We have contended in this space that standardized testing will never be an accurate measure of student performance unless and until children are standardized.
The nearly total reliance on standardized testing has from the beginning been the Achilles heel of the federal No Child Left Behind law born during the Bush administration. We don't fault the goals of No Child Left Behind. Indeed, improving educational performance while at the same time increasing accountability for educators, is a worthwhile goal.
However, the first outcome of NCLB, was that educational systems, fearing penalties for failing to meet the law's standards and quickly realizing that the whole program is based on standardized tests, simply taught for the test. The result was not a search for excellence, but rather the attainment of mediocrity and homogeneity.
Like many bad laws enacted for good intentions, NCLB has failed.
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association has urged Congress to reconsider how No Child Left Behind assesses achievement.
The PSBA believes the government should adopt a system of assessments that takes into consideration coursework, tests, quizzes, presentations, projects and papers throughout a student's career.
The broader assessment would, according to the PSBA, provide educators more flexibility in making decisions that expand opportunities for all students, without an overreliance on standardized test scores, narrowing curriculum, or prescriptive mandates.
Standardized tests offer just one measure of student performance, not the sum total of a student's achievement, and certainly not an accurate depiction of a student's accomplishments and potential.
We believe that the PSBA's resolution is a good one and we encourage the Warren County School Board to support it with a similar resolution.