THE WAR ON DATA, I.E., COMMON ASSESSMENTS

Last week I attended the monthly meeting of the Meridian Public School District’s Board of Trustees.

I walked out of that meeting with the highest level of confidence that I’ve had in this school district in quite some time. Other citizens were in attendance who, after discussing the meeting with me, felt the same way.

What made us feel so confident? Proof.

Proof was presented by District leaders to the community in the form of factual data; factual data derived from student performance in the form of a 9-weeks test given to every MPSD student known as the “Common Assessment”.

For the first time in years — possibly ever — the leaders of the MPSD have actually tracked and are able to prove to the community whose tax dollars support them that our District is headed in the right direction.

Without data, it is very difficult for a taxpayer to form a factual opinion.

Without testing, there is no data.

Without data, we’re all just handing our wallets to the Tax Collector’s office, walking away and saying “Have your way with it. Yes, I work hard for the money I’m giving you and, no, I really don’t care what you’re doing with it. Buy some textbooks with it or light a match to it. I really don’t care.”

When it comes to K-12 education, more and more often we hear about how terrible testing is. When viewed as a way to derive and analyze data, is it really so terrible?

Where is the outcry and outrage over the ACT and SAT — both of which are standardized tests similar to the Common Assessments and State Tests that are given to our K-12 students?

Further, couldn’t the Common Assessments, MCT and SATP be viewed as effective methods in preparing our students for the tests that will determine which college they are accepted into, how much scholarship money they will qualify for, etc., etc.?

Aren’t standardized tests used to determine whether or not a student is accepted into Medical School? How about Law School?

Isn’t it commonplace for employers to give various types of tests when considering a new hire(and no, I’m not talking about the kind where you pee in a cup)?

Is it a bad thing to be preparing our students now for these types of tests?

Many of us have very passionate opinions about this subject. I urge the reader to ponder these questions and to take a renewed, sober look at the “why” behind standardized testing.

PSW

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About The Public School Warrior

I am a product of Mississippi's public schools.
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