Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Empire strikes back: Testing all the time

Sent to the Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2016

As Lois Guisbond suggests (The Answer Sheet, 12/19/16), the opt-out movement's effort to reduce testing seemed to work. Responding to parental pressure, President Obama recommended a decrease in standardized testing. But as bloggers Peggy Robertson, Morna McDermott, and Emily Talmage warned us over a year ago, the Empire was already poised to strike back.

Three days after the president's speech  (Oct. 24, 2015), the National Governors Association (NGA) issued a paper strongly supporting Competency-Based Education (CBE) (or "computer-based adaptive assessment"), a radical and expensive innovation that replaces regular instruction with online "modules" that students work through independently and then are tested on.

The NGA shrugged off the fact that research is lacking: "it includes only a few rigorous evaluations and analyses …" (NGA report, p. 6): The new education law, the "Every Student Succeeds Act." announced grants for "innovative assessments,"  explicitly mentioning Competency-Based Education.

CBE will dominate the curriculum, and CBE tests will be the basis for student, teacher, and school evaluation, transferring the responsibility of education to distant strangers who design computer programs. President Obama's call for a limit on standardized testing may have been a convenient first step toward something much worse than end-of-the-year testing: testing all the time.

Stephen Krashen

Original article: Strauss, V.  The new standardized testing craze to hit public schools  (The Answer Sheet).
Morna McDermott, Reading between the lines.
Peggy Robertson, Opt-out revolution, the next wave.
Talmage, E. 2015. What is proficiency-based learning?
National Governors Association report: Laine, R., Cohen, M., Nielson, K. and Palmer, I. 2015. Expanding Student Success: A Primer on Competency-Based Education from Kindergarten Through Higher Education. Washington, D.C.: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, October 27, 2015.
New education law (Every Student Succeeds Act): ( see sections 1201, 1204).

No comments:

Post a Comment