Assessment is as close to a four-letter word as we have in education. In the current testing and accountability environment, that bad reputation has been earned.
That said let me be upfront about a couple of things. First, I am not a fan of standardized testing. Not a huge surprise, I’m sure. I think it is relatively useless as a teaching tool, it is expensive in an era when schools and districts are barely getting by, and preparing for tests wastes valuable classroom time when actual learning could happen. As a parent, standardized testing tells me nearly nothing about my boys. The results are not communicated in a way that makes much sense or is of much use to the majority of parents.
Second – my two oldest boys attend a charter school that minimizes test prep to the point that filling in answer bubbles is a cool novelty among the students. Know what the school fills that time with that could be spent on test prep? It’s a no brainer – art, music, Spanish and physical education. This was a very specific choice on our part as their parents and it is one that has paid off in spades. They love school. Enough said on that point. Read the rest of this entry »