Testing Ourselves And The World Around Us

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From the time we are very small, we are assessors. We are constantly testing ourselves and the world around us, looking for information that will help us keep moving forward, keep learning and keep growing. Little by little, we begin to make sense of our environment by experimenting with what we can do and what we can’t…yet; what effect the objects and substances and creatures we encounter may have on us; what those things are. Does that yellow crayon taste as good as it looks? Can I let go and do it myself, or will I fall down again? Does the doggy feel nice to touch? Always testing, sometimes falling short, sometimes reaching new heights, and figuring out when to keep trying and when to let well enough alone. We are continuously testing, and continuously learning, and occasionally amazing ourselves. How, then, does testing suddenly become intimidating and stressful and make us question our worth until we can no longer enjoy the process of learning for fear of failure? When did testing stop being an exciting experiment and become a judgment? How do we turn testing and assessment back into tools for exploration and learning? Mere numbers don’t give us those answers. Phyllis Tashlik, director of the Center for Inquiry in Teaching and Learning, New York Performance

Standards Consortium states that “From Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to state commissioners, chancellors, mayors, and the press, the language of quantitative measures has dominated the “conversation.”
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