Evaluating the total learning experience for either students or teachers through high stakes testing has no real research base and holds little value for students. Let’s not confuse the high-stakes testing movement with the practice of effective and meaningful assessment.
I believe there is consensus among educators that conversations regarding school transformation must shift from problems and failure to solutions and successes.
It is clear that the annual testing merry-go-round is not going to get the results we want: all students engaged and performing at high levels. Rather, this fixation on ratings through high stakes testing is so entrenched that we are missing the bigger picture about the true purpose of our classrooms.
By using data insightfully, we can understand where students are at any point in time. This is done through realistic and sensible formative assessment measures of growth, and we are able to personalize learning in ways not possible in high stakes testing environments where results are delayed by months. Educators don’t need or want to wait for post-test or end-of-year summative test results to understand how well students understand critical concepts and skills.
From a previous Washington Post interview:
He said he created a new structure — not a script — for teachers that includes “non-negotiable practices” for student achievement centering around four questions:
*What do you want kids to know?He instituted common planning in every grade level, and the consistent use of student performance data from teacher-created assessments to inform instructions.
*How do you know?
*What do you do when they don’t know?
*Do you know then?
“You can’t solve social inequities on a test,” he said, speaking about the standardized test-based reform efforts that have taken root around the country. “It’s ludicrious.”
A last statement from his op-ed:
We are on the cusp of making radical transformations without the high-stakes testing regiment, but it is up to the educators, administrators, parents and students to demand this change come to fruition.
The only power those parents have in this discussion is opting out. I certainly wish it was different but I have seen no evidence that schools/districts have the power to stop a machine coming from the state/federal level. Starving the state/feds of data points will certainly slow down or force course correction.