Home > Uncategorized > When it Comes to Standardized Testing, “Do We Want to Go Back to Where We Were or Do We Want to Stop and Think?” The Answer is Obvious!

When it Comes to Standardized Testing, “Do We Want to Go Back to Where We Were or Do We Want to Stop and Think?” The Answer is Obvious!

February 3, 2021

A Financial times article by Bethan Staton that Peter Greene linked to in a Twitter post poses this question by Bill Lucas, director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the UK’s Winchester university:

“Survey after survey says creativity, critical-thinking and communications are what we need. Exams don’t assess those things,” Mr Lucas said. “Covid has forced us to ask the question: ‘do we want to go back to where we were or do we want to stop and think?’”

It seems that across the globe, educational leaders are viewing the suspension of tests do to COVID-19 as a once in a lifetime chance to stop and think…. and when they do, more and more are concluding that high stakes pencil-and-paper exams do NOT assess for the skills that are needed in today’s world.

As Ms. Staton notes in her article, educators across the globe have long questioned the validity of these tests as a bar to entry in universities and several nations and school districts had adopted alternatives like the International Baccalaureate program to measure student learning in secondary schools. But the suspension of tests in 2020, the probable suspension in 2021, and the resulting suspension of their use as an entry requirement at most colleges and universities COULD mean the demise of testing altogether.

And while testing traditionalists like Andreas Schleicher of the OECD believe standardized tests will “rebound” once the pandemic is behind us, progressive educators see hope that broader assessments will gain a foothold in the future and, when combined with formal content and skill tests:

Mr Lucas also accepts that proper educational evaluations are always likely to be a hybrid mix that includes formal tests for key skills such as literacy and numeracy. Beyond that, however, he saw enormous scope for a diverse, student-curated and teacher-validated method of assessing young people. “The real energy now — across the world — is in coming up over the next two years with research and prototyping that develops really credible, reliable and valid ways of assessing young people’s talents.”

Tests are one area where if we stop and think, it might be possible to envision a new and better way to educate students and measure their learning.

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