Monday, February 9, 2015

Anya Kamenetz's "The Past, Present, And Future of High-Stakes Testing"

Kamenetz (reporting for NPR) talks about her book, Test, which is about the extensive use of standardized testing in our schools. Largely, this is a story about the impact these tests have had on how teachers instruct K-12 education in the US. However, a portion of the story discusses alternatives to annual testing of every student. Alternatives include using sampling to assess a school as well as numerous alternate testing methods (stealth testing, assessing child emotional well-being, portfolios, etc.). Additionally, this story touches on some of the implications of living in a Big Data society and what it is doing to our schools.

I think this would be a great conversation starter for a research methods or psychometric course (especially if you are teaching such a class for a School of Education). What are we trying to assess: Individual students or teachers or schools? What are the benefits and short comings of these different kinds of assessments? Can you students come up with additional alternatives to annual, all-student testing?