This week’s Tablet magazine column is about why our current obsession with standardized testing is both wrongheaded and profoundly un-Jewish. I wish I’d found a way to work in a mention of Linda Perlstein’s superb book Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade, which looks at how No-Child-Left-Behind-driven standardized test prep has changed the entire experience of learning and curriculum in one low-income Maryland elementary school. It reads like a novel. A harrowing one. Also wish I’d had a little more pondering time — I regret not adding a more explicit comment (though I’m hoping it’s sorta implicit in the Diane Ravitch quote) that teaching to the test isn’t a holistic way to learn, and Judaism is all about interconnectedness and integration of different spheres of experience. Oh well.

One Comment

  1. Robin Aronson May 11, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I’ve been thinking a lot about testing lately, too, not just because of the season but also because of this post on A. Sullivan blog’s — In it, M. Yglesias says people who are anti-testing don’t take the shortcomings of the education system seriously…. Seriously. He says that. And means it. You know, it’s just middle class prattle about being anti-testing after all. Never mind the mind numbing curiosity killing drill and kill exercises all kids have to endure for months. Do kids with all kinds of social and economic disadvantages not deserve to be at least Taught something other than how to take a test when they’re at school??? Thanks for the column. I’m going to go check it out.

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