At a very recent meeting of the American Educational Research Association, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has freely admitted the problems associated with standardized testing. He described it as ‘mediocre’ and an inadequate way of determining student achievement, teacher proficiency or school effectiveness. He also acknowledged the suffocating effect of high stakes standardized testing on students and on teachers.
Perhaps of particular interest were his criticisms of the use of any one measure to determine the achievement of a student, a school or a teacher. He was absolutely clear about the need for multiple, varying types of measures if we want to get a valid picture of what is happening in education.
And so, for Australia, comes the obvious question. Why is a school’s ranking on the My School web site based on only a single measure, a standardized test?
Our government is committing itself more and more deeply (the NAPLAN testing of science comes next) to a system that has been adopted from the USA and then tried and found woefully wanting in the USA. Why?