To the Editor:
I write in regard to the recent article “States, Districts Eyeing Chance to Craft Innovative Tests” (July 20, 2016). It excites me to see the possibility of schools being allowed to seek out a viable alternative to the testing fiasco. The standardized test was designed by assuming what students could do and then turning those skills into a paper-and-pencil task.
Now is the time to reverse that process by actually assessing what students can do. For example, a standardized test asks students to name the steps of the scientific method. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have students do a science project that demonstrates their understanding of the application of the scientific method? And since projects can be set at any level, such an assessment would be perfect for special-needs students of all types.
We now have the opportunity to move away from the archaic standardized test and assess the whole child to assure children are prepared for a future of critical thinking. And since assessment drives the curriculum, no more would teachers be required to teach to the test.
The opportunity of a lifetime is here. We shouldn’t blow it.
Eldon “Cap” Lee
A version of this article appeared in the August 31, 2016 edition of Education Week as Let’s Assess the Whole Child