When Will the Testing Bubble Burst?

Education Week blogger Anthony Cody theorizes that, much like the housing market and the stock market, we are on the “last upward push of the testing bubble.”

Just like real estate, test scores have some intrinsic worth. They can be used to see how students at a given school are performing in some important areas of basic skills. We have had tests available for this purpose for decades, and they allow us to see patterns at the whole school or district level, and to judge the effectiveness of different curricula or instructional programs. But the value of these tests is being vastly inflated as a result of the phony imperative that we are in an “education crisis,” and the only cure for this is “accountability” for test scores.

Corporate education reformers are so happy to have introduced “market forces” into the education arena, they have overlooked the fact that they are creating the most destructive dynamic of the marketplace — the unsustainable bubble — which is inevitably followed by a calamitous crash. And as with all of these bubbles, the longer it takes to burst, the greater the damage it will inflict. […]

The sooner this bubble bursts, the sooner we can get to the REAL work involved in improving our communities and schools. We can roll up our sleeves and deal with some of the social issues that affect students’ abilities to learn. We can allow teachers to reflect and collaborate with a focus on authentic student work that is creative, rich and open-ended, instead of focusing on test score data.


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