The Burden of Evaluation

We judge programs, curricula, interventions to assist in finding remedies to problems, to contribute positively to learning what is good and right. But is that the way it actually plays out? In Massachusetts, schools are being overwhelmed by evaluation. The demands for accountability are strong and come at schools from local, state and federal angles resulting in a stunning evaluation burden on school personnel and students. John Brucato, high school principal in Milford, Mass talks about this burden as his school underwent a regional accreditation review and a comprehensive state review at the same time. See Assessment Teams Hog School Time.

Another MA principal summed up the scenario:

“The corridors are crowded with assessing authorities, evaluation teams, accreditation people and a host of others, all intent on monitoring a myriad of federal and state programs to improve our education system. While testing, measuring progress and accountability are recognized as necessary to the educational system, we have reached a point where measurement activities are getting in the way of real education.”

How should we judge when the demands for accountability seriously impede the very thing being held accountable? Perhaps the experiences of MA schools is a starting point.

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