High-stakes, Standardized Tests Are “Master’s Tools,” Not Tools for Social Justice

Again, the best descriptors for this incessant testing issue: The essential flaw with continuing to cling to high-stakes standardized testing is two-fold: (1) the tests are race, class, and gender biased, and (2) the demand that we raise test scores keeps all the attention on outcomes (and not the policies and practices that create the inequity).

radical eyes for equity

Christina Duncan Evans argues that the high-stakes testing opt-out movement “ignores a major function of testing,” which she identifies as: “A major reason we use standardized tests is to make the case that there’s large-scale educational injustice in our nation.”

As an advocate for educational equity and social justice, Evans explains:

States don’t have a very good track record of providing equitable access to education to all of their students, and the federal government should ensure that American school quality is consistent. This has made me an advocate of standardized testing, following the logic that we can’t solve achievement gaps unless we measure them first.

Before examining this commitment to standardized testing (also found among civil rights organizations), I want to highlight that public education and state government have had a long history, continuing today, of failing miserably black, brown, and poor children and adults.

The evidence of lingering…

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Jumping Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire, and Other Anti-Common Core Nonsense

This says it all: The names and letters change, but not much else—except for throwing more money at a game of wasteful politics labeled “reform.”

radical eyes for equity

“Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has decided that the state should drop the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test,” reports Andrew Ujifusa in Education Week, adding, “and instead use the ACT Aspire test.”

Also in Education Week, Ujifusa explains:

South Carolina was one of three states last year—along with Indiana and Oklahoma—to require a replacement for the Common Core State Standards, amid a volatile political climate and challenges states have faced in implementing the standards.

SC has also opted for ACT Aspire testing, and all these changes are characterized as follows:

That shift has led to what state officials say is a calmer political climate for South Carolina’s public schools, support from a broad spectrum of K-12 and higher education leaders, and new standards that the state itself says are very closely aligned to the common core.

If fact, many states have begun…

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