Monday, May 15, 2017

The Standardized Test Monopoly That Secretly Runs America’s High Schools | GOOD Education

The Standardized Test Monopoly That Secretly Runs America’s High Schools | GOOD Education:

The Standardized Test Monopoly That Secretly Runs America’s High Schools

“Anyone who works in education knows there are no silver bullets. There is no holy water here”

Image result for big education ape college board
Image result for big education ape college board



IN APRIL, MY 10TH-GRADE SON DID SOMETHING I NEVER MANAGED TO DO IN ANY CLASS EVER: He finished his entire world history textbook. All 1,258 pages of it. Some parents might breathe a sigh of relief over this accomplishment (as in, whew, my kid is not a slacker), but I was skeptical.
Did you actually learn anything?” I asked him. “Yeah, kinda,” he shrugged, though he admitted that he whipped through some chapters in two or three days. Say what? “Well, we had to finish so we can get ready for the test,” he said.
Ah, yes, the test. By that, he means the Advanced Placement World History Exam, taken by high school students across the United States last Thursday. During the first two weeks of May, the College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the SAT and the advanced placement program, administered AP exams in world history and 37 other subjects. About 2.7 million high schoolers across the nation took a total of 4.9 million AP exams, which the College Board called “the culmination of their hard work in AP courses throughout the school year.”
 High school students like my son crank through chapters, study for hours each night, and take weekly tests because an AP class is supposed to be the equivalent of a college-level course. These teens hope to score high enough on the AP exam to earn college credit or to be placed in a more advanced course, which, given the ever-rising costs of college, seems like a smart move. And colleges, especially top ones, tell students that to be a competitive candidate for admissions, they should take the toughest classes possible, which generally means taking AP.

Last year, Nat Malkus, a researcher from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning, Washington, D.C.-based think tank, wrote that “AP might be the single happiest education story of the century,” in part because it has “substantially increased access to advanced coursework for all public school students, and the College Board has made that access possible by taking concrete steps to maintain program quality and increase access to underserved students.”
It’s possible the AP exam really does prepare students for higher education, while saving them money in the process. But it’s also likely, as some critics say, that the tests don’t do much other than stress teens out, contribute to the college admissions arms race, and earn the College Board plenty of cash.
We are agnostic about AP,” says Bob Schaeffer, the public education director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. “To the extent that they serve as a gateway rather than a gatekeeper to access higher education, that’s fine.” But he adds that “the Pollyanna picture that the College Board paints to sell its product leaves out some important facts. Many colleges are questioning the value The Standardized Test Monopoly That Secretly Runs America’s High Schools | GOOD Education:
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