Monday, January 9, 2017

Poet criticizes Texas state test after not being able to answer questions on poems she wrote

Poet Sara Holbrook says in a contributed Huffington Post piece that some of her poems was used in the the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, a standardized test across grades three through eight that covers various subjects.

"When I realized I couldn’t answer the questions posed about two of my own poems on the Texas state assessment tests (STAAR Test), I had a flash of panic – oh, no! Not smart enough," Holbrook wrote about her stressful experience with Texas’ infamous standardized test.

In the Wednesday post, Holbrook makes a case against placing too much importance on the results of standardized tests.

"Kids’ futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the so-called correct answer to made-up questions," she said.

Holbrook, who was emailed questions on her poems by an eighth-grade English teacher in Texas, includes the specific test questions she has difficulty answering and writes that, "any test that questions the motivations of the author without asking the author is a big baloney sandwich."

In a follow-up Facebook post about the Huffington Post piece, Holbrook said she was paid $175 for each poem used.

Holbrook wrote that the solution is for parents to reject the system of standardized tests: "The only way to stop this nonsense is for parents to stand up and say, 'No more.'"

Via Reddit: Link to story 


deborah said...

Standardized tests were supposed to check the teachers. It just ended up giving them more power...'oh we neeeed the teachers!'

ricpic said...

Stop torturing kids with poetry! What's school for? It's for gazing out the window longing for recess to come. Even better for the three o'clock bell to ring so you can run home. Well, that's what it was for me. For other kids it's waiting for three o'clock so you can beat up other kids in the schoolyard. Takes all kinds.

Trooper York said...

They should test on Maya Angelou's doggerel. Even a half a retard could understand her crap.

deborah said...

Disagree, ricpic. It's the best time to expose them to the beauty of poetry. It amazes me when someone says they don't 'get' poetry. Definitely from lack of trying. I have heard that twice from intelligent people.

Amartel said...

1. Take something simple
2. Make it unnecessarily complicated
a. Bonus points for allowing a bureaucracy to build up around it
3. Complain that it doesn't work because of raaaacism/whatever institutional badness
a. Pull in whoever and whatever serves to make your point - e.g., dotty supportive
poetesses, HuffPo and other journalistic wankers, POTUSes of questionable intellect
4. Demand more money and perks than the King of Bahrain in order to "teach the test"

Trooper York said...

Children need to be exposed to poetry. But the classics. Not the affirmative action crap.

Start with Poe and Frost and the Bronte's and the English guys. Enough with mainstreaming crap in the name of diversity. Obama Please!

deborah said...

This was in my, I think, Fourth Grade language arts book. I adored it:

"Do you hear the cry as the pack goes by,
The wind-wolves hunting across the sky?
Hear them tongue it, keen and clear,
Hot on the flanks of flying deer!

Across the forest, mere and plain,
Their hunting howl goes up again!
All night they'll follow the ghostly trail,
All night we'll hear their phantom wail,

For tonight the wind-wolf pack holds sway
From Pegasus Square to the Milky Way,
And the frightened bands of cloud-deer flee,
In scattered groups of two and three."

MamaM said...

Late to the thread, but I will hold forth again with the belief that children/minds/youth etc are fires to be lit not buckets to be filled.

Invite and require when it comes to children and poetry. Read it aloud, ask them to memorize certain lines or poems, show and invite them to create their own poetry, expose them to collections and let them select favorites.

I still have my dad's poetry journal from school in the 1920's.