Thursday, July 27, 2017

Test Scores and Educational Reform

In the book, Counting What Counts:  Reframing Education Outcomes, there is an interesting comparison between the statues of Easter Island and the goal of high test scores in education.  Just as the Easter Islanders based their success and progress by the statues, many in education have become obsessed with competing globally for the best test scores.  The emphasis on these test scores has caused less emphasis on other areas of education which can be detrimental to the fostering of creativity and the acquisition of soft skills necessary to compete in a modern ecomony.  Ironically, this movement, GERM (Global educational reform movement) is described as "infecting" education.

While certainly test scores have some worth in quantitative measurement of student progress, it cannot be the only measure, and alternatives must be considered.  One of the book's authors, Dr. Yong Zhao, equates the measurement provided by test scores to the concept of one taking medicine to treat an ailment.  While the medication can make a positive difference in the prognosis and progress of the health of the individual, there could be side effects of that medicine that hurt something else in the body along the way.

We must find a way to alternatively teach students and to evaluate progress to create more well-rounded, global citizens whose educational experience has been one to foster an entrepreneurial spirit so necessary in our existing and future society.