Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

The U.S. has tests galore. Driving, alcohol, steroids, DNA, citizenship, blood,  pregnancy–and on and on. Most serve a specific purpose and carry personal consequences if one passes or fails. School tests, however, to pass a course, to be promoted to another grade, to graduate and to judge whether the school is satisfactory or on probation have proliferated dramatically in the past three decades. Opinions are split among Americans about these tests.

Surveys report that most teachers (but by no means all) believe that there is too much standardized testing. Some parents have mobilized to boycott annual tests. Most respondents to opinion polls, however, support curriculum standards, accountability, and, yes, state tests.

Of the many cartoons on testing that I have located, most reflect the opinion that there is too much testing and too much is made of the results. I have found very few–none that I can recall or that…

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