thinking handcuffs, they simply don't let us see anything of any value. The best teachers know that any attempt to reduce something as rich and messy as learning to a number or symbol is infinitely fogood Anyone using data must understand that what we see largely depends on what we look for - and because multiple choice exams equate to a kind of
In my experience, the people who work most closely with kids are the most likely to understand how harmful standardized testing is. Many teachers – particularly those who are very talented – have what might be described as a dislike/hate relationship with these exams. Support for testing seems to grow as you move away from the students, going from teacher to principal to central office administrator to school board member to state board member, state legislator, and governor. Those for whom classroom visits are occasional photo opportunities are most likely to be big fans of testing and to offer self-congratulatory sound bites about the need for “tougher standards” and “accountability.” The more that parents and other members of the community learn about these tests, the more critical of them – if not appalled by them -- they tend to become.
You know it's a bad assessment if it's multiple choice. Multiple choice tests can be clever but they can't be authentic. You can't learn what kids know and what they can do with what they know, if they can't generate a response - or at least explain a response. Or as one expert in psychometrics told me many years ago, "Alfie don't you get it, multiple choice tests are designed so lots of students who understand the material will be tricked into picking the wrong response". That's why teachers would never dream of giving a multiple choice test of their own design because the same thing applies there.
So who would ever do this to children?
I call them The Suits.
Let me explain:
I've written before that accountability has come to be defined as More control for people outside of the classroom over those who are in the classroom, and I often refer to these life-sucking, data mongers as The Suits; and if schools are to be ran by these Suits who don't even work in the same building as the kids, they need data to drive everyone else's decisions.
The Suits may need multiple choice tests, but we don't need either of them.
Before you give another multiple choice exam, go ahead and ask cui bono?