Home > Uncategorized > Batching Based on Standardized Tests from Birth to Kindergarten: The Inevitable Consequence of the Factory Model

Batching Based on Standardized Tests from Birth to Kindergarten: The Inevitable Consequence of the Factory Model

Diane Ravitch wrote a post yesterday lamenting the recommendations of “From Crawling to Walking” a recent report from the New America foundation. The report examines the learning gaps that exist when children enter school and offers a set of recommendations on how to fix those gaps. Their solution is predictable: set age-based learning standards from the very outset of life, give standardized tests to determine if the children are meeting the standards, and collect data to determine the most effective way to provide effective instruction. This is a terrible idea for a number of reasons… but one that is entirely predictable given the tenacity of the factory model of schooling that aligns learning with age and confuses learning rates with intellectual capacity.

As long as we group and assess children by age cohorts standardization will prevail. The grouping of children by age cohorts leads to the notion that a “child is not ready” for Kindergarten which leads to policy makers objectifying and quantifying “Kindergarten readiness”. These “readiness standards” are then mapped backwards to age levels— a constant that is easy to determine— and then measured by “standardized tests”.

Over 25 years ago Ron Edmunds decried the fact that we had it backward in our public schools: we had time as a constant and learning as a variable. And here’s the real shame: we are about to see Congress pass yet another bill that mandates that standardized tests be administered to batches of students grouped by age… the factory school model from the 1920s lives on!

And here’s the real shame of it: we have the capability to match our curriculum to the child instead of setting the curriculum and then proclaiming there is a “gap” between the child’s “ability” and the ultimately arbitrary standards we set. We need to get it right. We need to make time the variable and learning constant.

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