To the Editor:
I have been in education for over 40 years, serving as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent, and I make it a practice to stay current on the research both here in the United States and internationally. I am thus frustrated and saddened to see the U.S. Department of Education planning to spend $350 million on yet another set of tests, this time to be used with national academic standards (“Common Test Push Gears Up,” Oct. 28, 2009).
Why, when all of the research points to gains made by a focus on teaching and learning, formative assessment, teacher collaboration, and strong leadership, is the government looking to increasingly restrictive and nonproductive tests? Surely officials have learned by now that standardized testing does nothing but promote a frenzied search for programs supposed to help schools meet those tests’ requirements. This strategy hasn’t worked for 40 years, and it’s not about to miraculously work now.
A version of this article appeared in the November 04, 2009 edition of Education Week as Questioning the Wisdom of New, Common Tests