Monday, February 11, 2013

The End of Standardized Testing? Hey, A Guy Can Dream...

No one I know takes standardize tests for a living
 (Photo credit: Ken Whytock)
As many of us in education dream about a public education system that is not predicated on standardized test scores, there is actually movement in some places to put an end (or at least a pause) to the ridiculous rat race of "high-stakes testing" we have been involved in.  Sam Chaltain recently posted Has Testing Reached A Tipping Point  on his blog and it is a must read for those interested in this topic.  

In the short video below, Chaltain describes schools in other nations where a student's teachers "the ones who know a student best" design the most meaningful tests a student will take.  He advocates for school communities to answer the following questions:

What are our measures of success for our students? How do we know we are being successful?


While many are skeptical that anything dramatic will take place to change our nation's plans to test students more often than any other country in the world, Chaltain notes some blips on the radar screen that he hopes will lead to more action for this important cause.
"Consider three separate data points as evidence: Maryland, where the superintendent of the state’s largest district of schools has called for a three-year moratorium on standardized tests; Washington, where one school’s decision to boycott its state tests has spread to other schools and communities; and Texas, where a proposed Senate bill would significantly reduce the number of state standardized tests students must pass to graduate."
It would be interesting to see how a moratorium on testing would impact our students. I will continue to pray that we have an opportunity to see the day it happens!

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3 comments:

  1. What changes to the state assessment system do you think would be most beneficial? Should MCAS test other subjects such as history or government? Are the tests themselves objectionable or is it the uses to which they're put?

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    1. Then again, a man in your position already knows all this ;)

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  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for your question. I think that we should do away with the state assessments as I think that they do more harm than good. They are putting schools and educators in a position where a test given on one day in the school year can label a student, a teacher, and an entire school a failure. As they are comprised of a great number of multiple choice items, they do not measure higher level critical thinking skills.

    For a great take on this, I encourage you to read Marion Brady's "The complete list of problems with high-stakes standardized tests." Here is the link http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-complete-list-of-problems-with-high-stakes-standardized-tests/2011/10/31/gIQA7fNyaM_blog.html

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