Friday, July 10, 2015

Why Standardized Testing in Schools is Utter Folly

The whole notion of evaluating teachers via student standardized tests is utter nonsense from the git-go because you have two independent, uncontrolled variables — students and teachers.

The only way you could use standardized tests to evaluate anything is to reduce the independent variables down to one: you either

Have just one teacher teaching all tested students in the same way (thereby allowing you to at least argue that variations in student performance are rooted in the students, although there are a host of variables that could affect those), or

Have only uniformly prepared and proficient students be taught by various teachers before administering the tests (thereby allowing you to isolate teaching as the variable).

Since neither of these conditions can or could ever obtain, the whole exercise is folly — expensive, destructive folly. Like private prisons, standardized tests are a case of snake-oil peddlers convincing the rubes that they need what the peddler is selling, and once they buy, they're hooked and hornswaggled into buying more and more, like the alcoholic who wants more of the hair of the dog that bit him.

To the test peddlers, there's no problem in education that can't be addressed with more and more "accountability" -- for everyone but them.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

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