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June 06, 2007

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Colin Kingsbury

It's not education academics who have pushed us towards standardized testing, it's the general public and by extension, politicians. Teachers don't like it wherever it's introduced, and academics raise the same "teaching to the test" complaints you do.

Testing is about one thing, and that's systemic accountability. There is a broad sense that school budgets have not been put to use efficiently, that job security takes precedence over performance, and that the system is not capable of evaluating itself objectively.

My feeling is that education has become an issue not unlike immigration, where the people who "own" the problem have lost the trust of their "customers." I don't think the average person really believes that standardized testing is nirvana either, but what else are we supposed to do? Your alternative hypothesis is interesting and might, if we were dealing with angels instead of men, work wonderfully, but my fear would be that it would only exacerbate the flaws of the past 20 years.

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