Yesterday’s post, “School Performance Drivers – Instruction,” addressed the need to provide teachers with a scope and sequence that is aligned to tested accountability standards. That is fact. However, that fact releases a torrent of emotions and opinions about testing. On one side, people arguing that education is not about a “TEST.” On the other side, people arguing that the “TEST” measures the education. As regular readers know, I’m going to stake out the pragmatic, middle ground.
- If the “TEST” objectively measures minimum expected content standards for student performance. Which many state and local accountability tests are able to do.
- And, if a meaningful number (either a federal, state, district and/or campus target) of students do not meet expected minimum performance standards. Which does occur on many campuses.
Then the “TEST” is the most important thing on the campus. And the educational program on that campus should be geared towards increasing the number of students that are able to meet minimum standards.
But what about campuses that do not have minimum performance issues? What, if any, role should the “TEST” play?
The common answer is “None.” That answer in a number of states is wrong (I admit that I am not familiar with the quality of the accountability tests in all 50 states). There are states (for example, Texas) where the “TEST” serves as an incredible leading indicator.
In Texas, the STAAR test isn’t the end all, but the individual level of student success does matter. All things being equal, the student with the higher STAAR Test score has:
- A better chance of graduating high school.
- A better chance of going to college.
- A better chance of going to a better college.
- A better chance of graduating college.
Which means at a certain point, the “TEST” flips from being a minimum standards bar to a maximizing student opportunity gauge.
Therefore, if you want to keep demonizing and/or ignoring the “TEST” to protect adult comfort, then do so.
Just know that the educators I work with are using the information provided by the “TEST” to make sure that their students are going to be more successful, at school and in life, than your students.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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