Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Capitulation disguised as moderation

Saying "standardized tests aren't everything, but they aren't nothing" under today's testing climate is capitulation disguised as moderation.

I mean, let's not pretend that a balance of assessments exist. Standardized testing is not only the default dip-stick, but it's largely the only dip-stick. In other words, standardized testing holds a monopoly over both assessment and accountability. Which should be more than a little disturbing since assessment should be a tool of the teacher and learner and not a tool of the government.

Just like business should not be mixed with pleasure, neither should assessment be mixed with accountability.

And yet, it is not unheard of for even seemingly child-oriented educational leaders to unwittingly become accomplices to standardized testing. There is a healthy number of well-intentioned, progressive educators who may be the first to rationalize a kind of pragmatism towards these tests.

Just like how capitulation can be disguised as moderation, so can pragmatism disguise itself as nothing more than inaction and apathy.

Don't get me wrong, I have a very good idea how tight the testing tendrils are clenched around our education system, but that should be even more reason to fight the testing juggernaut - and not as justification for resigning ourselves to the status quo.

So how does anything change?

Educators don't lack the research and direction to oppose standardized testing, but they do largely lack the courage...

...the public doesn't lack the courage to oppose standardized testing, but they do largely lack the research and direction...

...together, we all need to see standardized testing for what it is - a political movement that must be opposed.

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