THE EVOLUTION OF ACADEMIC EVALUATION ASSESSMENT

OR: WHAT THE HECK HAS HAPPENED TO THE REPORT CARD?


All right.  This one surprised me.  But then it’s been a long time since I’ve been ensconced in an academic environment and I had no idea just how much things have “evolved.”  See if you can guess where the following evaluation questions come from:

“Compare and contrast the lives of early civilizations (Mayan, Inca and Aztec). Understand the location, culture, religion and scientific advances of each society.”

From a freshman college course in Ancient Latin American Societies?  Ummmmm….. Not exactly.  In fact, not even close. But here’s another one:

“Understand the global presence of art and its cultural and historical importance.”  

A PhD candidates’ art history dissertation topic?  Nah.  But it was a good guess.  Try the next one.

“Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.”  

Okay, no, this is not from some Master of Business Administration final exam or "How To Develop A Product That the Whole World Wants" sophomore midterm.     

Or how about:  “Know how to choose high-quality health information, product and services.” 

You might think that the last is from a short community college course on how to navigate the ACA since I suppose it would be helpful to know this kind of information.  

But none of the preceding are from any college, or tony AP prep-school or even high school evaluation tools.  They are all from the District of Columbia Public School System's 

FIRST GRADE REPORT CARD!!!!!

Yup.  You didn’t misread this.  They are all from the current diagnostic evaluation tool (AKA REPORT CARD) for the city’s First Graders.  Each 6 or 7 year old student is scored on 86 “evaluation factors.”  86 Evaluation Factors?  WTF!  Enough said. 

I remember absolutely nothing about First Grade.  Well, I know where it took place:  Hoover Central School at 133 Hoover Drivel, Rochester, NY, where I spent the first four years of my academic career.  The building currently houses the Odyssey Academy.  I do remember Kindergarten but only because I still have our group picture in an album somewhere showing me, all platinum blond, with my twenty-five or so class mates sitting on the floor of the Kindergarten classroom.  

DC FIRST GRADE REPORT CARD

I also remember the Report Cards I received from let’s say Second Grade until Twelfth grade and they consisted of one column of academic grades (Math: B+, English: A, etc.) another column devoted to deportment or socialization or how well we performed in general (Speaking in Class: Good; Knows Answers to Questions When Asked: Excellent, etc.) and some random comments like “Needs Improvement” or "Has Difficulty Taking Responsibility" or “Greatly Improved Since Last Semester” and similar revealing, if basic, teacher observations.  Basically the Report Card was a short, easy to read, concise snapshot of what our progress or lack thereof had been over the semester or over the full school year.  Our parents had no trouble understanding these results.  Nor did we, much to our consternation.  The new “report card?”  I mean, seriously, this is what kids take home to their parents now?  WTF? It would take a team of psychoanalytic  professional analysts (or Ouija Boards) to figure them out!

US STUDENT OUTCOMES VS THE REST OF THE WORLD

I’ve often asked what the hell is going on with our public schools since they seem to produce ever declining educational outcomes compared to our European counterparts.  Latvia, for God’s sakes, has outscored the United States in Reading, Math and Science for over a decade now.  There was a recent report about how SAT scores are declining too.  Again.  Why it is that American students have fallen so far behind our European peers is a mystery to me.  And its apparently a mystery to everyone else since I haven’t seen a worthwhile analysis – much less proposals to fix this shitty situation – anywhere. 

But here’s a clue that through my hit-and-miss educational research I’ve ferreted out of the mystery that is the fucked up public educational system here in the United States of America:  Middle Schools and High Schools should stop spending the public’s money on multi-million dollar sports stadia, promoting sports and buying fancy sports equipment in the guise of “community building” while cutting funds for academic programs and the arts to pay for them.  I mean, I hate to break it the community and school administrators (or the students, for God's sake) but they haven’t heard that a student’s chances of making a decent living from sports during their lifetime is about as likely as winning the $300 million Powerball lottery?  Yeah.  This is the reality folks.  



And Life Goes On. With all its complicated 21st Century Report Cards that evaluate First Grade Students on 86 metrics.  Sheeesh.  Get real folks!  It’s NOT rocket science.  At least not until college. 





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: THE TRUMP/PUTIN LOVE CHRONCILES

REAL LIFE STORY OR REAL LIFE HOAX?

HOW THE PORTRAYAL OF LIBERAL AMERICANS BY THE RIGHT WING MEDIA REFERENCES THE JIM CROW MOVEMENT