Monday, March 30, 2015

When You are Forbidden from Knowing the Full Extent of the Charges Against You

There is a strange paradox to high-stakes standardized testing.  Proctors of the exam are under a gag order (legally challenged) not to discuss the contents.  The social media of students is monitored to make sure they do not divulge any questions.

Fifty-percent of the exams are released, but the other fifty percent remains top secret.  One would like to know "how the other half lives"!  Some questions are invalidated under the cover of darkness.  Then, students, teachers and schools are evaluated high-stakes style based upon these sometimes flawed exams, the contents of which must supposedly remain largely shrouded in secrecy.  Oh, the bitter irony of it all!

I have never met a standardized test for which students could not successfully prep  or be prepped based on prior questions.  Here, I could quote a long list of exams I have passed along  the road of life:  NYS Regents tests, SATs, GREs, AP tests and even the written portion of the NYS driver's test.  On top of being forbidden from knowing the complete contents of the Common-Core tests, NYS passed a law limiting test prep in district schools, but not in charters.  If it wasn't true, it would be too funny!

It is ironic that administrators, teachers and students are forbidden to know the full contents of exams that largely determine their fates in life.  It is as if one is forbidden in a court of law from knowing the charges against one.  If one cannot know the test questions, "justice," indeed, will be blind, but only in the worst way!
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