Apr 21, 2012

ARTICLE: The Pineapple and Oz

The Pineapple Story Tests Us: Have Test Publishers become Unquestionable Authorities?

If you've not heard, a reading question from New York's state test was released.

"This story is remarkable for several reasons. First of all, the patent absurdity of the questions. In today's data-driven world, the scores these student achieve could be used to end a teacher's career. But there are many test questions that are of questionable quality. Scientist Robert Krampf this week also found major errors in Florida's Science FCAT test."

"Teachers who give standardized tests are required to sign affidavits swearing they will not copy the tests, or divulge their contents. Thus teachers are forbidden from airing concerns they might have about the contents of the tests. The tests have become the ultimate authorities in our schools, and the test publishers are virtually unquestionable. The standardized testing technocracy has convinced our policy makers that the only way we will be competitive in the world is if everyone learns the same information, and has that learning measured in ever-finer increments. We are not supposed to look behind the curtain to see the way this data is arrived at." 

"But teachers cannot discuss publicly, let alone challenge the content of the tests, and the test publishers will not even discuss it when the questions are somehow made public. How long will we pretend that this is any way to teach our students to be critical, creative thinkers?"

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