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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Testing basic skills leads to two-tier system

The “testing tragedy” is that we use “cheap tests” of basic skills, writes Marc Tucker.

Schools serving mainly poor and minority students end up teaching the basic skills and schools serving more advantaged students, knowing their students will do fine on the accountability tests, will teach a richer curriculum matched to the original intent of the Common Core Standards. In this way, the use of standardized tests that test just the basic skills produces an environment in which, once again, the schools have different expectations for different groups of students, by race and social class.

The countries with the strongest education systems link tests to a strong curriculum, he writes. They test less often and invest in high-quality tests that “focus on measures of deep understanding, the ability to apply that understanding to real world problems the student has never seen before, and the qualities of character and social ability that so often spell the difference between success and failure in life.”

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