Monday, April 04, 2005

F for Assessment - -

This comes from TeacherKen. He discusses an article "..written by W. James Popham, who started his career as a high school teacher in Oregon, and is professor emeritus at the University of California- Los Angeles School of Education and Information Studies. Author of 25 books, he is a former president of the American Educational Research Association, which with tens of thousands of members is the preeminent professional association for those who do research on educational issues. The article appears in the current issue of Edutopia, a magazine produced by The George Lucas Educational Foundation. ..."

In the article Dr. Popham explains what is wrong with the current testing mania in this country and lists steps for fixing it. TeacherKen provides discussion and insights.

"...One question I have often been asked as a result of the various education diaries I have posted is "what can I do?" Popham offers an answer that I hope readers will find useful. It is with this that I will conclude:

If you want to be part of the solution to this situation, it's imperative to learn all you can about educational testing. Then learn some more. For all its importance, educational testing really isn't particularly complicated, because its fundamentals consist of commonsense ideas, not numerical obscurities. You'll not only understand better what's going on in the current mismeasurement of school quality, you'll also be able to explain it to others. And those "others," ideally, will be school board members, legislators, and concerned citizens who might, in turn, make a difference. Simply hop on the Internet or head to your local library and hunt down an introductory book or two about educational assessment..."

"With a better understanding of why it is so inane -- and destructive -- to evaluate schools using students' scores on the wrong species of standardized tests, you can persuade anyone who'll listen that policy makers need to make better choices. Our 40-year saga of unsound school evaluation needs to end. Now. "

In the past, my posts on testing have always brought negative comments out. Please read this whole piece, and think about it first, before you post back to me.

Over at The Super's Blog he has cleared up something for me.

"Under NCLB, Big Government Right and Big Government Left came together on the topic of education. BG Left wanted more money for education and BG Right wanted to see the demise of public education. BG Right was willing to "invest" in it to do so, and wait it out. BG Left decided to take the money and run. I assume they thought they could bring logical accountability standards to the table during future reauthorizations of the NCLB Act. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, as time goes's less local control at every level, on every single issue."

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