Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Two members of our State Board of Education on the enormously expensive Smarter Balanced standardized tests:
Finally, any new state test will come with a higher price tag because state assessments have evolved in technology and in function. However, Iowa will get much more for our money with the Smarter Balanced assessments. The testing process will be more efficient, results will come back faster, and — most important — teaching and learning will be enhanced. The assessments offer incredible precision in identifying skills that students have mastered, as well as those areas where they’re struggling, both for individual students and for groups of students. This kind of information is priceless to the teachers, school administrators, parents and elected school board leaders who are working hard for our students.
That’s the best they can do? “The testing process will be more efficient”—oh, but somehow twice as long. “The results will come back faster”—hooray, but who cares? “Teaching and learning will be enhanced”—didn’t our state board members learn about supporting their assertions with evidence? “Incredible precision”—well, they got the incredible part right. “This kind of information is priceless”—I guess that’s why no one can tell us how much it will cost.

Will someone please explain how these tests will actually be used to improve our kids’ education? Points for being concrete and specific!

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