Accountability. It’s a buzz word in education these days and one that is assessed by state-mandated tests.
If you talk to the educational reformers, you will find they believe wholeheartedly that this is how our children and teachers should be quantified. If you listen to the reformers, they will lead you to believe that teachers do not believe in accountability. This is not, in fact, the case.
Teachers write passes for the bathroom and the library. If teachers believe in accountability for even the smallest of things like those, then certainly teachers believe in accountability of the educational progress of our children.
If you talk to almost any teacher across the state and the nation, you will find that there is very little faith in these tests. This lack of faith comes from the fact that these tests are strategically designed so that our students will fail, and in turn, show that public education is failing.
It comes from the fact that these tests give no useful information to parents, teachers, or students in a timely manner. While these tests were originally created as a diagnostic tool to help target areas of weakness in students, their use has shifted from being a diagnostic tool to being an autopsy.
Schools do not receive the raw score results until after students have left for the summer.
These raw scores tell you very little. It’s like looking at your child’s grade on their report card and wondering why they received the C. Thankfully, you can contact your child’s school and find out why. There isn’t that recourse on these state tests.
Teachers are not supposed to even look at the test questions as they administer the test. Students, as young as eight, are being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements about the tests. Since teachers are not creating, scoring, or even allowed to see these tests, what about these tests inspires confidence that they are truly testing what we are teaching our students?