The piece appeared to stem from an incident about a test question on an 8th Grade English proficiency test in New York recently that was described this way in the New York Post:
In the story, a take-off on Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare, a talking pineapple challenges a hare to a race. The other animals wager on the immobile pineapple winning — and ponder whether it’s tricking them.Now, perhaps knocking a whole testing regimen based on one question being written apparently by Douglas Adams' crazy cousin is unfair. However, we are basing people's livelihoods and the future of our children on such things in this high-stakes regime.
When the pineapple fails to move and the rabbit wins, the animals dine on the pineapple.
Students were asked two perplexing questions: why did the animals eat the talking fruit, and which animal was wisest?
Ravitch denoted several incidents of nationwide revolt against high-stakes testing and the problems it brings.
The National Testing Resolution calls on the Obama administration and Congress to "reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality in accountability, and not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators".In addition, she gave several state examples of revolt:
The organizations that have joined to oppose high-stakes testing include the Advancement Project; the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Fairtest; the Forum for Education and Democracy; MecklenburgACTS; the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.; the National Education Association; the New York Performance Standards Consortium; Parents Across America; Parents United for Responsible Education (Chicago); Time Out from Testing; and the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.
Nearly 400 school districts in Texas have passed a resolution opposing high-stakes testing, and the number increases every week. Nearly a third of the principals in New York state (some at risk of losing their jobs) have signed a petition against the state's new and untried, high-stakes, test-based evaluation system.This reminded me of something current Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner told the Cincinnati Enquirer recently about his vision of future testing in Ohio.
Instead of taking just one test every spring, students will take up to four tests each year in each subject, he said. The first test may come after the first nine weeks of school and may be optional.So it appears Ohio will continue with more testing, despite the reservations of some in other states and nationally.