Accountability is the Soup du Jour


In Louisiana, our top policymaker and his compliant BESE fall in line with U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan in believing that accountability can only be achieved by threats and punishment using standardized test scores as a measuring tool.  

High stakes standardized testing along with its punitive consequences are NOT improving the delivery of quality instruction in the classroom where learning takes place. Tying accountability to student test scores has simply been a vehicle for takeover and privatization of our public schools.
 
Every teacher knows that can't accurately measure individual student learning with a one-size-fits-all standardized test.  You can only measure how many questions on a single test that a student answered correctly as per the test creator's answer key. Doesn't matter how much the student has learned or how much potential the student has for learning unless he knows the prescribed answers to the limited number of questions on the test.

For those readers not familiar with education pedagogy, you can compare using a standardized test for measure learning with an attempt to measure the circumference of a ball with a yardstick. Its inflexibility and poor design for the task make it inadequate.

Maybe John White would spin this analogy and support his use of the yardstick using the fact that you can measure the circumference of a ball with that yardstick if you use it to measure the diameter, which is a straight line measurement, and then apply a mathematical formula to produce the answer.

But to do that you have to manipulate that yardstick and ball using some method of visual guesstimation - because the yardstick is the only measurement tool you have. Then when you produce the close but inaccurate measurement for the circumference, you reproduce the ball and simply make whatever adjustments necessary till your new ball appears to be the same size as the first. It's a crude analogy but illustrates what JW is doing with student test scores and SPS. And with this, students, teachers and schools are held accountable.
 
But ACCOUNTABILITY is the soup du jour that has been served up to the public and we MUST find a recipe that will make it palatable and nutritious at the same time. There is a recipe, but educators must be able to simplify and demystify the term for public consumption.

We will not escape the limitations put on students and teachers via high stakes standardized testing until we do! 

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