Archive for September 19, 2011
This is a nice op-ed piece. The point is that testing is useful for teachers. It’s too easy to fool ourselves as teachers and believe that our own testing is good enough. Yes, our education system has lots of problems with it, but standardized testing can help to expose the problems. It is not itself the problem. I like another line in this essay: “Standardized testing reflects the curricular priorities of a state’s education agenda. Blaming the test for the shortcomings of that agenda is like blaming the barometer for the weather.”
When I “depoliticized” the test, I found a useful and flawed ally. The exam excelled where I struggled, offering comprehensive and standards-based assessments. I thrived where the test fell short, designing creative, performance-based projects. Together, we were strategic partners. I designed and graded innovative projects—my students participated in court trials for Shakespearean characters—and the test provided a rubric that guided my evaluation of student learning.
The test didn’t make my students smarter. It made the teacher smarter. I learned that my job wasn’t simply to encourage students to relentlessly pursue knowledge. I needed to constantly test what I thought I knew about teaching.