I agree with much of what Wagner discussed about testing in chapter 3 of his book “The Global Achievement Gap.” Most students I have observed are more concerned about testing than they are about the actual material they are learning. I believe this is the result of the emphasis on standardized testing so that students get the impression that those tests are the goal of education. As a science teacher I most want my students to learn how to think for themselves, how the scientific method works and how to research things themselves, how to use math to analyze real problems, and how to effectively communicate arguments based on evidence. These skills cannot be tested by simple multiple choice assessments. I also think that “open-ended” tasks are great for students. However, I do not know how that “open-ended” tasks should be the new way of assessment as Wagner seems to suggest. I think that these types of tasks should be integrated into curriculum so students get many opportunities to apply what they learn to new situations. I also agree with the idea that artificial essay formats are not very useful for students to learn because they will never have to write five paragraph essays in real life. After reading the chapter I cannot help wondering several things. Since we have been taught to think inside the box how can we push our students to risk failure by making it okay? How can we push students to think outside the box and at the same time recognize their learning when it does not fit inside our own previous boxes?
The biggest change I would make would be to develop a culture of glass walls. After observing many teachers it seems that teachers who make an effort to collaborate with other teachers tend to have more engaging and relevant classes (or at least lessons). I would also design a program similar to the teacher education I am experiencing right now. I believe coteaching helps students learn much more quickly what works and what does not because they can draw on the advice of an experienced teachers. I also would have students tape their own teaching on a regular basis and analyze what they did and what they would do differently. Another change I would make is that I would have the program be two years long. The second year would be a paid internship where students teach but are under direct supervision of a small team of advisers to help them develop as teachers.