Saturday, April 6, 2013

Homework for Parents: Thinking about a Change-Agent School Model

Please watch this video and think about schools & testing.

For extra credit, see the end of the post.

Those who wish to improve schooling seem to think that accountability will lead us there. Okay. But their next thought evidences some very faulty thinking. For they go on to say that we can make schools accountable by giving students standardized tests. The faulty thinking often goes farther to say that by comparing test scores, we can tell good schools from bad ones. Then based on that, we can close down the low-scoring schools and give money and resources to the schools & teachers with high test scores.

Thing is: you cannot measure the quality of a school with a standardized test.

Any standardized testing regime will actually narrow the curriculum to not much more than the fill-in-the-bubble skills that those tests measure. Along the way—as recent experience in Atlanta shows—you give incentive to school officials to cheat to get those test scores up.

Standardized tests measure schools the way rulers measures music: They don't.

Thanks for Alfie Kohn's Twitter feed for this.

Extra credit: be a change agent and let others know that test scores are not evidence of school quality. We must look much more deeply and carefully at what makes a school a quality experience for children.

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