Friday, January 22, 2010

High Stakes Testing and Zero Tolerance: two unnecessary evils

"Together, zero tolerance and high-stakes testing have turned schools into hostile and alienating environments for many of our youth, effectively treating them as dropouts-in-waiting."
Did you have to read that twice like I did?

That's a pretty bold statement, don't you think?

It is a quote taken from the executive summary from Test, Punish, and Push Out: How 'Zero Tolerance' and High-Stakes Testing Funnel Youth Into the School-To-Prison Pipeline which was authored by Advancement Project.
Here are but a few thought provoking excerpts from this document:
In reference to the horrific damanges No Child Left Behind and similar initiatives have created:

From 1996 until 2002 (when NCLB was signed into law), sixty-eight of the 100 districts experienced rising graduation rates. Twenty-four of those districts achieved double-digit increases intheir graduation rates, while only four had double-digit drops during that period.
However, after the passage of NCLB, seventythree of the 100 largest districts experienced declining graduation rates from 2002 to 2006. Seventeen of those districts experienced at least a double-digit drop in their graduation rates. Only two districts experienced a double-digit increase.
In reference to how the business model does not work for education:

Americans associate with success in other fields, such as business. Indeed, the ideological roots of high-stakes testing and zero
tolerance are right out of the corporate playbook, as they are based on the notion that problems are solved and productivity is improved through rigorous competition, uncompromising discipline, constant assessment, performance-inducing incentives, and the elimination of low performers.

However, while these principles may work in the business world, the corporate pproach is imply a bad fit in the context of public education.

This report will challenge you to rethink education. Now more than ever, we need to radically rethink our dependence on punishment and test scores.
Download the report here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this. And for the link. Good to see those empty slogans twinned in this way.
    - Josie


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