Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Smarter Balanced Tests as Junk Science
Read CAPE member Roscoe Caron letter to the editor in Tuesday's RG

High-stakes testing is ‘junk science’

Was I a good teacher or a bad teacher? When I taught middle school, I administered lots of high-stakes standardized tests. Sometimes the students’ overall scores were fairly high. Sometimes they were quite low. It really depended on who walked into my classroom in September.

I preferred to work in schools in lower-income areas. I felt I could make a difference there and I appreciated the heart and soul of the kids and their families. I knew my school wouldn’t match the test scores of Eugene’s middle- and upper-middle-class schools. Ever.

The tests measure a tiny fraction of the human learning experience. Overall, they measure students’ access to resources. They’re junk science and the game is rigged.

We’re now in yet another high-stakes testing season but something changed last year. In Eugene, 11 percent of students and parents refused to take the tests in spite of overwhelming opposition from the school board and school district administration to opting out.

Now, because of the opt-out movement, the board and administration — and some state politicians — are beginning to change their opinions about the value of the tests.

Make no mistake. If the opt-out movement fades, those recent attitude changes could also fade. Now, more than ever, parents and students need to just say “no” to time- and money-wasting testing.
Opting out is easy to do. The forms are on the home page of the Eugene School District’s website and at individual schools.



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