In case you missed it: an important article on why standardized testing is bad -- not just in school, but in real life. It becomes possible to game the test.
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- It's hardly an indictment against standardized testing, but it is an indictment against No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and other programs that give incentives to those who could seriously game the system to do so.May 3, 2012
- Doesn't that include every student, though? I mean, given the choice between learning how to think for himself, and learning how to get a 1400 on the SATs, i know what a lot of my classmates chose, because they were rewarded for doing so.May 3, 2012
- but yes, you're right that it's worse when the standardized testing is put in a context where these sorts of institutional incentives exist to cheat the system.May 3, 2012
- Sure, but the article is more about lying and manipulating statistics to make organizations look better than they actually are. Learning to do well on standardized tests may be considered by some to be a dead-end skill set, but the same argument may be leveled against many things we humans spend our time doing.May 3, 2012
- The crux of the article, for me, is this sentence: "These are all dodges that have evolved in the era of CompStat, the NYPD's widely copied crime-fighting strategy, which ties career promotions to crime numbers, creating a strong incentive for commanders to downgrade reports."
Compare to: "The system of incentives and penalties [in No Child Left Behind] sets up a strong motivation for schools, districts and states to manipulate test results. For example, schools have been shown to employ "creative reclassification" of drop-outs (to reduce unfavorable statistics)." (Go go wikipedic knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act#.22Gaming.22_the_system)
This is only tangentially related, but I recently read some interesting posts about the utter futility of measuring teachers' "value added" more generally: http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2012/02/26/analyzing-released-nyc-value-added-data-part-1/May 3, 2012
- Wasn't "creative reclassification" of problem students one of the subplots of Pump Up the Volume? (the Christian Slater movie, not the M|A|R|R|S song)May 3, 2012