Assess the Assessment: Deadly Bullet Points
Here is a list of my summary comments:
- The idea that learning occurs on a schedule, in a standardized fashion for all students is ill informed.
- The legitimacy of using a single test given one time and one time only is not a legitimate way to grade instruction nor the instructor.
- There are serious validity errors statistically and content wise with high stakes testing. In real life, there is not 'only one test', nor 'only one correct answer' much less a perfect question.
- Furthermore, although a teacher can be very influential in a students life, our students do not come to us in a standardized fashion: they do not have the same life experiences, communication skills, health, aptitude, home conditions, curiosity, etc. The idea that they will all leave in standardized levels is really asinine.
- The focus on testing and preparing for the test is killing our students and teachers love for learning, creativity, and healthy response when there is a lack of success.
- Finally, the most important things that a teacher is charged with building into our students is not on 'the test', nor can it easily be assessed.
As the sociologist William Bruce Cameron wrote: "It would be nice if all of the data which sociologists require could be enumerated because then we could run them through IBM machines and draw charts as the economists do. However, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)