Life is a test. Don’t we have a responsibility to prepare children for life?
When I applied for an apprenticeship, I was given tests. I would not have been hired if I did poorly on the tests. I’m glad I had a background of testing in school. The Army tested me when I applied for a job as a lieutenant in the Army transport. How else would they know if I could do the job?
Our family is tested every month by our checking account. If we ignore that test, we go bankrupt. The company where I worked tested me every month with a budget and a profit-or-loss statement. If I ignored the test, I would be out of a job.
I’ve analyzed tests from a grammar school in Chicago. They tell us:
(1) How the school is doing. (2) How each teacher is doing. (3) The subjects on which the students are doing well. (4) The subjects on which the students are doing poorly. (5) Classes where the best students are favored. (6) Classes where the slow learners get the most attention. (7) The value of the tests. (A portion of the students progress one year for each year of instruction.)
How do you put together a school improvement plan without this kind of information? How do we help more students progress one year for each year of instruction if we don’t measure their progress? How do you help a poor achiever without testing to find out where help is needed? When a student tests poorly, we’re in big trouble if the teacher says, “You’re slow.” (Catalyst, December 1995, page 5) The teacher and the student need help.
Why should “back to basics” mean “out with progressive education?” Teach the way that works. If tests show poor results, improve the teaching; don’t cover up by throwing out the tests.