Let me start by absolving our administration of blame...I am full well aware they're simply following orders handed down from the upper admin, which are handed down from the state. How the state comes up with these ideas, no one knows. No one "chose" this because they thought it was a good idea. Nevertheless, we are now in a situation where professional sit around "analyzing" a document of fabricated importance which is meant to predict the results of another fabricated assessment construct by using buzz words, and fabricated, hypothetical standards.
This is how the conversations usually go:
What's the purpose of school? To learn.
To learn what? Various skills and important content.
How will schools know what to teach? Give them a vague list of "standards to help
How will schools know if students are learning? Give them a test.
How do we know if students are ready for the test? See what standards they don't know.
How do we know what standards they don't know? Give them another test.
Will the test be an all-encompassing monster exam that accurately measures what students learned? No
Why are we taking this second test then? So students will be more ready for the first test
Why? ... (It's at this point we realize we've completely forgotten about students and learning, and are now just trying to win a hopeless numbers game).
The idea of "learning" rarely comes up in these conversations. It becomes a game to attempt to distill students skills and knowledge down into quantifiable numbers, codes, buttons, and switches which simply need to be flipped on or filled in order to raise other numbers.
The morning ended with a final group activity. After hearing for hours about the need to improve teaching, and differentiate our instruction to meet the creative needs of all learners...we were left with this: