On Standardized Testing

I turn to my boss, Bill Moore, for wisdom and complexity. The current polarized debate over standardized testing is rife with misunderstanding, assumptions, and inaccurate conflations. It can be hard to navigate all those threads and discern the truth, and I trust Bill to help me to do that– it’s why he’s been my mentor for the past decade. In this blog post, he delivers, with his usual grace and clarity, a compelling reading of the recent segment by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight.  In particular, he muses on a potential connection between the parents who refuse to have their children take the Smarter Balanced Assessment (the “opt-out” movement) and the parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated.

Moore's Musings

My friend and colleague Jen Whetham sent me a note recently, along with a link to a segment from John Oliver’s HBO series, Last Week Tonight, with these comments:

“So my feelings about this piece are complex.  Clearly, John Oliver is brilliant—particularly the repetition of “here comes the monkey.”  And it’s poignant . . . the section about the testing booklets coming with instructions about what to do if a student vomits on them makes my heart hurt, as does the young woman who cries during the testimony of her experience.  And, of course, Nathan Hale’s [High school, in Seattle] juniors are mentioned, as is the search for graders on Craig’s List.

I feel like a lot of folks will watch this (and probably send it to me) and consider it the last word on SmarterBalanced and as further evidence to conflate their opposition to standardized testing in general…

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3 thoughts on “On Standardized Testing

  1. It is very important and timely conversation about Standardized testing and what they do to the wellbeing of the members of the society (students, instructors, parents, school administrations, businesses, hiring committees, and the country’s intellectual and emotional level). As a scholar and practitioner in Adult Education, I have done research on the affect of testing with CASAS in ABE/ESL and presented at (CASAS Test, a Blessing or Curse? WWRRCEA conference at Seattle University, October 2014) and I raised the question of CASAS validity. it is harmful for students’ and teachers’ psychological well-being. Using standardized testing as the only measurement for placement and learning outcomes in ABE/ESL programs in colleges (also in non-profit organizations where ESL classes are offered, such as Goodwill) sets students and teachers for failure in closing achievement gap. Standardized testing overpowers house tests and teachers’ experience in recognizing learning needs or students’ achievements.
    Can ESL/ABE instructors walk out and students opt out from CASAS? It is the question of equity and
    social justice for students and ESL Instructors, who are 90% are part-timers, and whose unique skills and experiences are not recognized and validated. I am resigning from ABE/ESL teaching at LWIT in Kirkland as my political act of walk out, opt out. Maybe, there will be a movement among college instructors and students, too.

  2. Pingback: Plan Your Professional Development for 15-16! | Assessment, Learning, Teaching

  3. Pingback: Plan Your Professional Learning for FY 15-16! |

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