Bruno: Standardized Tests & Classroom Teacher Bias
I really liked Kathleen Porter-Magee's and Jennifer Borgioli'spost on "the four biggest myths of the anti-testing backlash", especially the part about "teachers' instincts" so I'll permit myself to briefly take issue with fellow This Week In Education contributor John Thompson's characterization of their argument.
Admittedly, Kathleen and Jennifer may have sacrificed a bit of clarity in the pursuit of brevity, but unlike John I do not read them as claiming that standardized assessment results are "more valuable" than teacher-generated assessments. The key point - which I have not seen refuted - is that teacher assessments of students are often biased in ways that needlessly disadvantage students on the basis of their race (or gender, etc.) and standardized assessment data may be useful in mitigating those biases.
It's fair to say, as John does, that the way standardized assessment data are collected and used may reduce or eliminate their usefulness in practice. That, however, wasn't the "myth" to which Kathleen and Jennifer were referring. Instead, they were referring to the myth that teachers don't suffer from big, important blind spots when it comes to assessing students. I doubt John labors under that misconception, but there are many reform critics who often speak as though they do.
Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I don't really mind my students taking their 8th grade state science test and actually look forward to receiving the results: I'm acutely aware of the limitations of my own judgment when it comes to my students and standardized tests are one important - albeit imperfect - way for me to fill in my blind spots. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)