RE: Equity in Educational Assessment

Date: Tue Mar 07 2000 - 09:15:55 EST


Your concerns mirror those which many of us have. What about the other
parts of education--music, art, civics, physical education, et alia? This
is not the first nor, alas, the last time that education will driven by
concerns other than the welfare of a child. The emphasis on reading,
writing, and math reflect the "back to basics" movement that has been so
popular among particular populations. Yes, we do want all citizens to be
able to read well, to write coherently and to have a high degree of
expertise in math; that is not the issue. And in wanting that, do we
ignore other areas, such as art and music, which indeed complement and
reinforce the learnings in the "basics?" In the quest for high test
scores, we forget that learning reflects more that a computer printout.

Assessments are necessary to find out where students are in their progress
and there isn't a teacher that does not use a variety of such measures to
determine that progress. It is how we use that the information that is the
dilemma. Not only do we have to look at the equity issues in structure of
such measures, but also how we are going to put principles of equity and
diversity into the place so that every child acquires the knowledge and
skills that those assessment purport to measure. If we are going to hold
students and teachers to "high standards" it is the minimum that we specify
what those standards are, what consititutes meeting those standards and
provide what is necessary--from staff development to curriculum alignment
to civil rights--to insure that all students meet those standards.

Kathleen Rigsby <>

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