Dear Bill and Melinda,
We must wonder why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has ignored the entire body of social science research on child development, learning, and instruction and spent huge amounts of money to facilitate the adoption of an untested unrealistic set of standards for our children’s schools.
People who saw questions from this year’s NY State tests which were supposedly aligned with the common core standards, said that the questions were needlessly complex and not developmentally appropriate. As an educational psychologist who has taught assessment, I want the public to know that because there is no standard unit of measurement, tests of school achievement can be easily manipulated.
When you measure a child’s height, an inch is always an inch. When you try to measure school learning, there is no set standard for what children should learn or how they can show that they learned it. This is why standardized tests can be manipulated by politicians and businessmen. We should return to hiring only licensed teachers whose preparation includes assessment. We should trust them to evaluate the child’s work in every medium over the full year of classes. A portfolio of student work can be used to support the teacher’s judgement of what the child has achieved.
Rosalie Friend, Ph.D. and Educational Psychologist