Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
6

How Your Kid's Reading Tests Get Made


It turned out that the business model for educational content creation (in "language arts," at least) is rather less romantic than I had envisioned. Content assignments are farmed out to an army of small-time contractors with some kind of nominal qualifications — stay-at-home moms, former school librarians, and so on. Overwhelmingly, the assignments are not story ideas or anything the like; the basis is grade level, mean word length, schematic adherence to state educational standards (see above), and volume, volume, volume. I think the pay is per passage, rather than by the word.

The result is a stream of unmitigated crap, crap that is unremitting and remarkably homogeneous. It took a small army of editors (myself included) to cull them into readable shape, although "polish" and "readability" didn't seem to be the first priority in the division where I worked. (A major reason why I wasn't kept past my initial probation period was that I slowed the process down by making too many requests for edits.)

How your childrens' reading tests get made. (via)

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6 Comments / Post A Comment

Pop Socket (#187)

Test writing is one of the perennial summer jobs for teachers. One would hope they were better at it.

Mr. B (#10,093)

"She could see what seemed to be gently bobbing blobs. After a moment, one approached. Then it enveloped her. A wonderful feeling of serenity flooded Gina’s mind."

I think I need more coffee before I can wrap my head around this.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@Mr. B Don't you mean "envelope my head around this"?

Mr. B (#10,093)

@boyofdestiny That actually occurred to me in the writing, but I decided to get coffee instead.

BadUncle (#153)

waitaminute…This looks like a job for a between-gigs freelance art director with questionable language skills.

joeclark (#651)

Corrected hed:

How Your Childrens’ Reading Tests Get Made [sic]

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