Monday, November 07, 2005

Nationalized hysteria

Don't miss Diane Ravitch's critique of NCLB in this morning's NYT. She is a standardista and has been since she served in Reagan's Education Department so her argument is not against testing. Rather, she believes the key flaw in NCLB was the law's allowance of localism. Each state has different tests. Each state has been lowering their standards to raise their achievement levels. And thus, it's hard to really get a sense of what's going on out there-- even for people who study this stuff.

Thus, Ravitch argues for a nationalization of testing. In a perfect world that would make perfect sense. But this, need I remind you, ain't a perfect world. The high-stakes associated with testing would only get higher with a nationalized test as states would be pitted against each other even moreso than they already are thus increasing the amount of instructional time solely focused on test preparation. Until this country's education establishment begins to put test scores in some perspective, this is a bad idea. Compelling, but bad nonetheless.

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