Many people in the education industry scoff at the idea of using standardized tests. They say:
- Schools overuse standardized, multiple-choice tests.
- Teaching to the test provides children a student education, limited to what’s on the test.
- Teachers prepare students for standardized tests in ways that short-circuit the development of their critical-thinking abilities.
- We should use other assessments such as long-form answers, research projects, and work portfolios.
- Nobody outside the classroom teacher knows how to assess children.
- George W. Bush, who gave us No Child Left Behind, is an idiot (seriously, I’ve seen comments on “Education Week” that more or less offer this up as a reason to oppose standardized tests).
How about we make a deal? It’s a four-part offer:
- Channel all funding away from districts and to individual families.
- Let public schools charge tuition, along with private schools.
- Each school then develops whatever assessment system it thinks appropriate. Parents and teachers choose schools that offer the kinds of assessments they think is appropriate.
- The state gathers information about every school, including its assessment policies, and disseminates that to the public at large, but especially to parents of school-age children.