for reform of testing

Over at the National Journal, Fawn Johnson reports that the Common Core standards for English and math have become controversial because of testing. “Now that it’s time for states to actually measure how their students are doing, it’s a lot harder to gloss over the problems with feel-good talking points.”

In an invited response, I argue that the existing standardized tests are bad–19th century tools–and the Common Core offers the opportunity to improve them. Progress may be halting, controversial, and painful, but I still favor innovation. In my comment, I argue that the existing tests are bad because they are separated from learning; overly standardized; completely private (so that they don’t assess how children communicate and collaborate with each other, even though that’s actually the purpose of English/Language Arts); and secret in ways that reduce legitimacy.