Saturday, December 26, 2020

No Test In 2021 (A BS Test Reader)

Among the many things that the new secretary of education really needs to do upon taking office, a big simple one is this--cancel the Big Standardized Test for 2021. I've been banging the "Get Rid of the BS Test" drum for years, but all the reasons it's a lousy, toxic, destructive-and-not-even-useful force in education are amplified a hundred-fold by our current pandemess. 

Many wise folks have pointed this out, like Andrea Gabor at Bloomberg and the indispensable Mercedes Schneider at her own blog. Also, this piece by Lorrie Shepard at EdWeek. And I've been pointing it out, too, both here at the Institute and over at Forbes. So rather than whipping up a new skin for old wine, I'm going to offer this selection of my pieces from the past that all work to make the argument. Read, peruse, and most of all, share so that the tiny who-like chorus can pierce the beltway. Because waiving 2021's test would take the New Secretary five minutes and be hugely beneficial to students and schools in the US.

Is the Big Standardized Test a Big Standardized Flop?

A couple of years ago, some members of the education disruptors club, especially Jay Greene, started to admit that the BS Test wasn't actually connected to real world results.

Six Arguments For Giving the Test in 2021 (And Why Biden's Ed Secretary Should Ignore Them)

At Forbes, my most recent rebuttals to the standard "we have to give these tests" arguments. 

ESEA Hearing: What Wasn't Answered

The hearings about the newer, betterer education law included discussion of testing, but not terribly productive and often falling into the same old traps:

Predictive power is not causation. Let's take a stroll through a business district and meet some random folks. I'll bet you that the quality of their shoes is predictive of the quality of their cars and their homes. Expensive shoes predict a Lexus parked in front of a five story grand gothic mansion.
It does not follow, however, that if I buy really nice shoes for all the homeless people in that part of town, they will suddenly have expensive homes and fancy cars.

A look, once again, at how test-centric schooling triggers Campbell's Law and makes a mess out of education.

Does Your School Suffer From Advance Testivitis

When a school has too completely absorbed the test-driven arguments, it demonstrates these troubling symptoms. This is how the BS Test ruins a school.

Testing expert Daniel Koretz wrote a book that lays out everything folks need to understand about how the testocracy has become a snare and a delusion. Pray that the new ed secretary reads this book and takes it to heart.

A quick simple list of the reasons that parents can skip the BS Test with a clear conscience.

A reminder that part of the absurdity surrounding the test is the giant cloak of secrecy surrounding it, as if the best way to get use from the test is to make sure that teachers know as little about it as possible.

Breaking down some of the fundamental misconceptions in the Obama/Duncan era of testing love.

At one point the testing industry unleashed some talking points with which to push back test resistors. Here they are, and here's how to respond top them.

The big argument this year is that teachers and schools and other folks just really really need those test results in order to know what is going on. That's baloney.

And yes--all of this also argues that we should do away with the BS Test entirely, but not inflicting it on schools this year would be a great start. Let's hope.

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