Public Values

Standardized tests fail the education system

Business culture's focus on measurable data can have the opposite effect than the one desired.

Salutin: Everyone knows that what tests really test is how good you are at taking tests.In the third instalment of a five-part series for the Toronto Star, Rick Salutin exposes the fundamental flaws of standardized testing, decrying the tests' goals of determining school funding and measuring teacher effectiveness since the tests return inaccurate results and harm students' learning potential.

"If your kid recently soldiered through Ontario's province-wide 'EQAO' tests for reading, math and science, in Grades 3, 6 or 9, then you've been part of a worldwide homogenization of education techniques. This kind of testing is meant less to measure how kids are doing than how their teachers and schools are doing, so they can be held 'accountable'. Now there's nothing wrong with accountability. And testing is a necessary tool. The problem is accountability based on high-stakes, standardized tests..."

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Related individuals, organizations and significant events

Saving public education: The series

It's called public education, but the "public" part has never been more under threat. Tighter budgets and growing demands mean changes are likely.

In a five-part series, writer Rick Salutin examines our public school system. Where is it succeeding and where does it fall short? What are the pitfalls — and possibilities — of mimicking trends elsewhere?

A grant from the Atkinson Charitable Foundation allowed Salutin to spend several months exploring these issues in Toronto, as well as travelling to Finland and Saskatchewan.

Posted: May 11, 2011

Categories:
  Public services
  Education

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