Dr. Stat

Dr. Stat is a Statistics Professor. This blog is his opportunity to share ideas and opinions about education (especially math education), politics, and whatever else comes up.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fixing Math Education 3

Testing.

Whenever you mention testing, there are people who get up in arms with all kinds of objections. Testing isn't fair. Testing doesn't really measure what kids know/understand/can do. Testing is biased. Testing is racist. Testing takes time away from real education.

Yeah.

Well, math is, probably more than any other subject, amenable to testing, fair and unbiased. We need to have meaningful standardized testing that is not just "high-stakes" for schools but for individuals. There has to be a way to require a certain skill level be achieved in each grade or the kids don't pass. The students have to be personally responsible for achievement, and the teachers have to be responsible if their students don't pass. They need to contribute the extra time needed to get their students up to speed when they don't pass. The tests should be comprehensive up to each grade level, the questions should not be known in advance, and they should be changed every year. Let's put the students and teachers together on the same team, fighting together to beat the tests.