Standardized Testing

While pursuing my Master’s Degree I asked my principal, “What should be the education platform for the next ten years?” As this was now more than ten years ago, I am further amazed by his vision. He shared three particularly poignant responses:

  • Students need to learn things and then use them.
  • We need to take advantage of brain research to start teaching in ways that kids learn.
  • Get rid of testing because it’s totally driving curriculum.

Since that time, we have begun to implement the first two ideas. The third may have gone backwards as evidenced by this article about testing and another report suggests similar conclusions. Perhaps one question worth considering is whether more testing leads to more learning. A key might be in how we utilize testing.

Summative Approach  Judge schools and school districts. Reward the best, punish the worst, and publicize results in the newspaper. Evaluate principals and teachers.

Formative Approach  Assess schools and school districts. Publicize current strengths and action plans for weaknesses in the newspaper. Support students and staff in learning more.

This is sure to become a hot topic if it isn’t already. What’s your opinion?


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