ERIC Number: ED484794
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
For Assessment. Eductopia, April/May 2005
Popham, W. James
George Lucas Educational Foundation
For the last four decades, students' scores on standardized tests have increasingly been regarded as the most meaningful evidence for evaluating U.S. schools. Most Americans, indeed, believe students' standardized test performances are the only legitimate indicator of a school's instructional effectiveness. Yet, although test-based evaluations of schools seem to occur almost as often as fire drills, in most instances these evaluations are inaccurate. That's because the standardized tests employed are flat-out wrong. Standardized tests have been used to evaluate America's schools since 1965, when the U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) became law.That statute provided for the first major infusion of federal funds into local schools and required educators to produce test-based evidence that ESEA dollars were well spent. But how, you might ask, could a practice that's been so prevalent for so long be mistaken? Just think back to the many years we forced airline attendants and nonsmokers to suck in secondhand toxins because smoking on airliners was prohibited only during takeoff and landing. Some screwups can linger for a long time. But mistakes, even ones we've lived with for decades, can often be corrected once they've been identified, and that's what we must do to halt today's wrongheaded school evaluations. If enough educators--and noneducators--realize that there are serious flaws in the way we evaluate our schools, and that those flaws erode educational quality, there's a chance we can stop this absurdity.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: George Lucas Educational Foundation, San Rafael, CA.