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Independent Voices

Tests can only assess those that are good test takers and those that can speak the language of the tests. I believe that we have shifted all of our attention to studying for these tests and we no longer nurture imagination, which is the way that society actually solves problems. I do not think that the CSAPs truly measure the ability of a student to digest and apply knowledge to the world around them, and we will suffer in the future when this generation cannot think beyond what they have memorized.

I’m not qualified to either criticize or defend the CSAP tests themselves, but I am concerned about the emphasis the testing process gets. At what point are we teaching test-taking at the expense of the subject matter? At what point are we burying our schools in another layer of required paperwork and reports? I fear we’ve been sold a program that is not effectively achieving its advertised goals, but I would like to hear what experienced teachers have to say about it (when they are out of earshot from their administrators).

No test is a perfect indicator of what students have learned. Achievement scores reflect particular test items, and can emphasize more basic skills than critical-thinking skills. The wait to see if student gains in elementary schools result in longer-term gains in secondary schools and then to completion of more years of education and ultimately to greater success in the labor market is years! The government school system is too bureaucratic to reform itself. It is crucial to create competitive alternatives outside the current school system. Do it for the KIDS!


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