Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Testing (PARCC and others)

I have avoided writing about the educational standardized testing controversy because it is such a broad and involved topic, it is almost impossible to narrow down.  But I do have strong feelings about it like so many other parents and educators.  Since I could not decide what to focus on, I thought maybe I would just put some questions out there for people to ponder.

What is the goal of compulsory public education through high school?
            Productive citizens?
            College preparation?
            Something else?
What is the intended purpose of standardized testing?
            To make sure teachers are doing a good job?
            To ensure students know particular bits of information?
Who benefits financially from standardized testing?
            Big businesses?
Who writes and scores the tests?
            Qualified and trained individuals?
            Instructors who are familiar with the curriculum in use?
            Teachers who regularly interact with the grade level the test is geared toward?
What long-term benefits have been shown over the last 20 years of standardized testing?
            For this, I've got nothing to suggest and haven't seen any reports to this effect.

I think these are reasonable questions for people to discuss, bring to school boards and to congressmen and congresswomen.  The more level-headed discussions and evidence-based results out there, the better. Educated discussions should happen regarding the future of education for our students and ultimately for our country.

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