August 8, 2013
Regarding Norman R. Augustine's Aug. 2 Washington Forum column, " A test we can't afford to skip ": The burgeoning movement against high-stakes testing recognizes that the United States cannot test and punish its way to better schools. The problem is not a failure to appreciate the value of standardized exams but damage to educational quality. Mr. Augustine conflated high "standards" with the low-quality multiple-choice tests used to measure them. He ignored how testing has taken over many classrooms,...
September 23, 2011 |
When Frederick J. Kelly invented the multiple-choice test in 1914, he was addressing a national crisis. The ranks of students attending secondary school had swollen from 200,000 in 1890 to more than 1.5 millionas immigrants streamed onto American shores, and as new laws made two years of high school compulsory for everyone and not simply a desirable option for the college bound. World War I added to the problem, creating a teacher shortage with men fighting abroad and women working in factories...
June 26, 2008
Dear Extra Credit : It was the night before my third-grade-history Standards of Learning test, and I was studying flashcards. I had them memorized to a T, but I realize now that I knew absolutely nothing of consequence. As my mom read the name on the card, Paul Revere, I parroted back the exact words on the flashcard: "The British are coming! The British are coming!" But I didn't know who he was or what his historical significance was. In fact, I told my mom it didn't matter.
December 15, 2012 |
For more than a decade, school standardized tests have been the magic keys that were supposed to unlock the door to a promised realm of American students able to read and do sums as well as their counterparts in Asia and Europe. A generation of U.S. education reformers has assured us that if we would just rely mostly on test scores and other hard data to guide decisions, then all manner of good results would ensue. Foundations gave millions of dollars to encourage it. The Obama administration embraced...
May 20, 2013 |
All Virginia students will have to log on to a computer to take this year's Standards of Learning tests, making Virginia one of the only states to wholly abandon the nearly ubiquitous paper-and-pencil bubble sheets. With spring testing in reading and math underway in many schools this week, the move to electronic tests means that Virginia, one of the few states that did not adopt national academic standards, has become a model for the dozens of states that did. Those states are scrambling to meet a...
April 8, 2011 |
Standardized testing rules the world of American education these days, in case you hadn't noticed. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top , college admissions and the nation's very future all revolve around performance on standardized exams. Business leaders, Obama administration officials, big-city school superintendents and opinion-makers all preach that America must raise our test scores, given that we've fallen dangerously behind the Chinese, the Finns, the Liechtensteiners and plenty...