Teachers, Testing and Outcomes: Are student lost in this?

Not trying to cause TOO much trouble here, but over at Dean Dad’s blog he was commenting (complaining?) on the many requirements for his time both professionally and personally.  One comment he makes is about his boy’s school testing “The Boy has his statewide standardized test this month — thanks, President Bush! — so the school is ramping everything up in preparation.”

I am not sure you can blame Bush or anyone in the last decade for the onslaught of standardized testing in elementary school. I remember when I was a wee lad in the late 60s and early 70s we had regular testing as well, that lasted a week or more.

These tests were known by the states from which they came, “The California Test.” “The Iowa Test.” And these tests were often used for placement  in the upcoming two years.

It seems that, with the “no child left behind” initiative the complaint really isn’t about the testing so much as holding the teachers and schools accountable for the outcomes. Perish the thought that, at the end of the day, the producers would be measured by the quality of the output!

So let’s break that particular discussion down this way:

1. Can we agree that for any job there should be a way to assess how effective an employee is at performing that job?

2. Should your promotions, or continued employment, be contingent on how well you perform your job?

3. Is the education of children important enough to make sure that those performing their task are doing it well?

If we answer yes to these (and why shouldn’t we?) the then next question, the one that really is the heart of the argument, is:

4. How can we measure the ability of the teachers (employee) to produce the desired outcome (an educated student)?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these… Please, leave your comments and “join the discussion”


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