Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm for testing - sort of.

Schools matter quotes a letter to the editor of the NYTimes:
"All educators understand the necessity of assessment, but it is our obligation to do the minimum amount of testing necessary, and no more. Every minute spent testing that is not necessary bleeds time from learning, and every dollar spent on testing that is not necessary is stolen from investments that really need to be made in schools. Any new education law should result in less testing, not more. - Stephen Krashen"

Apologies to Stephen but state-wide testing, done right, doesn't bleed anything or "steal money" from anything, really. Using loaded words does get you published but it doesn't make your argument any better.

If I had my druthers, I'd have testing that would happen mid-course and end of course. These would be called Midterm Exam and Final Exam. The exams would not be written by the teacher but by a group made up from the district. Exams should at least be department-wide. Scoring would be be done by the teacher, but with other teachers being able to review the materials. Multiple choice is half. Clearly defined scoring for the student-constructed response section. All teachers aware of the curriculum and of the topics on the exam.

That's it. Two tests. Every grade at the same time.
No assemblies. No illnesses. No field trips. No sports dismissals. No bullying seminars. No peer mediations. No suspensions. No doctor's appointments. No guidance appointments. No excuses.

If you want a nationwide test, that would take place at the same time for every student tested and would count somehow. Like the SAT.

Now that I think about it, giving everyone an SAT in October of their senior year would be cheaper and more accurate than the silly state-written things I've seen so far.


  1. Brilliant!! I could agree to this.

  2. Exactly what I've always thought. Have them just take the SAT. The system is already in place, and most colleges require it for admission anyway. Besides all of which, you'd be able to compare performance to student scores nationwide.

  3. In addition to national health care do you also want national education? If so, is there any field in which you think the federal government should not have its fingers?