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The crisis in US education is not general and national. It is concentrated where there is poverty and segregation. Testing does not address either problem. -Diane Ravitch
High stakes testing is when a test score can determine the future of a teacher, a principal, a school and a community.
This notion began with No Child Left Behind. The stakes were, if the test score averages did not reach a goal set by the Federal government, money would be taken away from that school. It is counterintuitive but no one challenged this idea, not until much later.
Now we have the education reform movement led by Gates, Broad, Arne Duncan who started this first in Chicago, and all of the others to follow who saw money in the “movement”.
The new ed reform package, titled Race to the Top, includes the idea that if a school doesn’t perform to a certain level as prescribed by the Federal government, the school has a few options. Half of the teaching staff can be removed or the principal, or the favorite among the corporate reformers, the school can be closed and converted into a charter school.
Pretty neat package for a few, not so good for everyone else.
When the stakes are this high, cheating will happen. It’s a human failing.
The first time I saw this happen on a massive scale was in DC when Michelle Rhee, the Broad darling, remember her?, was in power. Teachers’ evaluations were based on test scores and cheating ensued.
The next big scandal was in Atlanta with another Broad supe at the helm, Beverly Hall.
It is so painfully familiar to what happened at Beacon Hill. Erasure marks and correct answers filled in with statistically skewed results.
High stakes testing is no good for anyone but a few who like to evaluate others using numbers and those who stand to make a profit.
Is this how you want your child evaluated and their fate determined?
For more on standardized testing in this context see: