In Chapter 3, Wagner discusses the culture of standardized testing. He argues that the knowledge assessed by our current testing system is not the kind of knowledge one needs to be successful in today’s society. He discusses the fact that many students who graduate high school, which should imply that they are college-ready, get to college lacking necessary skills for success in college and beyond.

He describes standardized tests as dry, useless assessments that measure memorization instead of critical thinking. My own experiences with testing have been similar to the tests Wagner described. In order to pass the CAHSEE, I needed to memorize vocabulary words that I have probably not used since, recognize parts of sentences and moods of poems, and successfully perform mathematical operations. I must say that I had a hard time agreeing with some of Wagner’s viewpoints about Mathematics. However, I do realize that I am probably a bit biased about the importance of mathematics. J I agree with the definition of mathematical literacy that Wagner states in the text, defined by PISA: “[a]n individual's capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world, to make well-founded judgements and to use and engage with mathematics in ways that meet the needs of that individual's life as a constructive, concerned and reflective citizen.” If we can formulate assessments that assess this type of mathematical literacy, I feel that the data would be more meaningful and students would see more value in the assessments. We should build assessment’s with Wagner’s mentality in mind: "In today's world, it's no longer how much you know that matters; it's what you can do with what you know."

In Chapter 4, Wagner discusses the preparation for becoming a teacher, his experience with the evaluation process, and professional development. Wagner has a very negative view of his teacher ed. program as well as most of the professional development and training he has received as an educator. After one of his formal observations, he was given feedback in the form of a checklist and every box was marked satisfactory. He was not coached on his strengths and weaknesses. He was not given an opportunity to discuss the “satisfactory” aspects of his lesson. Wagner describes most of his staff in-service days saying “we sat and listened to someone lecture us on some hot topic in education." I especially liked the following comment: "What one has to do to become certified as a teacher or administrator is nearly identical to what students have to do for a high school diploma - take a disjointed collection of courses of uneven quality and then pass tests that rarely measure the skills that matter most." I’ve thought a lot about the current teacher credential program I am in, the assignments I am given, the tests I must pass, and the overall experience. While I wouldn’t say the material is difficult, the program and tests are at times overwhelming and nit-picky. I do feel that the road to becoming a teacher should be difficult. It’s a good way to weed out the bad ones! J However, I do not always feel that my true teaching skills are being valued or grown. If I could design a teacher ed. program, four days a week would be spent in a classroom (as is now, but I would prefer Monday-Thursday). On Fridays, the cohort would meet and from day one, we would act as if we were starting a school within our cohort. The English teachers would teach English, the Math teachers would teach Math, and so on. We would all be able to act as teachers and students. We would provide feedback to each other about our teaching methods. We would share ideas and resources. When acting as students, we would share the parts of a lesson we found hard to follow and possible points of confusion. When acting as teachers, we would try new teaching methods, seating arrangements, and rubrics. Along the way we would be building a toolkit of resources to use as first year teachers.

He describes standardized tests as dry, useless assessments that measure memorization instead of critical thinking. My own experiences with testing have been similar to the tests Wagner described. In order to pass the CAHSEE, I needed to memorize vocabulary words that I have probably not used since, recognize parts of sentences and moods of poems, and successfully perform mathematical operations. I must say that I had a hard time agreeing with some of Wagner’s viewpoints about Mathematics. However, I do realize that I am probably a bit biased about the importance of mathematics. J I agree with the definition of mathematical literacy that Wagner states in the text, defined by PISA: “[a]n individual's capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world, to make well-founded judgements and to use and engage with mathematics in ways that meet the needs of that individual's life as a constructive, concerned and reflective citizen.” If we can formulate assessments that assess this type of mathematical literacy, I feel that the data would be more meaningful and students would see more value in the assessments. We should build assessment’s with Wagner’s mentality in mind: "In today's world, it's no longer how much you know that matters; it's what you can do with what you know."

In Chapter 4, Wagner discusses the preparation for becoming a teacher, his experience with the evaluation process, and professional development. Wagner has a very negative view of his teacher ed. program as well as most of the professional development and training he has received as an educator. After one of his formal observations, he was given feedback in the form of a checklist and every box was marked satisfactory. He was not coached on his strengths and weaknesses. He was not given an opportunity to discuss the “satisfactory” aspects of his lesson. Wagner describes most of his staff in-service days saying “we sat and listened to someone lecture us on some hot topic in education." I especially liked the following comment: "What one has to do to become certified as a teacher or administrator is nearly identical to what students have to do for a high school diploma - take a disjointed collection of courses of uneven quality and then pass tests that rarely measure the skills that matter most." I’ve thought a lot about the current teacher credential program I am in, the assignments I am given, the tests I must pass, and the overall experience. While I wouldn’t say the material is difficult, the program and tests are at times overwhelming and nit-picky. I do feel that the road to becoming a teacher should be difficult. It’s a good way to weed out the bad ones! J However, I do not always feel that my true teaching skills are being valued or grown. If I could design a teacher ed. program, four days a week would be spent in a classroom (as is now, but I would prefer Monday-Thursday). On Fridays, the cohort would meet and from day one, we would act as if we were starting a school within our cohort. The English teachers would teach English, the Math teachers would teach Math, and so on. We would all be able to act as teachers and students. We would provide feedback to each other about our teaching methods. We would share ideas and resources. When acting as students, we would share the parts of a lesson we found hard to follow and possible points of confusion. When acting as teachers, we would try new teaching methods, seating arrangements, and rubrics. Along the way we would be building a toolkit of resources to use as first year teachers.