ERIC Number: ED171722
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Dec
Minimums, Competency Testing, and Social Policy. National Consortium on Testing Staff Circular No. 4.
Cohen, David K.; Haney, Walt
The minialist approach to social policy, especially concerning public education, has not worked because the assurance of minimal protection for the deprived also entails a rise in acceptable levels of attainment for those above the minimum, in order to preserve their competitive advantage. Also, particular minimums, such as universal elementary education, have rapidly become obsolete. The 1960's represented a major turning point in social policy--a shift away from providing services to producing results. Minimum competency testing is part of this trend because it promises to extend public responsibility from resources to results; yet it holds individuals responsible for attaining the results. There is evidence that competency testing will not work. The movement is growing in a political climate of short resources and shorter patience with professionals and their clients. There is no widely accepted method of selecting minimum competency tests, nor of determining whether the minimum has been achieved. More basically, there is a weak understanding of the factors influencing productivity; consequently, the ability to control relevant factors is doubtful. It is unlikely that schools will be able to remedy the failures that competency testing will define, and this could discredit the test instruments used to report failure. (CP)
Descriptors: Accountability, Educational History, Educational Problems, Educational Responsibility, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Government Role, Minimum Competency Testing, Public Policy, Social Change, Social Problems, Social Responsibility, Testing Problems
Huron Institute, National Consortium on Testing Project, 123 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Carnegie Corp. of New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Huron Inst., Cambridge, MA.