Friday, September 6, 2013

The testing boondoggle

Sent to the Daily Breeze, Torrance, CA Sept. 6 2013

The new tests that California students may be taking next spring are to be administered online ("Bill would overhaul testing in California schools", Sept. 5). In this year's planned trial run, only districts with enough "technical capacity" will take the tests.

But many districts lack enough up-to-date or even working computers (LA Times, "State speeds shift in student testing," Sept. 5).  If only half of our five million students need new computers, California needs to spend at least an extra 5 billion dollars for the next round of tests.

Also, even if computers are in place, there will be continual upgrades and replacements, as well as major changes as new technology is developed. We taxpayers will have to pay for all of them.

Because no evidence has been provided showing that online testing will benefit students in any way, this adventure must be considered to be a boondoggle: Whether the tests help students or not, computer and testing companies will make a lot of money taking no risk – if student achievement declines, we will be told that we need even higher-tech tests, and we will be presented with nationaltest 2.0.

Stephen Krashen

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