Monday, March 9, 2009

Los Angeles Teachers' Union vs. Diagnostic Tests

President and Vice-President of Community Advocates, respectively) posted an incandescent piece today (Mar. 9) on the Fox & Hounds blog on the opposition of United Teachers of Los Angeles to the school district’s diagnostic tests scheduled to be administered to students in two weeks.

The union has told the public that its members will “boycott a series of unnecessary assessment tests” that would result in “the loss of valuable instruction time spent prepping students for the tests instead of teaching.”

But union leaders are telling their members something quite different (namely, that the boycott is about protecting teachers' jobs, not about classroom teaching time for students). According to :

In a February letter to UTLA’s members its president struck a very different theme, clearly not about “education being a top priority.” He told teachers that the boycott was really about “everyone’s health care, class sizes” and that “jobs are on the line…now is the time for unity among members—not division.” Not surprisingly, the claimed pedagogic problems with the assessment tests aren’t mentioned in his teacher-directed communication.

In reality, the “periodic assessment” tests which UTLA finds so objectionable facilitate teaching the curriculum that these teachers are hired to instruct. The tests’ goal, as the [Los Angeles] Times has written, is “to give teachers insight into what students need to learn while there remains time in the current school year to adjust instruction.”

A statistical analysis by the [Los Angeles Unified School District] has found that the assessments “contribute to higher student achievement.” The District’s study found that, especially at the elementary level, students who take the full battery of four assessment tests during the course of the year are “much more likely to score proficient or advanced on the California Standards Test than similar students that either do not take the tests or take them only once or twice.”

The tests are designed to provide individualized data to the teachers, within 48 hours of having been administered, of what each student has mastered in English, language arts, math, science and social studies---core academic subjects. If teachers “prep” students for this test they are teaching the curriculum that it is their job to deliver, not teaching obscure skills that are only relevant to a test.


  1. diagnostic test is very important especially to all students and we can avoid from any violence.

  2. yes diagnostic test is important especially in all university to avoid students and teenagers from any kind of risk.All schools are responsible to conduct drug of abuse test.

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