Standardized tests and report cards are old school

“Let’s be clear. There is not one way to measure learning. As Rog Lucido pointed out here a while ago, student learning can only be described, not truly measured.”-Anthony Codyimage

I like to use broad based checklists (informed by an understanding of human development), short narrative, examples of actual project or individual work done (this can be in audio, video or photo files)…
…and most importantly; a person’s captured reflections, passions and thoughts about themselves as a learner and friend.

This process also involves developing an honest and collaborative connection with a person’s family based on trust.

You may have heard this referred to as a portfolio approach… however I have learned to question further when told a school uses portfolios. Upon closer inspection I have found that most “portfolios” contain pre-packaged rubrics, standardized assessments and checklists, regular class assignments and standardized self reflection forms from educational supply houses or other sources.

These do not sparkle and zap with creativity, nor bravery and the pursuit of those big questions. In a review of one of these we won’t find out anything unexpected, sobering or thrilling. We learn little about the way a person thinks, feels and develops. And.. we learn little that can expand or deepen professional learning research and teaching practice.

Hey… but

We are living in a brave new world of conformity, obedience, double speak, shiny technology, new furniture and granite counter tops. We are all happy. Smile, smile, smile. Plug in.

Any questions?

I share a link to a book pictured above  that has informed my practice and inspires me again and again. Descriptive practice is transformative and cutting edge.

Link to Anthony Cody’s piece at Education Week


About cthebean

Educator, musician, social justice activist...and now a blogger. Children deserve unflinching support from adults.....they deserve nothing less. All kids . Everybody's kids. Everywhere.
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4 Responses to Standardized tests and report cards are old school

  1. carolahand says:

    The very label “standardized testing” should alert us all to the agenda behind NCLB. I appreciate knowing about the respectful, inclusive alternatives you shared, Christine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cthebean says:


      I appreciate your comments, as always.
      Yes…that label says it all. I actually have a physical reaction to it…a wrenching of sorts that speaks of sadness and anger……..I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • carolahand says:

        It does feel like a hopeless task to undo this harmful policy. I actually experience a similar “wrenching of sorts that speaks of sadness and anger” when I teach social welfare policy classes. The mean-spirited policies developed by ALEC and enacted by states around the country have created an oppressive web that feels impossible to undo.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. cthebean says:

    After more than a decade of NCLB, we have no reason to believe that testing and accountability will change the fundamental problems of American education, which are rooted in poverty. – Diane Ravitch

    Liked by 1 person

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