Accountability, Budget, California, Charter Schools, Common Core, Corporate Education "Reform", Data, Education, Journals, Local Control, National Academic Standards, New York, Parents, portfolio-based assessments, Poverty, School Funding, School to Prison Pipeline, Schools, Standardized Testing, standards, Teachers#Let Teachers Teach, #Stand Up For Public Schools, Accountability, annual testing, California, common core, Corporate Education Reform, education, education reform, Local Control, Local Control Accountability Plans, Local Control Funding Formula, New York, New York Performance Standards Consortium, Performance or portfolio-based assessments, public schools, standardized testing, teachers Q: Is it possible to ensure educational accountability without giving standardized tests? In fact, we will never have accountability while we continue giving standardized tests. High stakes testing is seen as the only tool that can ensure schools operate correctly when in reality it is the very thing that blocks true responsibility.Pundits and policymakers cry crocodile tears as they draw up elaborate ways to punish teachers and students for low test scores.
You don’t have to go far to find local school directors who try to deliberate important decisions in private without notifying the public, circumvent the bidding process, make backroom deals, etc.No one ever thought there was anything wrong with that until giant corporations discovered they could make huge profits selling us their standardized assessments.We need to trust teachers again to assess as they see fit. We can have district-wide assessments systems that are not standardized – that are personalized – yet comparable across the district. Schools around the country are incorporating direct demonstrations of student learning into their assessment programs.When school boards are elected and are required to hold deliberations in public, accountability is built in.Voters decide who gets to make decisions and if those decisions made in the light of day are in the best interests of their children.This is better than having testing be the sole measure or even the most important one. The law requires each district to identify specific goals and spending priorities in eight areas. But we needn’t resort to money-making corporate products.I would modify them as follows: Which brings us back to testing. Teachers have been creating tests since the beginning of time.True accountability would ensure all students – both rich and poor – start from an equal playing field.When society neglects this, it is society that is failing, not poor children.So let’s stop pretending that standardized tests hold schools accountable. They just point the finger without offering anything to help.True accountability would be about diagnosing problems so we can fix them, not trying to fire your way to the top.