i by no means intended to convey that the educational system, its successes AND failures, should not be measured. i as a taxpayer also would like to know exactly how my dollars are “working”… much like the fee usage signs around the national parks as of late, which i do stop to read every once in awhile…. short descriptions of how this new project is helping a certain national forest or wilderness area… while the logging truck passes by me, and another, and another…..
but back to assessment. i guess what i intended to communicate was the fact that standardized tests, although cost effective? expensive? – (and i take this moment to make a correction since i did have to take a series of standardized test called the CSET in order to prove my competency in the subject matter of social studies… hurt to pay for those) should not be the “chief determiner” of the success/failure of neither the students, teachers, or the system in general… although i do feel that you can make substantial inferences about an educational system that expects quality yet is obsessed with measuring quantity. this article on the PTA national website brings up some good points for the benefit of parents. the parents being one of the chief determining factors of student achievement. for a less “fair and balanced” perspective, this article by Alfie Kohn speaks about the implications of our nation’s perception, treatment, expectation, and support of our schools and students.
what we should focus on is varied assessment, that may provide more information about what and how our students are learning. assessments that measure not only recalled facts and one mode logical reasoning to bypass trick test questions, but ones that measure students ability to think critical about an issue, analyze and evaluate it, and most importantly create and communicate the fruits of their ideas. we need more ways to see these things. or maybe i just need to read between the bubbles?