Ranking and rating means that even if everyone is excellent, the least excellent must be marked Below Basic or Underperforming or Just Not Good Enough. A system based on ranking and rating is a system that assumes that in every endeavor, there are people who just aren’t good enough. I reject that view of the world, and so I reject any testing system designed to reinforce that view. If everybody in my classroom does a great job, everybody in my classroom gets an A.
From a teachers letter to the editor opposing standardized testing
Everyone is not excellent‼️
Yup, that’s the way the world works. Employers don’t rank workers, the worst of the best does not get less in rewards, doing a great job with minimal results is rewarded.
Teachers need to get out more in the real world.
Well the reality is that in every endeavor there are people who just aren’t good enough. That’s why sports teams cut players, why people get fired or not promoted, why some people are very successful and others not.
Giving everybody an A is one of the reasons our society is so screwed up. Everyone does not deserve an A and making them think they do is not helpful.
This is not to say some people are bad or stupid, but they simply cannot achieve in certain areas and may excel in others. (Don’t ask me to do algebra; I never did get it and I liked statistics so much I took it twice). Standardized testing does not have to be stressful or demeaning and there should be no reason to teach to the test which if you think about it defeats the purpose of such a test. If you have the right curriculum and the right teacher and tools (and parent involvement) why shouldn’t we expect a reasonable learning result consistent with a distribution of capabilities?
Is it unreasonable that we expect a graduate to know basic grammar, be proficient at reading and capable of doing common math problems and if they are not, finding out why? And yes, it is helpful to have a valid benchmark for comparison; that’s exactly how business operates.
Other countries do standardized testing, but sometimes with one big difference. They don’t use the results to punish schools or teachers but to focus on helping struggling schools. Perhaps that’s our real problem.
We can debate testing all we want. We can dream that every student deserves an A, but in the end only the real world matters, and that says something is very wrong which does not portend well for America.
Only about a third of U.S. high school seniors are prepared for college-level coursework in math and reading. And while the performance of the country’s highest achievers is increasing in reading, the lowest-achieving students are performing worse than ever.