Press-Republican

Opinion

April 3, 2013

In My Opinion: Standardized tests about making money

Experts agree, what should be abundantly clear about the use of standardized tests is that statistically based, oversimplified measures of performance are unable to account for the complexity in educational systems or account for the variety of individual learning outcomes.

While there are available today field-tested methods of individualized assessment and evaluation, utilizing modern systems theory and computer technologies, we see widespread use of oversimplified performance measures (standardized tests), which have created a genuine crisis in our systems of education, in our students and with their families.

Mental health and a one-size-fits-all assessment and evaluation scheme are incompatible, as is mandated knowledge that “authorities” claim we all must know.

Are people at the top (including educators who ought to know better) ignorant of what has been widely known and validated by in-depth studies and understood intuitively by observant teachers and parents? There are no two people alike in this world — not their DNA, their experiences or what they have done with their experiences.

If promoters of standardization in education understood and acted upon the truths of individual human differences, would they promote a one-size-fits-all assessment, evaluation and common-core curriculum?

Or do they have a different agenda — one wrapped in rhetoric that sounds legitimate but masks their real intent?

Why haven’t decision-makers at the state and federal levels acknowledged the opportunities and importance of individual differences? There is a simple but troublesome answer.

Standardization is needed for the mass production and marketing of educational products, such as textbooks, worksheets, tests, toys, equipment, software, training etc. etc.

Corporate and financial interests need to standardize education to reap the benefits of a huge market potential.

Today, with the blessings of decision makers at the highest levels, a branch of a British conglomerate Pearson America reaps huge profits from sales of its “canned” and standardized educational products.

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