Test-Based Goals: Mission Accomplished?

What do we want? Don’t you generally hear ordinary citizens say, “I want my children to get a good education”? How many of we garden variety citizens say, “I want my kids to graduate from high school ready to score higher on standardized tests”?

If people don’t understand the proper uses of testing and can’t recognize the misuses of standardized achievement tests, then they can’t possibly know that the country has the wrong goal for public education — set in law and in the minds of Americans.

The “achievement gap” is defined by standardized achievement tests. It can serve as one monitor of equal opportunity. It should not be THE goal of the public education system — but IT IS!

“To close the achievement gap” is a test-based goal set by No Child Left Behind. In Idaho, our state school officer, Mr. Luna, points out that “…results not only show a majority of Idaho schools are high-performing, but also that a vast majority of students are performing at or above grade level in reading and mathematics…While I praise these results, I also know the reality behind this data: Though students are performing better than ever in K-12, they continue to struggle after high school.”

Source: Associated Press

Source: Associated Press

His conclusion is that the standards must be higher and the tests better but that is because he fails to see, or won’t admit, the flaw in the outcome-based (test-based) theory — it narrowed curriculum to what was tested and that isn’t good enough. It isn’t good education; it did meet the test-based goals.

Mission accomplished? – test scores up / students unprepared for life because of a narrowed, test-based curriculum!

UPDATE 5/4/15: The marketing of No Child Left Behind deliberately targeted the largest group we have failed to educate well – black Americans. Why would we continue with this failed outcome-based theory of reform? Because we have been told?

Hear Us: Time Out from Testing

Good riddance to 2012; progress on the education front was too sparse to view it as a productive year.

Welcome 2013! Let this be the year that the crucial voice of the people is not only heard but taken to heart and acted upon.

What is important and what message will our taxpayer-sponsored representatives and officials hear from us? Where do we find common ground on education? Ask yourself, what’s essential in order for growing children to become life-long learners? Is it measurable on a standardized test?

Citizens of the United States are obligated to meet the responsibility of providing quality K-12 education. Does that mean that pre-school and college aren’t important? No. But we must focus on our primary duty and what it will take to accomplish that task. K-12, our current system, must be the focus of our collective voices or we will be drowned out by the confusion of too many irons in the fires. We have to stop patching and start fixing — strategically.

Currently, each state is fighting or giving into education legislation that has at its core the principle belief that standardized test scores accurately judge the quality of education a child has received. It is not just an opinion that this is a false assumption; it has been proven – repeatedly – these test scores do not accurately judge a child’s ability to learn or the quality of their school experiences.

Now is the time for our collective voices to rise up and demand we stop this insane and destructive use of our tax dollars. Our precious dollars are better spent on proven school improvement processes.

It’s time for a “time-out” from test-based “reforms.” It’s time to re-evaluate and regroup. Plan to reach out to the people who work for us – the people.