I've always said, CyberEnglish is as close to brain surgery as a teacher can get. Because we are in computer rooms we have access to the technology that let's us watch our scholars create, edit, and produce work. Beyond that, the curriculum of CE is project based. In project based lessons, the scholars must collaborate and use all their skills to complete a project. It is more than any multiple choice test can provide. What concerns me is that those in charge have been hoodwinked by big business into thinking that a test based curriculum is the way to go. Of course it is easy and the public sees and believes what it is told by politicians, advertisers, and big business. Since we a market economy we are driven by the flim flam of business and not by the intelligence of educators. Americans are very ignorant about education as witnessed by where we are today and by the politicians they have put in charge of this very important facet of American life. We do not follow our brain, instead we follow our politicians and that is a huge mistake because they are led by the lobbyists. Education is big bucks, in fact it is the second largest industry in America. The military is number one. So common sense and intelligent choices will not be made since "there is gold in them thar schools." Big business only cares about the bottom line and making money, not about doing the right or even intelligent thing. Multiple choice tests are economically more profitable than any project based curriculum, so we have MC tests to do our assessment. People are too lazy to do it the right way, so we do it the bad way.
We know when we choose a doctor, a contractor, or an employee; we want to see a portfolio of their work. We don't give them multiple choice tests. We want to see what they have done. We want to critique their work, before we choose them to work for us. So why don't we do this in education? The Jensen book outlines some very specific reasons why we need to take more care in our classrooms and why we should. And yet, we always ignore common sense in education and replace it with the misguided money grubbing ways of big business. The folks in charge of creating the tests are not educators. They do not consider the science of pedagogy, and they certainly don't reflect on brain research. In fact they work in a bubble. They do not consult with the teachers in the classroom about the contents of the tests they make, they don't share the results and they destroy the tests after they have scored them. When they make a mistake it is horrendous and there are no ramifications except the students suffer and the company still keeps the contract. And the American public accepts this without question. Politicians support it because those companies give money to the politicians, who send their children to private schools because of the donations. It is a vicious circle, a very, very, vicious circle with most Americans completely out of the loop to what is happening to them.
We are witnessing the dumbing down of America and we don't even see it. Consider how we see some politicians revel in their ignorance. Most notably, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Joe Biden. It is embarrassing. America's problems are not the result of bad education, yet, it is the result of bad business decisions and the acquiescing of educational policy to big business instead of the teachers. That is America's problem, big business rules and the people suffer and are the victims.
In yet another article about the perils of the current tests, the suggestion is,
Both groups will create tests using technology in both administering and scoring and will measure “performance-based tasks, designed to designed to mirror complex, real-world situations,” according to the New York Times.Sorry this won't work. We need humans involved. The best way to assess our scholars is for our scholars to publish their work, as we do in CyberEnglish, and then let teachers and anyone who wants to to look at the work and to write their findings. The problem of course is that this is labor intensive or too labor intensive for big business because it is not cost effective. Education shouldn't be led by accountants, it should be led by educators. We just don't get it. We keep hearing about blended schools without too much of an explanation, but CyberEnglish was doing blended school in the 90's and is still doing it today.
More on Brain and emotion: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2012/mar/05/emotions-and-brain/
The Divided Brain: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2012/mar/16/divided-brain/