Monday, August 12, 2013

Too Much Emphasis on Tests: Biased and Unfair to Kids

From the August 10 Detroit Free Press:

As politicians design school reforms, they compare America to other countries, and our values of individuality, creativity, achievement and citizenship, and fail to see that our educational systems indeed sustain these values.
We are not Singapore or Finland.
The true fault with our educational system is that it uses only tests to determine student, teacher and school achievement. If a student has a good memory, writes well and can read and do math quickly, then the he will score effectively on the test. If a student is good with her hands, remembers best through hearing, and struggles with a pencil, then the child will not score effectively on the test.
This does not mean that one of these children is smart and one is dumb; it means that the standardized test they took measured intelligence in only one way.
Our standardized testing system is unfair and biased. It perpetuates sameness and ensures that some kids fail, regardless of their work ethic, abilities and aptitudes or the quality of their teacher.
Until an educational reform plan — teacher evaluation, choice and charters, consolidation, curriculum — expands the definition of intelligence, it cannot universally improve student, teacher or school achievement.
Rod Rock
Superintendent,
Clarkston Community Schools
*I will follow up with 2+ more opinion pieces on this topic.

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