TO THE EDITOR: Intensive resistance to the common core and protests against excessive standardized testing have changed the rhetoric among insiders; they are now claiming we need to “push the delay button” to secure the time to prepare for implementation.
Decisions for delaying the inevitable are made in spite of legitimate protests by parents, grandparents and courageous educators.
Instead of looking for an expedient way out of this mess, our representatives should be considering what is known about the higher-level thinking processes, defined as analysis, synthesis and critical/creative evaluation by Bloom et.al.
No matter what else we have been told, individually unique learning outcomes from these processes cannot be measured with a one-size-fits-all test. That fact disqualifies standardized testing as a valid measure of the results of higher-level thinking, which we desperately need in today’s complex world. End of discussion.
Our representatives should also be considering the work of scholars like Bela Banathy, who know about general systems theory.
Known systems evaluation strategies can effectively replace standardized testing in ways compatible with human development and learning. It is used extensively in the fields of science and engineering. It could provide our systems of education with extraordinary improvements in student learning and the performance of teachers.
A systems-oriented assessment and evaluation strategy that is individualized, manageable, authentic, open-ended, rigorous and accurate, utilizing the latest communication and record-keeping technologies, is one alternative to standardized tests available today.
It’s called the Constructive Assessment, Recordkeeping and Evaluation System (CARES). Its implementation can be affected in any school system with a minimum of cost and training time.
Effective alternatives like this could provide a far better way out of this mess, if only there were unfettered opportunities for on-site demonstrations.
ROBERT L. ARNOLD
Professor emeritus of education