I had a Dream Last Night and What Does Have to Do With Test Scores?!?

OK–stay with me on this one:

Background information:
–My wife and I met each other in second grade (awwwwwww!).
–This summer we celebrated our 25th anniversary.
–I’m madly in love with my wife. She’s my best friend. My heart still pitter-patters when I walk in the front door (well, go through the front door) at the end of the day and I see her (Honestly!).

Last night I had a dream that I was walking through the mall, and my wife came towards me who was still in high school. She was still in the 1970’s and I was in 2007. As she approached me, I was shocked, as if I was on some TV show. My wife approached me and seemed to recognize me. In order to make a long conversation in this dream short, it went something like this with me saying:

“Hi!”

“Man, you look OLD! How are you doing?”

“It’s 2007! You and I got married in 1982!”

By this time, her eyes were popping open, not only from the shock of time passing, but marrying ME. She gasps, wheezes, and says, “Oh, no! Please tell me this is a nightmare!” I went on to tell her what the future would hold: all our parents would die before we had our first daughter; we’d lose five jobs in three years; we’d live in a reconverted gas station between two swamps, complete with a poisonous snake, black widow spiders, and rats; we’d work in Asia where our place would have rats and roaches so huge that you could saddle them up; we’d have multiple health scares, we’d move away from home because we couldn’t find jobs since she’d work at a day care and I’d sub for three years; we’d be financially destitute at times that we couldn’t even afford to buy school pictures of our daughters; and well, you get the picture.

I told her that we wouldn’t remember those horrible times as much as much as how we clung to each other. “The two of us will remember the good times and our love will grow stronger and stronger each year.”

She looked up at me (in the dream), and said, “How can so many hard times be so memorable?”

“Simply put, we learned from it and internalized what was important.”

Now, what does this have to do with testing?

I’m researching for my VSTE presentation in February, and I’m amazed how many great technology has made learning easier in the classroom. My biggest frustration comes, though, in how to get past the, “How is this (my research and ideas) ever going to help TEST
SCORES?”
What do students remember the most today: the content (metaphor: how my wife and I are happy in spite of crises), or the multiple choice: not means “get rid of three”, so I remember #20 back then was choice C!” (metaphor: my wife and I don’t remember what we had for supper in March in ’85 as well as how hard life was.) Will students remember taking the test, or the purpose of the lesson?

I think of one student who was taking Trigonometry at a local high school. This is not SOL tested, and thus the teacher was free to teach beyond multiple choice. The student, normally one who got 95% and above on tests, came home with a 65%. He/she panicked when the first test wasn’t in multiple choice: He/she had to WORK OUT THE PROBLEM without the comfort of “50/50” “Best answer” and so on. All students in the class panicked, not being able to take intelligent guesses.

I’m not sure how I’m going to address the Test Score Dilema, but one promising blog I found was Student 2.0. Students are able to post essays, and to be honest, they are quite good and causes one to THINK. Take a look and see what you think. Do students learn more, and score higher, when they are enjoying writing instead of being bored to death?

Also, I’m interested in your comments.