The Importance Of High-Stakes Testing

1245 Words 5 Pages
Au, Wayne. Neither Fair Nor Accurate.

In this article, Wayne Au gives research-supported claims to why high-stakes testing should not be used to evaluate teachers. He correctly states that effective teaching cannot be equated with higher test scores. In his article he elaborates on six key flaws of using testing like VAM to evaluate teachers. When using a test to measure teacher effectiveness, there is a statistical error rate of 35 percent when using one year’s worth of data, which would cause many to be misevaluated. Naturally, the test scores of students depend ultimately upon the students themselves, so year after year as students go through a teacher’s classroom the test scores can fluctuate greatly. Also impacting the test scores
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Testing determines a number of things, from which students are given remedial classes to the salaries of the schools’ teachers and principals. Students view their score on a given test as an absolute and accurate assessment of their ability to perform well in a specific content area, which it is not. High-stakes testing cannot determine real gains in student knowledge due to the plethora of factors that come into play while testing. Instead of stressing the importance of these tests, we need to provide our students with a rich curriculum that they can apply to real world situations. This will open up more doors for the students than having them memorize enough information to do well on the test. We need to find a way to give our students true knowledge while improving their scores instead of merely focusing on performance. One solution Christensen provides is to teach our students to question these tests. Right now, many view these high-stakes tests as infallible and necessary. By teaching students to ask questions, their eyes are opened to the truth about these tests. The test will no longer seem like a large mountain that they have to scale in order to continue their education. One significant point in the text was when a group of students created the Jefferson Achievement Tests (JAT) to show how the SATs are geared toward a small portion of our society: the white …show more content…
She starts by stating that the U.S. ranks low compared to other countries in math and science based on the Programme in International Student Assessment, or PISA. This is partly due to programs such as NCLB, which has caused schools to teach students to simply regurgitate memorized facts instead of how to use higher order thinking to truly understand concepts. Other nations have reformed their education system by revising curriculums and assessments to nurture true growth and knowledge in their students. Darling-Hammond uses Finland as an example of a successful country since they got rid of their tracking and testing systems and placed highly trained teachers who would foster problem-solving skills, creativity, and independent learning in their students. Finland is now ranked at the top in international rankings. Some other countries she identifies are South Korea and Singapore, who have both shown significant growth over the years. The author shows that great strides were made in the United States in the past, with the most productive years being the mid-1970s. However, since then much has gone downhill. Some of Darling-Hammond’s suggestions for improving our education system include supporting more pilot

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