Diane Neubauer was listening to the Tea with BVP show last week and reported back to us here:

…they had done a poll of people following them on Twitter. If I remember correctly, 85% either said “yes” or “yes, but…” to this question: “Do you think we should move to language instruction without tests and grades?”….

I think that this is astounding. Here’s the thing. We are so whipped down by administrators and district policy that we probably won’t follow the courage of our convictions and act locally on this. Our thinking is probably that “mommy and daddy won’t let us.”

Boo hoo! I guess we have to test!

And I know EXACTLY WHY this won’t change. Because if we changed it not one single traditional teacher would be able to keep the attention of their classes for more than five minutes. What a DISASTER that that is the reason we can’t even open up the conversation on even a local level. The traditional teachers would shoot us down before we even opened our mouths. At least the ones around me would.

And what is best for the kids, especially in the light of recent discussion here? NO TESTING IN WL. Evaluation – yes. Description – yes. But no testing! We just spent three weeks coming to that conclusion, unless I’m reading the threads wrong, and this idea of a more humane way to assess has been brewing for decades.



8 thoughts on “Boohoo!”

  1. Wow, Diane, I didn’t even think of this but you are so right!!! I have come to take it for granted that we just hang out in the classroom and enjoy each other (in German) – well, most of the time anyway, my room is not Shangri-La all of the time. I haven’t given a “formal” assessment in any of my classes since our mandatory midterms at the end of January. And, despite of that, there’s not any less buy-in.
    I guess the only way to effect change in this regard is to let the customers (students) spread the word. If it comes from us, it will be shot down before we can even finish the sentence.

  2. Just read the post again (because I find it so compelling!) and realized that I mis-attributed that quote. Of course, it’s from you, Ben!!!! You have this uncanny ability to cut right to the chase and see things through an unfiltered lens. Although I have no doubt that Diane would have come to the same conclusion.

  3. So far we have all come to the same confusion and that’s what everyone wants. That keeps the machine going and the testing dollars rolling in and the curriculum and assessement teams in hog heaven because they don’t have to teach and can take as many coffee breaks as they want all day, sipping away at their coffee with a watchful eye on us to make sure that we don’t get out of line and challenge their authority over us. It really is oppression of one caste (adminz/curriculum/data) over another (teachers). When are we going to wake up to this and act? The question is how and if we react. Yes, it has to happen one day, but how many more decades of intimidation will we take from these dweebs? But they have us divided now in our buildings and unless BVP or someone with a voice gets to yelling nothing will change. And that is BAD for teachers and for students. We have come so far! We have the research piece in place neatly fitted to the teaching piece, and we can’t seem to line up the assessment piece with those other two to complete the puzzle! And yet 85% of us think that we need to make deep changes to the testing model.

  4. I am behind on my BVP episodes and anxious to listen to last week’s. I hope to call in this week. Finally. I can never do that bc I have sketchy phone reception at school! But yes, that opinion / sentiment / conclusion / fact has been well-established during the whole “BVP season” which began in October. BVP himself advocates strongly for this, given all the research, the nature of language, etc. In one episode a few months ago he said he wished we could do away with the AP exam! I hooted and hollered when he said that. I was washing dishes at the time, listening to the archived show. I dried my hands immediately and wrote him an e mail. Here is our short conversation:

    ” I just shrieked with delight when you said “I wish we could do away with the AP exam!” I have never heard anyone (but me) say that! YAY!!!! I have zero desire to ever teach an AP Spanish class. I feel so much better now that you said that in public!

    🙂 Jen Schongalla
    Sanbornton NH”

    He even wrote back! Here is his reply:

    I’m glad you liked that comment. I meant it, too. We have way too much testing going on that has nothing to do with language acquisition.

    Keep on listening and I hope you can call in soon even just to say ‘hi.’ We like those kind of phone calls, too!

    Best to you,


    AND…he says repeatedly that part of our job as the experts, the educators, the people “on the ground” is to educate our principals, adminZ, parents, community. Yet, when people call in for advice on this he is very careful to ask “what is your goal?” as he always does, because a lot depends on how much one needs the employment. He advises us to re-educate and at the same time acknowledges that some ppl are more ready to listen than others.

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