Teacher Education Teacher Evaluations Testing

Stephanie Jones: The Testing Regime Is a Farce

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Stephanie Jones of the Univetsity of Georgia wonders what would happen if the federal government mandated that doctors be evaluated by the longevity of their patients. Those who choose to practice in low-income communities would get lower scores than those who practice in affluent communities. (So would oncologists and heart surgeons, as compared to dermatologists.)

What if evaluations got even more far-fetched by rating medical schools by the longevity of the patients of the doctors they prepared?

Yet this is the absurd mandate that the U.S. Department of Education is planning for colleges of education.

Jones writes:

“The era of testing has failed miserably, but we can only begin undoing the damage and rebuilding our K-12 students’ and families’ trust in and value from public education when we call it quits on high-stakes testing.

“If teachers don’t impact standardized test scores very much, what do they impact? Lives, motivation, understanding of content and concepts, non-standardized tests, grades, students’ willingness to learn, creativity, critical thinking, crucial skills for communication in the 21st century, and the ability for children and young people to see themselves as powerful actors in the world around them.

“So why would policymakers want to keep high-stakes testing in place – and furthermore – to embed it in the very fabric of the entire education system from kindergarten through university teacher education?

“Perhaps pride is getting in the way. It must be terribly difficult to admit that billions of dollars have been given to corporations, millions of children have been retained and put at further risk of dropping out of high school, high school students have been denied diplomas, teachers have been punished, schools have been taken over, others have been closed, communities have been ripped apart, education has narrowed to test preparation, and parents and children have been absolutely tormented because a small group of people insist – against all evidence – that high-stakes testing is valuable.

“Please, policymakers, don’t make the mistake of pinning Colleges of Education against the wall with test scores, and release the pressure from K-12 schools so they can implement the learning-focused instructional approaches they have learned in their teacher preparation programs.
Just take a deep breath and whisper “mea culpa” so we can join together as allies in the disaster relief effort.”

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