ERIC Number: ED193995
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
What Shall We Do About Declining Test Scores? Current Issues in Higher Education, 1978.
Two issues, one familiar and the other less so, emerge from the controversy over declining scores on standardized tests in the United States and the growing movement toward minimal competency testing mandated by government. The familiar issue involves the balance between egalitarianism and elitism in American education. The second, a reemerging issue, is that of pluralism in American education. The minimal competency legislation being adopted in many areas prompts questions of accountability, especially mutual accountability of schools, parents, teachers, and students. A four-point agenda is suggested for expanding the minimal competency testing function: (1) deciding what competencies the community wants to measure; (2) finding a balance in types of tests and determining result reporting measures; (3) insistence upon standards of excellence that encourage performance at the upper level of the scale and deemphasize poor performance at the lower end; and (4) full consideration of what will happen to students who don't meet minimum standards. The questions of curriculum and basic skills development are closely linked to the minimum competency issue, and they have no irreconcilable differences. Despite the difficulty and inconvenience of implementing real change in the area of basic skills, it would be worthwhile for groups of teachers, school administrators, school board members, and parents to get together to align with the common purpose of doing more about the basics. In broad terms, the tests themselves are not very important; however, the increased interest in them does present new problems and opens new prospects for the development of pluralism in American education. (MSE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Association for Higher Education, Washington, DC.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Higher Education (Chicago, IL, March 1978)