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Obama Tosses Value Added Assessments Under The Bus
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March 29, 2011, 11:08 PM
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From a transcript of Obama being interviewed by blue-eyed Jorge Ramos on Spanish-language Univision (Obama was getting an English translation in his ear piece — he speaks only English, which has obviously slowed his career immensely):
What is true, though, is, is that we have piled on a lot of standardized tests on our kids. Now, there`s nothing wrong with a standardized test being given occasionally just to give a baseline of where kids are at. Malia and Sasha, my two daughters, they just recently took a standardized test. But it wasn`t a high-stakes test. It wasn`t a test where they had to panic. I mean, they didn`t even really know that they were going to take it ahead of time. They didn`t study for it, they just went ahead and took it. And it was a tool to diagnose where they were strong, where they were weak, and what the teachers needed to emphasize.
Too often what we`ve been doing is using these tests to punish students or to, in some cases, punish schools.
And so what we`ve said is let`s find a test that everybody agrees makes sense; let`s apply it in a less pressured-packed atmosphere; let`s figure out whether we have to do it every year or whether we can do it maybe every several years; and let`s make sure that that`s not the only way we`re judging whether a school is doing well.
Because there are other criteria: What`s the attendance rate? How are young people performing in terms of basic competency on projects? There are other ways of us measuring whether students are doing well or not.
Look, if you don`t have a standardized test every year, you can`t measure how much value that year`s teacher added. It`s still not easy to do right, but you can`t do it at all if you don`t test annually. That`s not that complicated, but Obama doesn`t get it.