In the latest issue of Brainstorm NW, charter school agitator Kremer manages to simultaneously argue that standardized testing is both useless as a means of measuring the totality of student achievement yet indispensable for holding schools (and teachers) accountable.
So which is it? Here's what he wrote (the column isn't online so bear with me):
"Rest assured, tests are here to stay. ... The assessment data should tell us how well each school and each teacher is doing at raising academic achievement."
But then he says this:
"We should measure only those academic skills and knowledge that we're sure we can measure with reliabliity and validity. ... We have to accept the fact that tests can never measure everything that we think is important for kids to learn."
Like writing, problem solving, and critical thinking, which, even though they can't be "accurately" assessed, Kremer believes we still ought to be teaching anyway.
So here's my question for Rob Kremer: If tests can only be used to measure a sliver of what's taught in schools, how are they at all suitable as an accountability tool? Kremer narrows the definition of academic achievement to the few areas amenable to standardized testing. Isn't that a repudiation of test-based accountability for schools when it comes to student learning?
I've long argued that it is. I'm glad to see Rob Kremer making the case for me.