Today, in the Morning Call (A newspaper in the Lehigh Valley) an article ran detailing the roll out of the new Keystone exams that 11th graders will be required to take in Pennsylvania this academic year. Students will be required to take Keystones (High Stakes Standardized Tests) in Algebra, Literature, and Biology. Great. New tests to replace the old tests. And why has Pennsylvania decided to get new high stakes tests? According to the spokesman for the Pennsylvania DOE Tim Eller,
“We have heard from the higher education community and business community that students are not graduating with the skills needed to enter the workforce,” said Tim Eller, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. “These exams are raised to the level of what’s needed to ensure that students are meeting certain requirements before they leave school.”
First of all, what qualifications does a “spokesman” for the DOE have that permits him to make such a broad statement about testing? Second, the quote above is total bull sh%t. Being in the higher education community I can tell you for a fact that most college professors do not want more high stakes testing. In fact, we want it to stop. Students aren’t coming to college unprepared because they didn’t have the right test. They come to college unprepared because of tests. The don’t have workforce skills because of tests. The f#@cking tests and the perverted notion that we can test students into proficiency is the real problem.
We also know (but for some reason “qualified” people at the Pennsylvania DOE don’t know) that the last ten years has been a disaster for students. Testing has essentially denied a generation of children a quality and equitable education rich in all academic areas. Testing and test preparation are the problems.
The “new” Keystone exams will do nothing to better prepare students for college and the workforce. You don’t need test taking skills to thrive in college and the workplace. You need to be able to think and you need to be able to learn—two things standardized tests don’t and will never measure!
Parents please save your children from this new disaster. Opt Out!