Why blanket tests should be banned.

 Treehorn recommends

that you read this article.  Say hello to Treehorn on the attachment; and feel sorry for his condition [adult apathy].

Click on

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-complete-list-of-problems-with-high-stakes-standardized-tests/2011/10/31/g/QA7fNyaM_blog.html

or google ‘The Answer Sheet 2011/10/31’

It’s from the Washington Post. While it refers to American schooling,  it lists a number of reasons that apply for Naplan to be ceased in Australia. It concludes with a parent’s wish: “Do not subject my child to any test that doesn’t provide useful, same day or next-day information about performance.”   Marion Brady lists 25 reasons for the termination of blanket tests as they reveal their immorality, uselessness and damage to schooling…

Thank you Valerie and thank you Marion.

 Blanket tests administered from afar should be banned because they…

  • focus so narrowly on reading and math that the young are learning to hate math and school;
  •  measure only the ‘low level’ thinking processes;
  • put the wrong people – the test manufacturers – in charge of American [& everybody else’s] education;
  • allow pass-fail rates to be manipulated by officials for political purposes;
  • simplify test items and trivialize learning;
  • provide minimal to no useful feedback;
  • are keyed to old deeply flawed curriculum issues;
  • lead to neglect of physical conditioning, music, art and other non-verbal ways of learning;
  • unfairly advantage those who can afford test preparation;
  • hide problems created by margin-of-error computations in scoring;
  • penalize test-takers who think in non-standard ways;
  • radically limit the ability of teachers to adapt to learners’ differences;
  • encourage the use of threats, bribes, and other extrinsic motivators;
  • wrongly assume that what the young will need in the future is already known;
  • emphasize minimum achievements to the neglect of maximum performance;
  •  create unreasonable pressures;
  • reduce teacher creativity and the appeal of teaching as a profession;
  • are culturally biased;
  • Have no ‘success in life’ predictive power;
  • lead to the neglect of the best and the worst students, as resources are channeled to lift marginal kids above the ‘cut lines’;
  • are open to massive scoring errors with life-changing consequences;
  • are at odds with deep-seated values about individual differences and worth;
  • undermine a fundamental democratic principle that those closest to and therefore most knowledgeable about problems are best positioned to deal with them;
  • dump major public money into corporate coffers instead of classrooms;
  • do psychological damage to children who are not yet able to cope;
  • are blocking policy-makers from what, Marion believes to be the greatest educational innovation of the last century –the use of general systems theory as it developed during WW II as a tool for reshaping and radically simplifying the ‘core curriculum’.

It is a 21st Century phenomenon that any thoughtful school would entertain national or systemic blanket testing.

Where they do, parents need to let their schools know that they want their children to ‘OPT OUT’.

Phil Cullen

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