Category Archive: standardized testing

"And All the Pundits Are Below Average"

In January, Thomas Friedman wrote: In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you… Continue reading

Just What Are We Assessing? (Sigh)

High-stakes reading comprehension exams, at least one that I know of, for high-school students give line references pointing to the source for the correct answers to each question. It is possible to get… Continue reading

"Data Driven Instruction"

Mark Naison, a tireless proponent of common sense in education and politics, has reminded me of the Orwellian aspects of “Data Driven Instruction.” He writes: Anyone who thinks this approach is going to… Continue reading

Testing Can Never Suffice (How Many Times Must We Say It?)

Standardized testing is based on a number of assumptions, including that knowledge can be broken down into identifiable bits of absolute, unchanging information—and that education is mastery of such bits. This is nonsense,… Continue reading

Testing and the Wisdom of Crowds

The other day, I gave my Advanced Technical Writing students a quiz. One question: “Name three things you should do before starting any research project.” The answers weren’t in their text. I had… Continue reading

Lying for Fun and Profit

What follows is the paper I presented last Friday at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Atlanta as part of the panel “Reclaiming Our Spaces: Accessibility and the Public University.  The… Continue reading

The Wrong Standards

The very idea of standards is backward looking–even when standards are necessary. It cannot be otherwise: It’s impossible to measure the future, and standards are based on measurement; that is, they can take… Continue reading

Make Motivation First

There’s only one thing wrong with testing—and that is that testing alone cannot improve education. It’s that simple, really. And we’ve all heard it said. Yet it seems to be the one thing… Continue reading

Education: The Circle Game

Writing more than fifty years ago, the historian and cultural critic Jacques Barzun commented upon the multiple-choice test: Taking an objective test is simply pointing. It calls for the least effort of mind… Continue reading