Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Teaching to the test? Please. Let's not.

Once again, the whacky Washington Post education guy comes out with another amazing piece called Let's Teach to the Test (registration required).

I have said this before: test results can be quite useful when used with big ifs, meaning let's be sure to interpret test results with the proper boundaries. One difference between the whacky guy and me is that I'm aware tests are fallible and imperfect instruments of measurement.

A few very minor things to consider: Sources of error. Test validity. (does it measure what it's supposed to measure?) Test construction. Test item construction. I rarely see these considered. I can't assume tests are perfect (they never are), to be worshipped as goddess-like, meting out fair and wise assessments of education.

At the very least, I would hope the whacky Washington Post guy takes a college level test in Tests and Measurements before he goes off again on another assignment to shill for standardized testing and standards.

Mathews, the WaPo education dude, inadvertently exemplifies why we need Fairtest.