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The Value of Test-Taking in Public Schools

Written By: Karen Schroeder - Advocates for Academic Freedom  |  Posted: Friday, September 16th, 2011

            Many educational leaders are using the cheating tragedy discovered among Atlanta teachers and administrators as an opportunity to attack the value of testing for accountability. Educators encourage eliminating current skill-based objective testing requirements so that teachers can teach instead of "teaching to the test". This is a specious argument manipulated by educational experts through ever-changing professional jargon. Once the jargon is eliminated, the flaw in the argument is clear. Lost in the debate is the fact that testing can be a successful accountability tool if several basic changes occur in the educational system. The circuitous debate will continue until the underlying issue has been addressed: test results may be used to hold teachers accountable for that which is beyond their control.

            Society has the right to set academic expectations for schools and to expect that accurate methods be used to verify student mastery of basic skills. For example: society has the right to expect students to have instant recall of multiplication facts one through ten and to expect an assessment of the student's level of mastery. In this case, please, teach to the test!

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