“We’re testing more but we’re not seeing the results. . . .We’re not seeing the graduation rates increasing. We’re not seeing remediation rates decreasing. Somewhere along the way testing isn’t aligning with excellence.” Those are the comments of Sam Houston, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability. Earlier this week, the commission agreed on a draft report saying North Carolina is spending too much on testing. The report will recommend several exams be discontinued including the fourth, seventh and tenth grade writing tests and that the number of end of course exams be cut from 10 to 5.
While, it’s always good to evaluate testing procedures and I understand Mr. Houston’s frustration, I don’t understand his logic. Mr. Houston says, “Somewhere along the way testing isn’t aligning with excellence.” Shouldn’t RESULTS align with excellence? Testing is the mirror for measuring those results. Scrapping the tests implies that doing so somehow improves performance. It doesn’t. Yes, excellence should always be the goal. But testing is a means — a very necessary means — for getting there. Believing we’re better off by testing less is foolish thinking.