Myra Blackmon, journalist in Georgia, writes here about the testing resistance that is growing by the day,
“Despite Georgia’s ridiculous “assessment” of college and career readiness, it’s impossible to predict how the life of a first- or second-grader will turn out.
“All the tests we administer can’t predict a child’s future. The tests don’t measure real learning. They measure test-taking ability.
Research has shown that test scores are most accurate in measuring the socioeconomic level of the student.
“That’s correct. We use tests that don’t measure teacher competence or student learning to make or break careers, categorize children and place them in certain groups or pathways. We assume poor test scores mean a poor teacher, when often the opposite is true.
“We are obsessed with our ridiculous tests. The state legislature insists that test scores make up at least 50 percent of a teacher’s performance evaluation. The lobbyists for Pearson, McGraw-Hill and others fund the campaign coffers of candidates and court high-level administrators to convince them we need more testing. And more testing is exactly what we get.
“What if we spent those millions on authentic testing, that actually allows students to demonstrate mastery of content by performing an action, doing a presentation or building something that explains the concept? What if we spent some of those millions on more observation in the classroom, or gathering feedback from parents and students that actually tells us how the teacher works with children, assigns homework, provides extra help or many of the myriad other indicators of professional competence?
“Why is it so easy to say, “Every child learns in a different way,” and at the same time insist on testing them all in exactly the same way? We have become so blinded by our obsession with accountability that the testing, not the accountability, has become the priority.
“There is a growing wave of anti-testing action across the country. Some states (including Georgia) have rolled back graduation tests.
I’ve read of several dozen school boards that have passed resolutions protesting the outrageous waste of time, resources and money of high-stakes testing. Thousands of parents opt their children out of the tests each year.
“Do you see where the resistance to testing is coming from? It is from the parents, teachers and school boards who are in the trenches of public education every day. It is from those who actually teach children and study how they learn and what they need to thrive and grow.
“Do you see where the resistance hits the brick wall? In state legislatures and the U.S. Department of Education. Those are the folks who get millions in support from the Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the testing companies. Those mega-wealthy people wouldn’t dream of subjecting their own children to what they insist is essential for all others.
“Money talks. Money wins. At least until the people who know what is right make enough noise, opt out of enough tests, and vote for people who agree with them. It is time to rise up.”