I’m still fond of Diane Ravitch’s idea: 100% sunshine, 0% sanctions. Put the feds in the position of distibuting data and dollars. Here’s what she wrote two years ago:
“My own preference would be for Congress to authorize national testing (à la NAEP), based on coherent curriculum standards, but without stakes or sanctions. The federal role should be to provide accurate information about student performance. It should be left to states and districts to devise sanctions and reforms. These jurisdictions are closer to the schools and likelier to come up with workable reforms. If states and localities don’t want to improve their schools, then we are in deeper trouble as a nation than any law passed by Congress can fix.”
Comment by Robert Pondiscio — January 13, 2010 @ 6:18 pm
If we have national testing, I fear that it will take the form of “authentic testing” in which process will trump content. Problems such as “How would you estimate the number of boxes it would take to pack up 1 million books?” would abound, and the responses would be weighted in terms of “creative” responses. I’m naturally pessimistic, but I keep hearing the term “authentic testing” come up, and tests such as TIMSS given the usual disdain for measuring only the mechanical and procedural approaches to problem solving that are taught. (By rote, I suppose).
Comment by barry garelick — January 16, 2010 @ 7:09 pm
How would 100% sunshine and 0% sanctions be any better than what we already have? With all the current state testing requirements, school districts already know (in extreme detail) how their students are performing. More testing isn’t going to persuade school districts to adopt the content-rich curricula (e.g. Core Knowledge)that is needed for quality learning. If all the school districts/states decided that what they are currently doing is good enough, would you be satisfied?
Comment by Erin Johnson — January 19, 2010 @ 6:07 pm