New Jersey has followed the trail blazed by Jeb Bush when he was governor of Florida: competition, data, accountability, choice. It is the classic formula for those who believe that competition and data are the best “drivers” of education.

Thus, New Jersey has created its own report cards to drive competition. Predictably the report cards are heavily weighted by test scores. As we have seen again and again, the pressure to raise scores creates negative consequences, such as teaching to the test, narrowing the curriculum, gaming the system, and cheating.

Here Julia Sass Rubin explains that the state’s report cards are confusing, inaccurate, and flawed in many ways.

Every policymakers should be familiar with Campbell’s Law:

“The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.”

In plain English, the higher the stakes attached to testing, the more likely it is that the testing will corrupt education by becoming the goal to which all must aspire. Testing is a measure, not the goal of education.