Why Testing?

A post in a new-to-me newsletter called Education Dive tries to explain “Why testing prevails in K-12 education“. It starts with the president’s call from last October for a reexamination of the purpose for the current testing structure in most American schools.

“The president said students “should only take tests that are worth taking – tests that are high quality, aimed at good instruction, and make sure everyone is on track,” testing shouldn’t take up too much classroom time, and the assessments should be one tool in a more complete toolbox to help schools get an indication of student progress and school and teacher effectiveness.”

The rest of the piece is a pretty good review of the arguments on both sides: the incredible amount of instructional time diverted by testing and test prep, countered by the administrative and political need for data, data, data to provide “accountability”

However, it’s not until the very last paragraph that the writer arrives at the primary reason why the spring standardized testing ritual now underway in most American schools will continue for the foreseeable future: “Testing…makes a lot of money. Lots of it.”

Pearson, and the bureaucratic infrastructure built to support standardized testing, must be fed.

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