The “Pro-Standardized Test” Perspective
For several months I’ve posted articles criticizing USDOE’s reliance on standardized testing… and so today I thought I’d take Lisa Nielsen’s lead and post the four myths about standardized testing that are the basis of an article posted on the Thomas E. Fordham website:
Myth #1: Teachers’ instincts should guide instruction
Myth #2: Testing is responsible for “drill-and-kill” instruction
Myth #3: Tests can’t measure what really matters
Myth #4: “Standardization” doesn’t work
The article’s authors, Kathleen Porter-McGee and Jennifer Borgioli claim the arguments are weak. I see it a little differently, as I stated in a comment I posted:
This article presents hollowed out versions of “anti-testing arguments” that are easy to rebut. My opposition, like that of many colleagues in public education, isn’t the use of standardized tests per se: it’s the use of standardized tests as the primary means of defining “quality”. When tests are the primary measure for teacher and school quality, teachers will teach to the test. Consequently they will use more drill-like exercises and ask fewer open ended questions; they will spend more time teaching what tests measure and less time on those things tests can’t measure; and, in the end, high schools will graduate students who know the right answers but don’t know why the answers are right. Talk to colleges who are now accepting the first wave of NCLB students. Ask them if standardization works. I think you know the answer.
The very folks who are promoting more testing on the basis that we are currently NOT preparing students well enough for college are overlooking the fact that this year’s college freshmen were the first cohort who went through the NCLB testing regimen. By now, after 10 years of testing all students in grades 3-8 we should be expecting stellar results. We’re not getting the results colleges want… so why are we continuing the same practice of testing that’s been in place in most State for at least two decades?