New Thought: When Tests Are Harder, More Students Fail

Diane Ravitch's blog


New York policy makers saw a problem: too many students were failing the Algebra exam required for graduation. Result: more kids failed. What happens next? The tests will be made harder. What do you think will happen now? Will the policymakers blame teachers? Will the public figure out that making tests harder increases the failure rate? Why do legislators and policy makers think that kids work harder and learn more if the tests are more rigorous? Tests are not instruction. They are measures.

Some students take the Algebra exam four, five, six times. At one school that raised its passing rate on the Algebra test, the school dropped art, music, and health.

I have been reading Andrew Hacker’s “The Math Myth.” He does a good job of demolishing the claims that everyone needs Algebra.

Common sense, anyone?

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