Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home


[Susan notes: As usual, Stephen Krashen provides excellent documentation, something "reformers"--and education reporters--fail to do.]

Submitted to Education Week but not published
08/24/2011
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/08/24/01openingday_ep.h31.html?tkn=QOQFffbFmIbu4uJDCSj3MNDKAeQOV%2BCORTw3&cmp=clp-sb-ascd

To the editor

Schools are "facing tough budget choices" (August 24) and cutting back on teaching positions, tutors, support staff, summer programs, and extracurricular activities. According to an ASCD survey (SmartBrief poll, 2011-12), 78% of respondents said that they are "experiencing a lack of funding and it has affected student learning.



Unmentioned in the Ed Week article is the fact that at the same time money is so short, we are keeping a number of useless tests and actually increasing testing to astonishing levels, in the face of empirical evidence showing that these tests do not increase student achievement



A clear example of a current useless test is the High School Exit Exam used in many states. Studies consistently show that high school exit exams do not lead to more college attendance, increased student learning or higher employment. In fact, researchers have yet to discover any benefits of having a high school exit exam.



The US Department of Education is planning an astonishing increase in testing. In addition to end-of-year tests, there will be tests in reading and math near the end of school year and testing several times during the year (interim testing), In addition, the Department is encouraging pre-testing in the fall and testing other subjects as well. Recently, the Department announced plans to test children before they enter kindergarten. In addition, all tests will be administered on-line, a huge expense. There is no evidence that the new tests will help children.



We all agree that assessment is part of teaching and learning, but our philosophy should be "no unnecessary testing": Determine which tests are useful and eliminate the others. Over-testing is choking our schools both intellectually and financially.



Some sources:



High school leaving exams, most recent review: Holme, J., Richards, M., Jimerson, J., and Cohen, R. 2010. Assessing the effects of high school exit examinations. Review of Educational Research 80 (4): 476-526.



No evidence the new tests will help: Nichols, S., Glass, G., and Berliner, D. 2006. High-stakes testing and student achievement: Does accountability increase student learning? Education Policy Archives 14(1).; OECD 2011. Lessons from PISA for the United States, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education, OECD Publishing.

Stephen Krashen


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.