Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Does "Success" in Testing Lose Something in Translation?

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From the way education is being rewritten by reformers today, you would think success in life equates with scores on high-stakes tests concocted for political ends by people who probably would have failed these tests, themselves, in grade school.  You would think we are all suddenly failing in life.  You would think students, teachers, parents (see the thoughts of Duncan and Rhee here) and their schools are all to blame, not the "reformers" themselves.

But what if these tests themselves were failures?  Some have been shown to be flawed.  What if success on these tests didn't translate into success in life?  What if our children are guinea pigs of a failed experiment to which so many of the reformers refuse to subject their own children?  The Success Academy kids do well on State tests, but when they take the Citywide test for elite high schools, not one single kid can pass.  It's a classic case of studying for the wrong test.  "Success" is lost in translation.

Tests don't measure how the brains of a kid work.  They don't measure a teacher's skill.  They merely measure how well a student prepped or was prepped on a specific body of information--which largely seems to fail to translate outside of its own narrow scope.  It's time to evaluate the self-proclaimed testing "gods" for what they're really worth.  They are false idols.  If you think there's something lost in translation, you're right!

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