Sunday, April 26, 2015

Yes, To Be Clear, I Am Anti-Testing, Anti-Grading | the becoming radical

Yes, To Be Clear, I Am Anti-Testing, Anti-Grading | the becoming radical:


Since the early to mid-1990s, I have actively practiced and preached de-testing and de-grading as an educator.
So, to be clear and not as some ploy to be provocative or to slip into hyperbole, I am solidly anti-testing as well as anti-grading.
That stance is based on a very simple point of logic: Tests and grades have been central to formal education for over a century, and the stakes of those tests and grades have dramatically increased over the last three decades; yet, virtually no one is satisfied with our system or so-called “student achievement.”
In the colloquial parlance of my South, we cannot admit that weighing a pig doesn’t make it fatter.
However, virtually every time I speak publicly, write a public piece, or am interviewed by the media about testing and grades, I come against something like this from Jordan Shapiro:
If we consider standardized testing in schools, it is clear to me that many folks get caught up in the fire of the debate and lose the ability to see both sides of the story clearly. Those who take an extreme anti-testing position are well meaning. They want to protect children’s individuality. They want to shield them from unnecessary anxiety. They want to protect valuable learning time. They want to spare children the indignity of punching chads and filling in circles. And they want to empower young people by providing them with life-long experiential learning skills.
But some of these critics also seem to forget that those who advocate for measured accountability are also well meaning….
Ultimately, there’s no way for the Federal Department of Education to equitably serve the 50 million students who attend public schools in the United States without some sort of assessment data. But do the current tests provide meaningful data? The critics say no. The advocates point out that all data is ultimately incomplete, but that doesn’t make it worthless.
Typically, the reasonable position is that both sides have good and bad; as well, the final point always swing back to Yes, To Be Clear, I Am Anti-Testing, Anti-Grading | the becoming radical: