Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Monday, November 11, 2013

Standardized tests poor indicators of cognitive outcomes

kwheatley comment, the Answer Sheet
Unfortunately, standardized tests are often poor indicators of even the cognitive outcomes we care about because the low-level knowledge and skills are what is easiest and cheapest to test. For example, many "reading tests" don't really test reading comprehension, and faster-climbing scores can actually signal inferior instruction. Ditto for mathematics.

I recommend reading "Standardized Minds" or "The Paradoxes of High-Stakes Testing" or "Making the Grades" for more on the limitations of these tests.

Unfortunately, one of the things we know about human development is that the physical, emotional, motivational, and cognitive are all connected and affect one another reciprocally. The idea that one can successfully improve education while attending to low-level cognitive outcomes but ignoring emotions, motivation, or even health and fitness is too silly for words.

Sadly, the very "reforms" intended to close the test score gap between rich and poor often make the real learning gap wider because the poorest kids get the most impoverished kind of test prep instead of getting a real education.

And no, teachers have not always taught to the test, and in fact, teaching to the test has been considered educational malpractice for much of my time in the field. Teaching to the test is like having a patient drink cold water before taking their temperature, then pretending you've cured the infection that caused their fever.
The Answer Sheet

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Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo