Monday, May 18, 2015

Merit Pay

I usually find myself on the other side of the fence from Diane Ravitch, if for no other reason than her approach to topics. However, I have to say we're on the same page with this particular issue - merit pay. I recently blogged about this topic in more detail, and would love your response and thoughts!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Should testing change the world?

A Decade of Testing -- But Nothing's Changed

There seems to be some confusion here about the role of testing, which I've comment on before. Sure, the idea of accountability overall is to improve education, but the concept of assessment by itself, even if part of the overall accountability package, isn't designed to produce change. It's designed to assess it.

It seems that folks like Jersey Jazzman and Diane Ravitch have found critique with standardized testing because it hasn't changed the world. But, should it? Should we expect standardized testing, by itself, to effect change within the educational system? Even if we did, we can attribute the lack of results strictly to the failure of testing or accountability?

My answer is no. The rationale is simple - necessary vs. sufficient. It could be that testing and accountability are necessary to produce change (or not), but that they aren't sufficient. My sense, for example, is that the Department of Education never expected accountability and testing, by themselves, to change education. My guess is that they expected other things, like Reading First & teacher training program improvements, to help out as well.

So, if change didn't happen, we can't look at one variable and say that it didn't work. We can say that the combination of all things happening wasn't sufficient to produce change, but not that any singular variable failed.