A few loyal readers wrote worried emails: Grant, are you OK???

Yes, I’m just fine. Alas, I have been swamped by work and travel demands (back and forth twice to Europe as well as to LA for ASCD) in the last month.

I plan to get back into the blog swing of things shortly.

A few – random? related? – thoughts:

1. Many people have asked for my views on Diane Ravitch’s recent post about ‘reformers’ and ‘resistance’. I have no new thoughts, just my previous one.

2. Check out http://testingtalk.org which was set up by Lucy Calkins and a number of us, to monitor and collect feedback on the pilots of the new national tests. Over 250,000 hits to the site so far.

A comment at the site revealed a big misunderstanding, one that I see over and over vis a vis testing. Here’s the complaint from a teacher who monitored a pilot:

The instructions for the writing prompts were totally inadequate – the test didn’t cue the kids to do all the things they normally do when preparing good writing pieces. Not a single child took advantage of the scrap paper: no spontaneous graphic organizers, no drafting of responses, no little notes to self. I refuse to blame the children.

You should blame the teachers, not the testmaker or the children. The whole point of a test is to see if students have internalized and can transfer their learning – in this case, about writing. The test should NOT cue the writer on process. By test time, the process should be understood and used by students who learned it. That is precisely the point of an education, hence the right move in assessment: what can you do when NOT prompted to do everything?