History Should Guide Core-Standards Effort

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

Last month, I attended the National Academies’ Board on Testing and Assessment conference on “Best Practices for State Assessment Systems.” A recurring theme among many of the presenters was to be mindful of the lessons learned in our measurement history, in order to avoid the fate that some of our past innovations have experienced.

In their 1920 textbook How to Measure, G.M. Wilson and Kremer J. Hoke provide some historical context for today’s assessment planners:

“The college instructor blames the high school teacher, the high school teacher complains of the grade teacher, each grade teacher above the 1st grade finds fault with the poor work of the teacher in the grade below, and the 1st grade teacher in turn is chagrined at the shortcomings of the home training. Must this go on indefinitely? Whose opinion should prevail? Is it not possible to get away from personal opinion to an agreed-upon consensus of opinion? May we not replace the constantly conflicting subjective standards with definitely defined objective standards?”

The same issue is a principal driver in the Common Core State Standards Initiative. As the authors pointed out 90 years ago, the resolution of this morass is to have “definitely defined objective standards.” This time, let’s hope we get it right.

Malbert Smith III
Durham, N.C.

Vol. 29, Issue 18, Page 25

Published in Print: January 20, 2010, as History Should Guide Core-Standards Effort
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories