Jonathan Pelto reports that Paul Vallas, the interim superintendent of Bridgeport, CT, has ordered that students there take three rounds of tests in addition to the Connecticut state tests.

This is indicative of a common fallacy among education reformers. They tend to think that the cure for low test scores is to take more tests. They think that the answer to low scores is to raise standards even higher.

By taking more tests, students will learn how important the tests are, they will get used to taking tests, they will be more ready for the next test. The problem with this reasoning is that testing is not teaching. Students are learning test-taking skills, which have no real value outside of K-12 schooling. This is not a skill in high demand anywhere else. More time for testing means less time for teaching. Less time for teaching means less time for learning.

Raising standards higher when kids can’t reach the ones you have is pointless. It’s like saying that if 50% of the children can’t jump over a 3-foot bar, the answer is to raise it to 4-feet. Next stop: grade inflation and credit recovery.

Bottom line: dumbing down education.

What these students need: more and better instruction.