This article was first published on Getting Smart on February 10, 2014
I worry about testing in the way I worry about alcohol abuse. On a societal scale, addiction is a tragic waste of human potential but in the privacy of my own home a glass of Tempranillo before dinner is at worst relatively harmless. Similarly, on a national scale student testing is a complex issue bound up in a Gordian knot of interrelated concerns from equity to test anxiety to teacher accountability to the appropriateness of assessing against standards that cross state lines, while in the haven of pursuing academics in my home it is not merely benign but essential – it is feedback.
As a math mom I’ve been asking (and asking and asking for the past decade) “ How do I know whether my math kid really understands the math?” For that matter, how do I know whether I understand it myself? Or if we are both merely engaging in the equivalent of “just invert and multiply” to get correct answers without much depth. What I’ve been asking for are tests. Read more