Home > Uncategorized > Studies Show No Connection Between Test Scores and Life Outcomes… But, Nevertheless, Testing Persists!

Studies Show No Connection Between Test Scores and Life Outcomes… But, Nevertheless, Testing Persists!

March 16, 2018

Diane Ravitch exhumed a blog post by Jay P. Greene, a charter school advocate, who begrudgingly acknowledged that there was no demonstrable link between standardized test scores and “later outcomes in life“. He writes:

If increasing test scores is a good indicator of improving later life outcomes, we should see roughly the same direction and magnitude in changes of scores and later outcomes in most rigorously identified studies.  We do not.  I’m not saying we never see a connection between changing test scores and changing later life outcomes (e.g. Chetty, et al); I’m just saying that we do not regularly see that relationship.  For an indicator to be reliable, it should yield accurate predictions nearly all, or at least most, of the time.

This is unsurprising. As Ms. Ravitch has noted in her books and blog posts the US has lagged in international test scores from the time they were initially issued and yet our economy has thrived and the general well-being of our population has improved. As many researchers have noted there is no correlation between SAT scores and success in college and yet post-secondary schools continue to use those test scores as a primary metric for accepting students.

And Mr. Greene, a proponent of charters and choice and heretofore a proponent of using standardized tests as a metric for measuring school effectiveness, was compelled to re-think his position on tests after examining rigorous research on their effectiveness as a predictor:

If we explored the most common use of test scores — examining the level of proficiency — there are no credible researchers who believe that is a reliable indicator of school or program quality.

It would be helpful if other advocates of charters and choice looked beyond test scores as well.

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