Friday, August 20, 2010

Standardized testing under the microscope

I've been doing some reading on standardized testing and privatization in education - which is what we are watching in New Brunswick. Some interesting points -
1. UNICEF rates American education at rank 18 in quality of education. The US is the country that has gone in most heavily for standardized testing and privatization of education over the last 25 years or so. In that time, its quality of education has improved slightly. But it was iimproving before that - and at a faster rate.
2. UNICEF usually ranks Canada among number five in education quality. Why are we copying the country that ranks 18th?
3. The US also ranks far lower than Canada - and most other rich countries - in adult literacy.
4. In international tests on science, Canada ranks second in the world. The United States, with its tests and rankings comes 22nd.
5. Canada leads the US in the percentage of students who finish high school. At least, we did when we didn't have standardized testing.
6. As early as the 1960s, it was well researched and well understood among social scientists that socio/economic factors and parents have far more to do with school success than teachers do. In other words, rich, white kids tend to do better than non-whites, the poor - and the lower middle class - all over North America. And standardized testing has done nothing to change that.
7. The purpose of the Atlantic Institute of Marketing Studes is, like the Fraser Institue, to make more money for people who are already rich. To do that, they are very happy to treat our children like any other commodity on the market. That's why the government gave the testing contract to AIMS. AIMS is also the one who gets to announce whether it's working. New Brunswick has, as it usually does, a bought and paid for government and, for the most part, a bought and paid for news service. They are all quite happy to sell out children.
8. There are at least 70 professors of education in New Brunswick. Where the hell have they been while this has been happening? No doubt, they're all tied up giving honorary doctorates to wealthy contributors and each other.

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