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Dr. Montoya: More "Rigorous Core Courses" in High School

I’ve read a number of critiques about standardized testing, mostly from educators. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing wrote that most state exams overemphasize low-level skills and thinking. Alfie Kohn meticulously discusses some indisputable facts on the subject. Another educator commenting about this matter is Larry Ferlazzo, citing David C. Berliner and Yong Zhao, he offered his own response to the standardized test critiques & potential alternatives.

You might think once Arne Duncan conceded that "there are serious flaws in standardized testing", the fight was over. No so fast.

USF Education former professor Rick Ayers blasted the merited criticism from Secretary of Education. His post in the Huffington Post is an excellent almost bullet point critique of the 'rigorous' word mentioned by James Montoya, vice president for higher education, of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The College Board has simply discovered the obvious, that students with certain privileges do better on the SAT. It simplifies a very complicated problem and supposes that all the country accepts students to schools with the same social economic background based solely on the students education necessity.

Here goes a nice nugget from Ayers’ post:

Any high school senior would tell you, though, that Montoya has very likely confused correlation with causation. Yes, those kids who take the full college prep core courses and take the PSAT are going to do better. And, guess what? The kids with access to well-funded schools that offer effective core courses also come from upper middle class and wealthy neighborhoods. You could as well conclude that children who eat steak and lobster regularly and attend country club dances in the summer do better on the SAT so we should provide more steak and lobster and country clubs.

But if you like that excerpt, read the closing of his article again:

The SAT and standardized testing industry reign supreme over our schools; they have set the curriculum and the goals that administrators bow down to; it is their watch. With standardized testing narrowing and dumbing down the curriculum, reducing it to test prep and rote learning, it is no surprise that young people are more bored, more disengaged, more resistant. Instead of abandoning the tests that have done so much damage, the College Board proposes that we cede more power to them. This is just, to invoke a favorite SAT word, unscrupulous.

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