"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, March 08, 2014

No Unnecessary Testing, Not No Testing

Submitted to the Indy Star, March 8, 2014
Tim Swarens writes that "Diane Ravitch’s opposition to accountability isn’t realistic," (March 7) because we need to "identify those who excel and those who lag behind."
Agreed. But we don't need to test every child every year on every subject to find this out.  The NAEP test, a zero-stakes standardized test, is given to samples of students every few years, and the results are extrapolated to get an accurate assessment of how districts, states and the country are doing.
If we want to expand the NAEP to measure performance for individual schools, we need to determine, through careful study, how many students need to be tested and how often.  The evaluation of individual students is best done by teachers, according to recent research.
When you go to the doctor, they don't take all your blood, just a sample. 
I recommend the principle of NUT: No Unneccessary Testing. Test as much as we need to and no more. 

Stephen Krashen

original article: http://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/2014/03/07/diane-ravitchs-opposition-to-accountability-isnt-realistic/6181929/
Some sources:
Evaluation of individual students: Bowen, W., Chingos, M., and McPherson, M. 2009. Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Universities. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Geiser, S. and Santelices, M.V., 2007. Validity of high-school grades in predicting student success beyond the freshman year: High-school record vs. standardized tests as indicators of four-year college outcomes. Research and Occasional Papers Series: CSHE 6.07, University of California, Berkeley. http://cshe.berkeley.edu

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