Other than battling budget cuts and school deregulation, Oklahoma educators want our state to reduce the high-stakes, standardized testing our students must be subjected to each year.
A colleague recently mentioned that when she talks about testing to parents or other people who are not educators, they do not see the concern. Commonly, their response is that they took standardized tests in school and suffered no ill effects.
My colleague stated that testing is different now.
But how is it different?
Quoted by education historian Diane Ravitch and written by W. James Popham, a professor emeritus at the graduate school of education and information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, the following article points out that the problem with schools in Oklahoma, and our country in general, is that testing for comparison (sorting and ranking) purposes has dominated our education system for almost a century.
While today’s high stakes testing roots go back for decades, the high-stakes nature have intensified over the past decade, since the signing of No Child Left Behind in 2002.
W. James Popham: The Fatal Flaw of Educational Assessment
Today’s educational tests are intended to satisfy three primary purposes, all of which can play a constructive role in students’ education: to compare, to instruct, and to evaluate.
Comparison-focused educational tests permit us to identify score-based differences among individual students or among groups of students. The resulting comparisons often lead to classifications of students’ scores on a student-by-student basis (such as by using percentiles) or on a group-by-group basis (such as by distinguishing between “proficient” and “nonproficient” students).