There’s a week approaching that usually arrives when the weather warms. No, not Spring Break. This week is all about stress, skill, competition, failure, and success: state standardized testing. For students, it means blood-shot eyes and frazzled nerves. For parents, some are worried but not enough. For politicians, it’s either a feather in a cap or out the window. For school districts, it’s an expensive headache. The state claims it’s a performance review, but exactly who needs to be reviewed is open for debate. What’s the real purpose of all this testing? Good question.
Nearly 80 years ago, a group of educators from the University of Iowa developed a way to determine the strengths and weaknesses of pupils and improve classroom instruction. Back then and through the 70’s, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills was given to students in half the country. Other schools used the California Achievement Test, but both were only one day’s worth of math, reading, and filling in little ovals with a #2 pencil. Those days are now weeks. Those ovals are now followed by 5-paragraph essays. Those pencils will soon be replaced by laptops. Much has changed with school testing over the last 40 years, but not everyone is happy about it.
This is a story I contributed to a new website dedicated to education. I’ve had these thoughts for a long time but no reason to type them all out. This new website is as good a reason as any.
Please click on either the picture above or this link right here to read the rest of the story…