First we test the students, then we test the teachers. Maybe we should test the parents too? Just joking, but at what point do we realize that testing is about compliance and the generation of market revenue and not about education nor the assessment of real learning. Testing helps to make compliant subjects willing to be evaluated without question –just the sort of person who will refuse to join a union, who will refuse to stand up for themselves when threatened, just the sort of person who makes a great Mac-worker (to borrow Doug Coupland’s now famous term). Philospher and radical educator Bertell Olman comically makes the point in his book How to take an Exam . . . and Remake the World at the Same Time.
BC’s minister of education has put the control over aspects of some BC Standardized tests and the rights to sellsome of these tests into the hands of a private Edmonton-based publishing company, Castle Rock . Of course companies like these feed off of the anxiety of parents and students about making the grade in a test-centric world. The BC page of this company sells “quality, curriculum-based resources” to teachers, students, and parents. Without the push to standardized tests introduced by the string of provincial Education Ministers and former Edomontonian deputy minister Dosdall, there wouldn’t be a market demand for these types of resources. Pushing tests creates a busines opportunity and the chance for goldrush profits for those with an inside track.
The BC Society for Public Education has a veryuseful resource page on standardized testing.
Read about what is happening in the United States with privatized testing.
Educational Testing Service to pay millions for errors in teacher tests
The Educational Testing Service has agreed to pay $11.1 million to settle a class action suit over errors in its primary teacher-licensing test, The New York Times reported. The funds will be used to compensate teachers who lost jobs or some wages because of their incorrect test scores. The Times reported that 27,000 people who took the test in 2003-4 received scores that were incorrectly low, and that more than 4,000 of these people were incorrectly told that they had failed.
As with student testing in schools, states have increased testing for current and prospective teacher, despite the fact that there is no evidence to support the claim that standardized tests predict who will be a good teacher. (Continue reading at the blog Where the Blog Has No Name.)
The following talk by Alfie Kohn should be an interesting foray into this topic. It is on Thursday, May 4, 2006.
THE DEADLY EFFECTS OF “TOUGHER STANDARDS” IN EDUCATION: Challenging High Stakes Testing and Other Impediments to Learning
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