Just Makes Me Sad

In the August 15, 2007, edition of Education Week, Amy H. Greene and Glennon Doyle Melton describe their efforts to meet Adequate Yearly Progress at Annadale Terrace Elementary School, a Title I school in Fairfax County.  Their ideas about incorporating the genre of test language are laudable and, evidently, successful.  But their reasons for doing so make me a little sad.  When they asked themselves why their kids needed to pass the state tests, they concluded, “After much soul-searching, we had to admit that state and federal pressures were not the only reasons students needed to learn to pass tests.  test-taking is a life skill.” (Since I’m prepping for comps right now and had to take the GRE to get into grad school, I agree with that.)  But then they write: “While we believed that the test was biased against our students, many of whom came from low-income families and spoke English as a second language, we also knew that much of their academic and professional futures would be determined by their performance on similarly flawed tests.”  That comment came off the page at me like a punch in the nose.  While I applaud their efforts to help their students achieve, I hope that they are busy fighting against the trend in using one flawed test to judge that achievement.  And, I hope that the other tests they mention–such as those for certified public accountants and teacher licensure–are not all flawed.  Have we just gotten to the point where, even though we know tests are not the best indicator of success, they are just part of the nature scheme of things?

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