Tests have always demonstrated that when it comes to educational achievement, a socioeconomic and racial inequality exists in this country. That is our educational legacy — to date.
The obvious was clearly stated by the National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children in 1966 in saying that some children “have not lived in a world of books, or of ideas” and consequentially, “they have not understood concepts in tests devised for the majority of the children of our schools.” These tests better measure “the results of the child’s opportunity for learning more accurately than his capacity for present or future learning.”
Said another way, standardized tests are one indicator of equality of opportunity, not necessarily the quality of education.
As Douglas B. Reeves, in 101 Questions & Answers about Standards, Assessment, and Accountability, stated in discussing standardized tests, “What these tests can never do is measure a broad concept such as ‘educational quality’ of schools and teachers, and the tests certainly do not measure the general knowledge of students.” But how are we using them today?
We are failing to follow the “Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education” which includes “the recommended uses” for tests and the necessity for understanding “the strengths and limitations of the test” we are using. There are ethical and unethical uses of testing and the data they produce. But no one is being called into account for misuse and abuse of tests and the data they produce.
The whole foundation of the national education reform movement has been based on “OUTPUTS” as judged by standardized achievement tests.
Equality in opportunity cannot be built upon a foundation of sand.
Part 7 of ten blogs on The Road to Educational Quality and Equality that started with The March Begins.