About a week ago, Common Dreams reported on growing boycott of standardized testing coming out of Seattle.
I heard about it through an e-mail from a former professor of mine. When I posted it to Facebook, it got 2 likes, 1 share and a single comment (that also got 2 likes). Not a lot of interest.
There is also a growing number of post-secondary institutions that are shying away from ACT and SAT results when making admissions decisions. You can read the list of schools here. It isn’t a short list.
So, why isn’t this story of more intrigue to people? Standardized testing has become the means through which we make most of the decisions across the country. Whether you support them or not, why isn’t a growing boycott a bigger story?
To me, this is a great opportunity. If more school’s get on board and some momentum can be built, this a fantastic chance for conversation to begin. Not a conversation about which test to give, or what content to test, but instead whether or not standardized testing is an effective means of evaluation.
I’ve talked about this before. In The Growing Case Against Standardized Testing, I reveal my hand as a skeptic of testing as it is currently done. I would love the conversation to get going because I think that educational community needs to produce answers to some key questions:
1. Do we have an agreed upon definition or description of a “successful” school? Have we done any studies to demonstrate the standardized testing process is an accurate predictor of a school’s “success”?
2. Why do we have so much faith in the standardized test results? What have we done to ensure the fidelity of the results?
3. Why is important that students get tested so often?
4. Do we have an agreed upon definition of a “successful” student? Are we convinced that test results are a predictor of current or future success of an individual student?
All of these questions get at the heart of Standardized Testing. There is a growing body of evidence that is piling up against the standardized testing model as an effective means of evaluating anything… a school, a student, a teacher, a leadership team, or a community, but policy makers seems to be taking no notice.
So, I ask again: when a major public school system has schools that are boycotting the tests and major universities are ignoring the results, why aren’t more people talking about this?