In Ontario, the teachers’ union is trumpeting an anti-testing poll. Colby Cosh rephrases the question:
From time to time, the media publish rankings of elementary and secondary schools in the provinces based on student test results. Some people say the rankings offer an objective picture of student achievement in mastering basic skills like reading and mathematics. Some people say that these skills are completely unimportant, and that no one but a teacher should ever, ever, ever have the sheer bleeding audacity to gather data about a teacher’s or school’s performance. What do you think?
It’s true, as the teachers’ union leader says, that tests don’t measure creativity, initiative, love of kittens, etc. But schools have a responsibility to teach reading and math, and neither the responsibility nor the competence to teach creativity, initiative, love of kittens, etc. Nor is there any evidence that students who can’t find the main idea in a paragraph are superior in unmeasurable traits to students who can read.