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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Arne Duncan, tests first, kids last

From Scathing Purple Musings, by Bob Sykes

Last weekend’s release by the Atlanta Journal Constitutionof an investigative report into possible cheating across the nation drew this email comment from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan:

“These findings are concerning,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an emailed statement after being briefed on the AJC’s analysis.

He added: “States, districts, schools and testing companies should have sensible safeguards in place to ensure tests accurately reflect student learning.”

Does Duncan believe that tests can accurately “reflect student learning?” If so, he’s taking the position that one multiple choice test – designed far away from the building where a student goes to school – is absolute in measuring something – student learning - that is both broad and ambiguous.

Duncan’s statement reveals just how much the main players in education reform are devoted to testing. The tests which the Secretary is so enamored with were once called “achievement” tests and later, “assessment” tools. Nonetheless, Duncan’s statement shows that education reformers are trying to maintain the narrative that standardized tests have more value and are far more important than they ever have been before.

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