Saturday, March 23, 2013

#Slice2013: Day 21 of 31 - Crazy Compliance


Senseless rules and unreasonable actions surround our state testing procedures. I sat through the dreaded one-hour STAAR training today, and I rolled my eyes at least twenty times. The harsh, punitive language of the testing manual puts all stakeholders on edge, and stressed-out administrators wield shame and fear as weapons.

As the training came to a close, I actually took the time to read over the oath we're required to sign, and one line lifted from the text lingers in mind.

I do hereby further certify, warrant, and affirm that I will faithfully and fully comply with all requirements concerning test security and confidentiality.

Full compliance and strict standardization is the battle cry of the accountability movement. Who cares about buy-in or engagement? As Seth Godin eloquently points out in his blog, "Compliance is simple to measure, simple to test for and simple to teach. Punish non-compliance, reward obedience and repeat."

I signed the oath, and I will certainly abide by the rules. I'm a product of the industrial age, and the promise of punishment still has power over my psyche. I'm kind of fond of my teaching license, and I ethically speaking, if I sign an oath, I will live by my commitment. Unfortunately, I'm strictly doing this out of compliance. None of it aligns with my belief system.

What would an assessment training look like if initiative was the goal?

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