Friday, June 19, 2009

Is Standardized Testing Creating Criminals?

As I perused the CNN website to soak up the big headlines around the world, I came across an article on the WSB-TV (based in Georgia) website. The title of the article was- “Principal, Assistant Principal Arrested in Cheating Investigation”. The title alone intrigued me, so I read more. In a nutshell, the principal and assistant principal allegedly altered students’ answers on a state mandated test. The school was audited by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievements in Georgia because of an unusually large number of eraser marks on the tests. The higher scores achieved by allegedly altering the tests helped keep the school from failing to meet the state standards.

After picking my jaw up from the ground, I began to wonder if this is to what it has all come. Are educators and administrators under so much pressure to meet standards that scores must be altered? What lesson does this teach our students about integrity and honesty? I am not the biggest fan of standardized tests but I hold much value in the integrity that all educators in the field should have. If you have a problem with the test, work on fixing it rather than scheming to get around it! How does one motivate students to do well when their own principals go behind closed doors and change their answers? What I would really like to know is who you think is at fault here. Is it the administrators for forging scores, the students for not doing well on the test, the education system forcing accountability, etc? Is the accountability movement breeding criminals!?!?

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a classic case of people working so heavily from extrinsic motivation that they have to break the rules to qualify. It's why "accountability" almost always creates cheaters. It's why students cheat on tests and parents lie to teachers about how great they do in teaching them at home.