For the next couple weeks we’re going to be looking at how writing assessments are understood in part based on models, frames, and narratives (generically, I’ll use Adler-Kassner and O’Neill’s term “frames” from this point on). Our readings for today pointing us to a number of frames that help us understand how assessments function (e.g., ecologies from Wardle and Roozen, generative practices from Condon, internetworks from Penrod, the value of the local from Huot, etc.). Next week we’ll look at similar frames for understanding digital technologies.
Today I’d like us to explore some of the most common frames around education and testing in our specific cultural context. Where do these frames come from? Who is invested in them? Why? What are the counter narratives?
I’ll provide an easy on about education writ large:
First, “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary that suggests a narrative that the problem with education is that teachers, because of strong unions, can’t be fired, and thus good students are disadvantaged by bad teaching. The solution: get rid of unions and “the bottom tier” of teachers; more standardized tests to determine who to fire and which schools to shut down; more charter schools.
Contrast this to a video released by teachers attempting to provide a counter-narrative to “Waiting for Superman.”
Battles such as these revolve more around who gets to frame the problems and provide the narrative far more than they are about the solutions, which are almost inevitable once you establish the frame.
Find other frames and narratives about education and testing and provide them as a “comment” to this post.
Final, we’ll employ Huot’s framework (pp. 87, 99) of procedures, purposes, and assumptions to think about how we might understand the assessment theory behind these frames.