Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tests Don't Measure This

Unfortunately, I've been having what seems to be endless conversation about test scores lately. At work the meetings are countless- what our scores are, where we need to be, who to target, etc. etc. etc.

On Twitter the other day I engaged in a conversation around whether national standards are needed. In short, my answer was no since I fear that this will only lead to some inane national exam, which will undoubtedly measure one type of intelligence- good old paper and pencil.

My problem with the America's ongoing fascination with standardized tests is this- how do you measure:

* collaboration
* critical thinking
* problem- solving
* curiosity
* artistic/musical intelligence

The answer- you can't. It's really that simple. My 8th graders in this photo are engaged in a design project in which they are required to do all of the above things are more. They're designing a real project for a real- world reason. If their product is chosen by Mark Ecko, their t-shirt design has the possibility of being sold in stores across the world. The lessons they're learning about design, marketing, economics, branding, etc are invaluable and traditionally not addressed in classroom. Tell me, how do you measure this??