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“Late Bloomers” Labelled as Failures Too Early Thanks to Factory Model

March 7, 2016

One of Diane Ravitch’s February 28 blog posts featured a link to an October NYTimes article by Jessica Lahey titled “Give Late Blooming Children the Time They Need”. As those who follow this blog realize, I oppose the batching of students by age and the use of norm referenced standardized tests to determine who is prepared to progress from one “grade level” to another. Norm-referenced standardized tests by definition have 50% of the students scoring below average and in today’s argot that means that 50% of the children are failing. This “failure” is often the result of blooming late as opposed to a lack of ability. Just as every child’s physical growth varies, so too does their intellectual growth. When we declare a child an academic “star” or an academic “failure” too early we are often basing that rating on their rate of intellectual maturity and not on their ability to learn. Our insistence that all children be measured by tests that are based on an “average” rate of intellectual development is misguided and damaging to all but the most resilient. We should give all children the gift of time by abandoning the rigid age-based cohorts that provide “efficiency”.

  1. March 10, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Absolutely, we should abandon the rigid idea of what efficiency looks like. It is so very sad to think how early in a child’s life our government’s educational policies now think it proper to step in and start test-score labeling children as “failures.” ESPECIALLY those children most likely to exist anywhere outside the box of a viciously standardizing “norm.”

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