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High Stakes Testing is Counter Productive

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 16, 2011
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013

June 16th, 2011

US education works within a learning theory, behaviorism.  Learners are thought, by this theory, to be all the same.  They are objects of a treatment -- that is lecture, teacher-led discussion, homework -- and then are all tested to make sure the treatment is working.  No research in decades has indicated this theory has anything to do with how humans actually learn, but behaviorism turned out to be an easy way to run institutions, so it has persisted.

Now, as we might expect, we are reading reports this week of a rebellion in K-12 school districts:  "[there is] a wave of districts across the nation trying to remake homework amid concerns that high-stakes testing and competition for college have fueled a nightly grind that is stressing out children and depriving them of play and rest, yet doing little to raise achievement, particularly in elementary grades."

Behaviorism has run its course.  We have better ways to design learning opportunities. 


[My opinions are my own:  they are not meant to represent an official AAEEBL position]

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