The Best of Both Worlds

Stylized image of band of colors swooping toward the tip of a pencil point to make a colored pencil tip.

Kappan | November 2016

Replacing machine-scored standardized tests with teacher rated classroom assignments and accurate grading may represent our best hope for promoting both accountability and instruction. In the past decade, a powerful antitesting coalition made up of parents, educators, and activists has arisen in and around public schools. Standardized testing, they’ve argued, is an inherently limited technology that cannot adequately measure student learning, particularly in the case of traditionally underserved minorities. Worse, they contend, test-based accountability has dramatically reduced the mission of schools, narrowing the curriculum and constraining classroom instruction. Testing, they maintain, is a dark cloud hanging over the U.S. education system.

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