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The Bigger Cheating Scandal

An editorial from a recent USA Today titled “Don’t blame tests for school cheating scandals” is so full of crap it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which part is worst.

However, this statement would be a good candidate.

To be sure, standardized tests shouldn’t be the only measure of a student’s knowledge or an educator’s performance. But given the depth and breadth of the school reform movement they’ve ignited, it’s hard to deny their value. (my emphasis)

The “reform movement” ignited by NCLB and the ever-growing layers of state and federal mandated standardized testing has brought with it neither depth nor breath when it comes to the quality of American education.

Instead for a majority of students, an increasing amount of time during the school day is spent on practice tests (now we get to do them on computers!) and drill and practice addressing a very narrow set of skills, most of which don’t even cover the minimum they’ll need in the real world.

No, the tests themselves are not responsible for teachers and administrators trying to rig the system by cheating.

However, the bigger scandal in all this is how USA Today and other media outlets uncritically assume this all-testing-all-the-time system of schooling is actually improving student learning.

It’s actually cheating millions of kids out of a real education.

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1 Comment

  1. As usual I want to holler “Amen!” after reading your post. Add to that the fact that I had finally read Jay Mathews’ newest post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/easing-test-pressure-wont-save-kids/2011/07/17/gIQArgfeKI_blog.html?wprss=class-struggle in which he states “School administrators and teachers who changed answers did something worse than cheating. They lost faith in the ability of their students to learn.” Nope. They didn’t have faith that the test accurately showed what their students had learned. Not the same thing at all.

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