Closing the Loop: Creating Tests and the Content Tested

Education reformers’ obsession with quantifying the often unquantifiable spawned interminable testing, which now is tests the mettle of all educators — and should unite us all, parents, students, K12 and higher education to take back public education.


For centuries, imperial China endured an examination system that created a putative meritocracy of imperial bureaucrats.  Based on a carefully curated body of knowledge, it created a cognoscenti with no need to look “outside,” to be curious, or to explore.

I thought of it this morning as I was reading Meredith Broussard’s article for The Atlantic, “Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing.” At one point, she writes:

[S]tandardized tests are not based on general knowledge. As I learned in the course of my investigation, they are based on specific knowledge contained in specific sets of books: the textbooks created by the test makers.

Though this is tangential to her point, I could not help but think of how and why we college professors choose and teach what we do, especially in the humanities. I was appalled a couple of years ago, when I was helping a high…

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About @NatM4Equity

The National Mobilization for Equity is a coalition of organizations committed to alleviating the present staffing crisis in higher education: three-quarters of the teaching jobs in American colleges are held by underpaid, precarious and poorly-supported contingent faculty. Our long-term goal is to end contingency as the norm. The current untenable situation not only adversely affects all faculty members, both contingent and tenure-track, it also negatively impacts our profession, our students and the quality of their education.

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