Despite the research illustrating deleterious effects of high-stakes testing on teaching and learning, the National Council for the Social Studies continues to be an advocate for it.
NCSS, the largest group of social studies education professionals in the world, and it’s state level affiliates, use the perverted logic that the only way to preserve social studies courses in the curriculum is for those courses to be included in mandated high-stakes testing schemes.
The latest example of this perversion of education is in Massachusetts, where the state plans to either eliminate or delay required history and social science exams for 10th graders.
In response, the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies has started a campaign to the save the tests! And the NCSS Board of Directors has sent an letter to the Mass. Board of Education stressing the importance of implementing the proposed exams as scheduled.
The logic is apparently that state mandated high-stakes exams are a way for governments to show their commitment to social studies. But do we need social studies courses that narrow the curriculum to what is on the exam? That undermine teacher professionalism by turning teachers into clerks for the state, whose job it is to feed students exam answers?
The idea that NCSS’s raison d’être—the promotion of “democratic citizenship”—is advanced by students and teachers willingly participating in a scheme that reduces education to scores is absurd.