Today's Newsletter: Time For Less Standardized Testing?

Sometimes we need to laugh.
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Sometimes we need to laugh.

Sometimes we need to laugh. My state of Indiana is currently in much flux over what it will use for high-stakes testing in the future. The current ISTEP test is neither reliable nor valid by any objective standard (and many parents are opting out); however, this is old news. When schools complain about this poor test being used to “grade schools,” nothing changes. Recently, an Indianapolis TV station featured an article about new college graduates who according to their professors and G.P.A.s are ready to enter classrooms but cannot pass a certification exam. This inability to obtain a teaching certificate further exacerbates Indiana’s teaching shortage. Similar news reports have been done in Florida  and Missouri. An article from New York claims such teacher certification tests may be racially biased.

Maybe it is time we eliminate all high stakes exams for accountability’s sake and go back to trusting educators to make well informed decisions about who graduates from high school and college. We could redirect a great deal of funding from psychometricians to classrooms. I couldn’t find an up to date number of the cost but EdWeek estimated standardized testing is costing over $1.7 billion per year in 2012.

Where I am going with this? In yesterday’s EdWeek , there was an article about the steep learning curve for new state policy makers as ten have no classroom experience and only 15 have been in their office for more than two years. It is time for educators to be heard at the state and national level and I think one thing most educators agree on is a need for less standardized testing.