A recent panel convened at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) to discuss Daniel Koretz’s new book, Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us.
Mr. Koretz, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the panel raised a few interesting criticisms of our current testing regime. The focus of Mr. Koretz’s presentation was around how inflated test have created an illusion of progress since the inception of No Child Left Behind. The weight placed on meeting AYP in many cases has led to coaching, shifting of content and resources, and more. He emphasized that test scores should not be the only evaluation measure of schools and teachers. Other evidence of achievement should be considered if we want a truer picture of progress being made.
Mr. Koretz also pointed out that students’ 4th grade test scores are consistently better than those in 8th grade. He stated that whatever we’re doing right in elementary school is not sticking in secondary.
Panelist Bella Rosenberg criticized the routine benchmark testing of students. These tests are distributed to teachers with materials prepping their students for the year-end test. Mr. Koretz added that these benchmarks have narrowed the curriculum by training teachers to focus solely on the topics that will be highlighted on the test.
If you want to read more about this discussion, read Ed Week’s article about the event.
- Jacki and Laura