alarmed? Did the school “fail” in teaching the students what they needed to know?
Debra wants to assure parents all across America, not to take their child's state test scores too seriously. While the government wants parents to believe that these tests are the definitive answer on how smart your child is or how good the teacher was, in reality, this tests don't mean this at all. “What these tests really show,” comments Debra “is how well the child did on that particular test.”
She goes onto explain that depending on what kind of test their state gives, your child might not have even been taught the information because often questions are asked that are not even in the school district's state-adopted textbooks.
“In California, my fifth graders are tested in science and there were questions on their test dealing with things like decomposers and Mohs Scale of Hardness. However, neither topic was even discussed in our fifth grade science book. How can students do well on a test when the teacher can't teach them what's on the test when the information isn't in their text book and the teacher doesn't have access to the questions on the test?”
This seven-year teaching veteran says the reason this happens is because many state's use “norm-referenced based tests,” or tests that might not correspond exactly with what the student was expected to learn
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, but is based on a general body of information. Norm-referenced based, by their very nature, are also designed that not all students will pass the test. Some students will pass, and some students will fail. “How then are we not going to “leave children behind” if the test that determines this is designed so that some students must fail?” Debra asks.
Debra would be happy to discuss with editors or producers in more depth her research on why parents shouldn't put too much credibility in state assessments. Please contact her at the phone number below for more information.
About Debra Craig:
Debra Craig is a fifth-grade teacher at Hendrick Ranch Elementary School in Moreno Valley, California, a community of 165,000 people located 60 miles east of Los Angeles. She has been a teacher for eight years and her first book, “Why Is the Teacher's Butt So Big? Plus 111 Other Mysteries of Public Education
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” (A.T. Publishing, New York) will be out September 3, 2005.
Members of the media may request a free advance copy of the book which will be available July 22. Just email or call Debra Craig at the contact information at the top of the page.