Friday, June 26, 2015

Benchmarks and Broccoli

I recently received an email telling me that our school was going to be a pilot school for new ELA benchmarks from the school district.


I'm not the enemy of assessments. In fact, I give multiple formative assessments every day. They help me to know who understands the concept, and who is still struggling. Formative assessments guide my instruction. Those quick assessments plus my relationships with my kids fine tune my "teacher intuition". I know my kids! I know their strengths, and I know their weaknesses!

To hear about having to take more tests, frustrates me!  More mandated assessments take away precious time for authentic learning experiences.

There is a place for assessment. Technology makes it possible to get lots of data in fancy, colorful charts and graphs in real time. I admit to sometimes being mesmerized by the beautiful graphics. But can too much of a good thing be harmful?

More benchmark testing squeezed into our already overloaded schedule of tests is like broccoli. Broccoli is one of the most nutritious foods a person can eat. Are there any harmful effects? Google it. Turns out that there


 If your family history includes thyroid problems, you'll want to limit your intake of broccoli and avoid eating it raw. A class of compounds found in broccoli (thiocyanates) can contribute to goiter in at-risk individuals. Broccoli can also interfere with blood-thinning medicines that increase the risk of stroke. Too much broccoli can cause hyperoxaluria- an increase of urinary excretion of oxalate resulting in kidney stones. The most common side effect from eating too much broccoli is gas or bowel irritation. Gas caused by the high fiber content found in broccoli may cause people who eat too much to experience an increase of "tooting".

My point is that Moderation in All Things is Best!

Both assessment and broccoli are not bad. But the overeating, and the overuse of testing is a


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