ERIC Number: ED172230
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Assault with a Deadly Mandate: The Minimum Competency Movement.
Dittmer, Allan E.
The minimum competency movement's rationale can be reduced to four problem-laden propositions: the state through its schools owes every child an education; a high school graduate should be at least minimally competent; schools should be held accountable for seeing to it that every child meets this standard; and to assure this, every child must be tested. The movement has paid insufficient attention to such problems as the possibility that all students from one racial, ethnic, or social class might fail; the possibility that too many students will fail; the difficulty of the schools in specifying what they will guarantee that each student will learn; the possibility that tests will have to be made so elementary that nearly all will pass; and the possibility that some students will drop out to avoid testing while some will pass and still be judged incompetent by employers. In addition, the problem of dealing with resistance by teachers, students, and parents has been ignored. Minimal competency testing is regressive and deadeningly dull, distracting students from confronting important issues. Special problems surrounding the underlying testing include the following: the "grammar" of tests as a medium, regardless of content or purpose, determines the quality of the test and its effects on people; tests rely heavily on math and statistics, putatively exact and immune from criticism; and tests are inadequate and inaccurate as means of predicting success. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Back to Basics
Note: Paper presented at the combined Annual Meeting of the Conference on English Education and the Secondary School English Conference (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, March 15-18, 1979)