How often have you learned something for a test, then promptly forgot it?

One of the goals of education surely is to instill a love of learning and to build a foundation of knowledge that one can draw upon and increase in future learning.

Steven Singer notes that a steady diet of standardized testing may actually undermine learning. 

He begins:

The main goal of schooling is no longer learning.

It is test scores.

Raising them. Measuring growth. Determining what each score means in terms of future instruction, opportunities, class placement, special education services, funding incentives and punishments, and judging the effectiveness of individual teachers, administrators, buildings and districts.

We’ve become so obsessed with these scores – a set of discrete numbers – that we’ve lost sight of what they always were supposed to be about in the first place – learning.

In fact, properly understood, that’s the mission of the public school system – to promote the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Test scores are just supposed to be tools to help us quantify that learning in meaningful ways.

Somewhere along the line we’ve misconstrued the tool for the goal. And when you do that, it should come as no surprise that you achieve the goal less successfully.