Missouri’s Teacher of the Year believes in teacher and school accountability. But he has some misgivings about the way accountability is measured.
Long-time chemistry teacher Bob Becker of Kirkwood High School is not criticizing standardized tests broadly. But he has some questions about what the tests do to teaching and whether they measure the competencies needed for tomorrow’s work force.
Becker says a properly-written and properly-scored standardized test can be a great measuring tool. But he says some tests don’t do a good job of showing how well teachers cover the material. He says he cringes when he hears teachers take time out of their curriculum to prepare students for a particular standardized test. Becker says the 21st century doesn’t need people with better test-taking skills.
He says some systems are backward–that instead of teaching to the test, the tests should be written to encourage better teaching. He says a multiple choice test cannot show the intangible, valuable things that need to be taught, including creativity and the ability for people to think on their feet. He says those are qualities the 21sat century workforce needs.