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ERIC Number: EJ983680
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0271-6062
What We Lose in Winning the Test Score Race
Jorgenson, Olaf
Principal, v91 n5 p12-15 May-Jun 2012
To achieve perpetually better test results each year as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), teachers in successful schools such as Leroy Anderson Elementary in San Jose, California, will "try anything" to raise scores, as the school's principal stated in an interview with "The San Jose Mercury News." In schools across California for the past decade, the same single-minded determination to improve outcomes feeds a relentless focus on teaching to the test that, to the dismay of many teachers, builds low-level skills such as memorization and recall at the expense of higher-order aptitudes--and at a tremendous cost to the community and future. Most educators and many parents know that authentic learning involves much more than perpetually improving test results. Standardized test scores don't measure a child's creative ability. They don't require children to research, explain, debate, elaborate, present, rebut, or improvise. They don't demand public-speaking skills. They don't reflect decades of research demonstrating that children come to school with an array of individual learning styles and perhaps nine or more different types of "intelligence," only one or two of which educators can measure with a paper-and-pencil test. Further, research points to mounting evidence that certain qualities schools don't test--such as perseverance, resiliency, and determination--play a role in high academic achievement. Multiple-guess standardized testing can't reflect character traits that encourage success in school and in later life. How ironic that these standardized tests, which offer only one right answer to every problem, can't capture the innovative, pioneering thought purportedly so valued by business and industry. Memorizing and regurgitating facts for a multiple-guess exam--"sit-get-spit-forget"--certainly doesn't prepare students for creative or entrepreneurial leadership. Nor will it serve a generation of digital learners for whom sorting, verifying, and applying information will transcend the need to acquire or memorize it. Standardized testing will be obsolete for the children now subjected to mastering it. In this article, the author contends that value-added assessment models could be a win-win solution.
National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). 1615 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 800-386-2377; Tel: 703-684-3345; Fax: 800-396-2377; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001