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  • Paula Reed

Data-driven Requires Good Data

From The New York Times: "Put Down Your No. 2 Pencils. Forever."

As colleges rely less and less upon standardized testing, acknowledging that it is often unfair and probably doesn't relay meaningful data about the likelihood of student success, and as the College Board shortens the SAT from three hours to two, I am left once again wondering why we rely upon CMAS for understanding school performance and student learning.


The College Board thinks a three-hour test is too long. The CMAS takes nearly eight. It's like looking at the average speed of a marathon runner and wondering why it's not comparable to a sprinter. I pointed out to a state school board member that kids can't possibly maintain peak performance through a test that long, and it was clearly a revelation to her. It was something they simply hadn't thought of.

For anyone who has ever proctored this test, it's as clear as day.


A lot of other things are clear, too: Kids and families aren't invested, and often the test scores of students teachers know personally do not reflect what they have seen those kids do in the class. We have been hyper-focused on testing for the last 20 years, and yet, what I hear from people is a lot of observations about how our educational quality has declined. If this is true, clearly making our decisions based upon this "data" is not leading to a better quality of education.

By the way, our mid-year assessments like ACADIA and MAP--shorter ones done in the classroom and which students often put more effort into--show that our kids are approaching pre-pandemic levels of learning. Given the incredible disruptions over the last two years, this shows just how hard our kids and teachers have worked and how far they've come. Bravo!


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