Friday, May 13, 2011

Formula Writing

We are approaching EQAO testing in grade three and six classrooms across Ontario in the next few weeks.  These are the standardized tests that are administered over the period of three or four days.  Tests are conducted in both Literacy and Math skills.

Results are shipped back to the school and classroom teacher, usually sometime in early fall.  School averages are made somewhat public, sort of a wall of fame or shame.  Great accolades are given to the schools who score high.  Head shakings and general tskking is the order of the day to those who fare not so mightily.  Gobs of money are tossed at the offenders -- well not gobs, we are talking government dollars toward education, not members of parliaments personal expense accounts.  Promises of untold resources and extra educational staff quickly accompany failing reports -- well again great lip service is paid to this promise.  Actual results may vary.

Remember when creative writing was just that ........ creative.  Well this is difficult for the provincial markers to mark easily and objectively.  So we have dumbed writing down.  We have changed it into a science.  We dictate what the opening sentence will say.  The first paragraph has a set number of sentences, one of which is a topic or thesis sentence ( and you thought your thesis might get you a doctorate?).  Paragraph two has again a set number of sentences, as do each succeeding paragraph.  Final paragraph is really specific.  You must reiterate your original thesis statement in a new and fresh way.  The fun of writing is all gone.  The marker can check off each sentence in the most objective manner possible.  Provided Little Johnny follows the formula, the specific template, yes he can get 100% in Writing - doesn't mean he can write anything of any value or interest, but he may string the right malarky together and convince the provincial marker of his brilliance.

And that is all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

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