"[I]f I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week…The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." --Charles Darwin

Friday, October 30, 2009

Standardized tests are reliable because they're objective...oh, wait, they're not...

One of the rationales behind standardized testing is that we can hold all schools to uniform standards. Except that apparently, we can't. In an op/ed piece in today's Record newspaper (which originally appeared in the Christian Science Monitor), a person hired to grade the tests reveals how standards were lowered and fudged in order to get tests graded quickly and cheaply. The problem: the job was entrusted to a for-profit organization.
Why does privatization always mean for-profit? Hasn't anybody heard of the Red Cross or the World Bank? Private organizations, answerable neither to government to shareholder, yet without the need to better the return every quarter.

But even that begs the question. I suspect that even within our little Language Arts department at New Milford we could not reach a perfect consensus in grading a given piece of writing. School ccountability, like perfect justice, is a wonderful ideal that may not be practical in this life.

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