Here's the problem: our scores speak for our school before people know who we are or what we do.
The book is being judged by the cover. But does the cover have anything to do with gaining insight to or prognosticating about the content? For sure.
However, does it tell the whole story?
Does it tell an accurate story?
I am not so sure.
Does it tell a fair story?
Nope, I don't think so.
Test scores are the first -- and sadly, in far too many cases -- the last things that politicians, bureaucrats and parents are seeing and using to make judgements as if one can know from afar what can only be viewed up close.
And far too many of their judgements are being based on these narrow windows.
I guess I wouldn't have so much of a problem with this if I didn't believe there was such a wide gap between test scores and what was actually going on in a teacher's room. It's just not, in my opinion, an accurate, insightful, full, rich, deep look in the profession of teaching.
And yet, it is being assumed to be so.
Look, my test scores are gonna rise next year. Why? Because that is my (forced) goal.
But does it mean I am a better teacher?
Does it mean my students learned more?
I'd say it definitely will mean my students will have become better test takers. But at what cost?
We are so fiercely driving all our nation's teachers to up their bubble test scores that we are losing sight of the fact that, in the 21rst century, almost no one uses bubbles to measure the ability to perform at any level once you leave the world of academics.
Performance is measured in how one performs... by actually doing something.
But we are not asking our kids to DO enough.
And they want to DO more.
And they take greater benefit from school when they DO more.
And in life, they are gonna have to DO.
I mean come on, the reason we love the magnet schools and high-functioning charters is because we get to see kids in their science classes looking under microscopes while kids in computer classes program code and kids in theater art class stage full ballet productions.
We don't ask to see the bubble test scores of the kid we see building solar heating panels. Why? Because we know they are learning.
How? In non-quantifiable ways.
Will we ever again trust in the idea of non-quantifiable learning?