Standardized testing does not measure “critical skills.”
What they do measure is questionable, and the effects of high stakes testing do not seem to bring the sort of desired results as predicted when such testing practices were implemented. Using such tests to measure school performance started in Texas and it looks as though the effort might just end there.
Thanks to the foresight of George W. Bush, high stakes testing later became the model and measuring stick for school performance under the No Child Left Behind Act. Over the past decade, this has resulted two unfortunate, but highly predictable, outcomes:
- Schools “teach to the test” so that scores will be high – and student learning has suffered;
- Abuse and cheating occur because of the financial incentives to schools and individuals – e.g., Atlanta.
Maybe the time is arriving when educators start to rethink what they are doing and focus on teaching and learning of substantive matters – rather than how to choose a multiple choice answer or “none of the above.”
Let’s hope so.