For many of you in California with school-aged children, they recently completed the California Standardized Test, or CST for short (although it is sometimes called STAR testing, but I think that is an older acronym that no longer applies). Being a teacher, I loathe the class-time wasted taking the tests, but I love the fact that we have the tests.
Research in the education field is a joke. Coming from a science background where the Scientific Method is still in use, it has always been frustrating reading “research” papers for education. One guy observes a class for 2 weeks, and that is supposedly a long enough time to make recommendations that apply to all classrooms and get published. There is no double-blind sampling in education, and as a result, any published research is not research at all, but an opinion piece.
Lucky for us, when George W. Bush passed the No Child Left Behind act, even though it is a bad piece of legislation which is universally despised by educators, it required standardized testing. Finally, we have usable data. Finally, we can gather the data, analyze it, and see how our school is doing compared to the school down the street. If they are better than us, why? Let’s ask them and see what they do different. Nearly all students hate taking tests, especially standardized ones; but they don’t realize that it is for the greater good. I just wish there were some way to tag the tests that kids just rush through and don’t try on as erroneous data that doesn’t get counted.