Under current federal and state laws, test scores are supposed to go higher every year. Every year, the students are a different cohort, but their scores must be higher than those who preceded them. High expectations–no matter how unrealistic–are supposed to produce high achievement. Think of it this way, if students are running track and can barely jump over a 3′ bar, raise the bar to 4′ and see what happens. The assumption (usually by politicians) is that raising the bar will cause students to jump higher. But many will fail because the theory doesn’t work.

A seventh -grade teacher in a Title I (high-poverty) school in Texas writes:

“I can say from personal experience that the “scores” are ripping my department apart. Last year two-thirds of our group were shuffled between grades because of low test scores. Result, even worse scores this year. All I can say is that failure begins at the top. Ugly comments have been made, morale could not be lower.. The students are beginning to check out.

“Is it worth it all?”