Politics of $ high-stakes, standardized tests…

About high-stakes, standardized tests…

When a single score on a commercially produced, timed, machine scored
test can change a kid’s life chances forever, get teachers and principals
fired, close treasured neighborhood schools, change real-estate values, siphon
off billions of dollars from classrooms, and so on, attention should be paid.
Resistance to high-stakes testing has been dismissed by test fans as selfserving.
Educators, they say, just don’t want to be held accountable.
Educators say that’s nonsense, that they oppose the tests because they…
● Are making kids hate learning
● Put the wrong people—test manufacturers—in charge of education
● Lead to neglect of phys ed, music, art, and other, non-verbal ways of learning
● Provide little to no useful feedback to teachers, parents, and kids
● Unfairly advantage those who can afford test prep
● Trivialize learning
● Penalize test-takers who think in non-standard ways
● Measure only short-term memory and other “low level” thinking processes
● Allow pass-fail rates to be manipulated for political purposes
● Hide problems created by margin-of-error computations in scoring
● Limit teacher ability to adapt to learner differences
● Encourage use of threats, bribes, and other extrinsic motivators
● Wrongly assume that what kids will need to know in the future is already known
● Emphasize minimum achievement to the neglect of maximum performance
● Are keyed to a deeply flawed, 19th Century curriculum
● Reduce teacher creativity and the appeal of teaching as a profession
● Are culturally biased
● Have no “success in life” predictive power
● Are open to massive scoring errors with life-changing consequences
● Are at odds with American values about individual differences and worth
● Don’t pass the cost-benefit test
● Block innovations that are too complex to be evaluated by machine
● Lead to the neglect of the best and worst students as resources are channeled to lift marginal kids above pass-fail “cut lines”
●Undermine a fundamental democratic principle that those closest to and therefore most
knowledgeable about problems are best positioned to deal with them
The corporately driven “standards and accountability” reform effort has as its aim the
privatizing of public schools. Money and power are being used to enlist the aid of both
political parties. If you think it’s a bad idea to sell off the bedrock of democracy, ask
candidates for public office where they stand on this issue. Time is short!
www.marionbrady.com/documents/Problems-HighStakesTests.pdf www.MarionBrady.com 10-6-12
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