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Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:08

Standardized testing doesn’t improve learning

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The sign in front of a middle school informed parents, “No classes this week due to state assessments. We resume your child’s real education in two weeks."


In 2016, this sign could appear in Saskatchewan as the government intends to test every student, every year, from Grade 4 to 12. The new initiative has been given a starting budget of $5.9 million.
The primary purpose of testing all students is to rank them and rank the schools they attend; as educator Alfie Kohn says, it tells us who is beating whom. The cost of standardized testing can be saved by measuring socio-economic status. There is a correlation between income and scores; students in schools in wealthy communities consistently outscore students in schools in poor communities.
Now that we have saved the $5.9 million, let’s use it to fund radical evidence-based research. 
Find “twin” schools around the province and randomly assign one of the twins as a control school.  In the experimental school, put a second teacher in every class. 
Design surveys, collect evidence, and analyze the data around our driving question, “Will two teachers per class improve learning?"
We already know standardized testing does not improve learning. Even if our experiment’s answer is “No, two teachers per class does not improve learning,” at least our money will teach us something we did not already know.  For the love of learning, please sign the petition at tinyurl.com/chcrdxe and contact your MLA: www.legassembly.sk.ca/mlas.
Nancy Carswell, Shellbrook, Sask.

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