The Only Math that Ever REALLY Mattered [SLIDE]

After spending the better part of the last two weeks grinding through end of grade testing with my students, I was feeling creatively drained tonight — so I whipped up a slide:

I hope you dig it.  And I hope you’ll remind every important person in your life — from parents and principals to policymakers — that our kids are more than the numbers that we want to label them with.


Related Radical Reads:

Three Flawed #edpolicy Assumptions Every Parent Should Pay Attention To

How Testing Will Change What I Teach Next Year

Walking Moral Tightropes

The Monster You’ve Created

A Short-Sighted Sprint to Measurable Glory

Related categories: ,
  • JonHanbury

    i love numbers……….but not those that judge our children!!!

    hey my friend — missed you!!!

    i like how you have used the inequality sign!!!!  (our third graders in the great state of virginia need to use this sign correctly!!!)  as a math coach, i’m sad that math is being used to present the truth about today’s testing mania.  (math is given a bad rap on too many occasions!)  but i can’t agree with you more about inviting parents to become outraged with regards to the testing our young children are facing at the end of each school year.  this spring, our third graders were subjected to 6 grueling days of testing.  (we have second graders who are apprehensive about their promotion to the next grade!!!)   how can you build that kind of stamina for 6 days of testing for 8 year olds????  does it even make sense???? we have students making above average marks on their report cards who are not being successful on these high stake testings situations.  and why???  to me it’s a form of child abuse.

    i looked online to see what would happen if a parent decided to exempt his/her child from state testing in virginia.  and from what i have read, the child would not be penalized.  i started to share this fact with teachers and parents….both were shocked; it’s amazing how blindly we take these mandates that affect our kids.  (would we be more reactive if they applied to us?)  we need the parents to raise a stink!  i recall matt damon’s speech at the SOS rally in DC; he mentioned that his school was testing students and his mother refused to have him in the mix. i really believe that the parents can revolt and demand that their children not be measured by a number!  (i am so thankful that my two boys made it through this madness years ago before it became ridiculous!!!) 

    the lorax spoke for the trees; i’m here to speak out for our kids.  how can we rally others to do the same????


  • JoseVilson


    This is exactly what I’ve been saying. My students get inequalities, and this ought to be one of them.

  • JulieHiltz

    Am I a hypocrite?

    I struggle with this one as a teacher and a mom. I would love to make the point of holding my child out of testing. Not because he’s a bad test taker, but on the principle that I disagree with how much and how it’s being use. As the School Advisory Committee Chair I understand the implications to the school if we don’t test 95% of our students, and as a colleague I want to make sure that his teacher receives the “credit” she has earned for her evaluation based on his performance. 

    I also don’t always know how to walk the employee/consumer line. I have had great conversations with parents at PTA and SAC meetings about these issues, but fear that if I begin to advocate for changes, or rebel and hold him out, that there will be consequences.

  • DaveOrphal

    Measuring Student Learning Data that Matters

    You hit the nail right on the head, Bill.

    I really don’t mind being judged as a teacher based, in part, on the scores my students earn on assessments.  I like the Gates Foundations new stance, detailed in the recente MET (Measures of Effective Teaching) Report.  I like how they recommend a balanced look at student test scores, administrative and peer observations, and student surveys about class climate.

    At the same time, I think we need to be careful about which measures of student learning we use to make judgements about students and teachers.

    Knowledge and learning is changing.  The days when “smart” was judged by how many facts one had stuffed into one’s head, ready for easy recall, are over.  Only or political leaders and some back-to-basics reformers are still clinging to the antiquated defination.

    That’s why I resist using state-mandated fill-in-the-bubble tests as measures of student learning.  These tests just don’t show us if kids are learning the kinds of skills they are going to need to be ready for college, career, and community.

    That’s why I love the Document-based Question writing assignement that my district in Oakland uses to assess student learning in history classes.  Students are given 8-12 primary source documents to read and analyze.  Then they have to use evidence from those documents to write an essay, making an argument and answering a deep and rigorous question.

    • Research and Document-analysis
    • Evidence use
    • Academic argumentation
    • Writing

    These are the skills of real historians!