Testing, Testing, 1,2,3

The ongoing debate* about standardized testing continues over the summer, becoming louder and increasingly polarized by the minute (possibly as a result of the heat, more likely because no one likes tests).

Last week Britain announced they would begin publishing a national ranking of 11 year olds to help parents understand their child’s relative place.  This was, understandably, greeted with skepticism on one end and down right anger at the other.  The BBC reported head teachers’ calling the plans “disappointing and destructive”. While others noted the current system is flawed and this is at least a step in the right direction.

Then this infographic [image attached below if you don’t want to click through] popped up in my twitter feed, courtesy of Larry Ferlazzo, a high school teacher in California. It was tweeted to someone else, but it caught my eye because of the stark contrasts between the Finnish and US education systems.

It should be noted, of course, that while infographics provide snippets of information and relay a story conveniently and concisely, they certainly don’t tell the whole story.  That being said, if half of what this one represents is true then it’s quite unbelievable that any country would follow a system different from the path Finland has been on.

Also worth mentioning, like the BBC story, the comments section beneath the infographic provides some interesting reading. Various perspectives represented, the naysayers usually having the loudest voices, as is the case in almost any discussion. But definitely worth reading.

Which brings me to my final point, which is of no real consequence but it’s a personal bugbear: Can people debating/arguing/discussing in comment forums please stop using all caps when making a point? It doesn’t PROVE your point or even strengthen your argument. It merely indicates to the reader that you have located the shift and/or caps lock key. Well done, you.


image from slowrobot.com


* Not really a debate, though, is it? More of a ramrod ed policy to be consumed with a teaspoon of sugar.


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