Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A r-r-r-radical 10-year plan for new tests

In a report that was set for release this week, a panel of top education research and policy experts has come up with a 10-year plan for states to develop a "radically" different systems of assessments that supposedly "go beyond identifying student achievement for accountability purposes and toward improving classroom instruction and giving greater insight into how children learn."

Edweek's headline reads: "Commission Calls for 'Radically Different' Tests."
Joanne Weiss, the chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan but not part of the commission, said the report "shines a needed spotlight on the future of assessment, pushing us to make the next stages of this vital work coherent, coordinated, and sustainable." 
I love the clever spotlight metaphor. And while I don't think the word radical ever belongs in the same sentence with the word testing, I'm glad that there must be some growing critique of the current testing madness.

However the obvious implication is that current testing and assessment policies are deeply flawed and needing radical improvement. If that is the case, why a 10-year plan for change? Just think of the many potentially destroyed teaching careers and shuttered schools hanging in the balance with current high-stakes testing practices.

Moving right along from the "radical" to the "realistic" we find Eric Hanushek's defense of current and past testing practices. In his exchange with Deb Meier over at Bridging Differences, Hanushek says testing has been really great for education since scores have gone up and there's "overwhelming evidence that they measure skills that are rewarded in the labor market and that affect the viability of our national economy."

Of course there is that little problem of the ever-widening so-called achievement gap, which Hanuskek calls "embarassing." So Hanushek must be referring to the white-only labor market.


  1. This radical has an even BETTER, MORE radical plan: how's about NO standardized tests & giving the money spent on them back to the
    ...students. Oh, wait--that's TOO radical.

  2. Thanks Mike, for pointing to the real racist nature of current testing plans. Nothing radical about them.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.