This week teachers in my school administered Pennsylvania’s state standardized assessments, the Keystone Exams. These new end-of-course exams replace the grade-level exams, the PSSAs, for high school students. This year Keystone Exams were taken for the first time and the scores count. While I expect students at the Downingtown STEM Academy will fare very well on this assessment, I do no want education to be reduced to the score.
Teachers at the Downingtown STEM Academy engage students in inquiry, problem-based learning. Our teachers are designing challenging experiential learning in STEM Pathway courses. Our teachers are also International Baccalaureate certified, and over 150 students in my school are enrolled in the IB diploma program.
One of the students at the STEM Academy scored perfect on the SATs. Many students are athletes. Many students compete in Future Business Leaders of America. Many students sing or perform in the orchestra or marching band.
Each student at the Academy will complete 150 hours of community service.
It is an unfortunate state of education that states and the federal government only define success or failure of education by a test number.
Find me one person who thinks test scores accurately account for student learning, teacher efficiency, or the success of a school. I do not think anyone believes education is reduced to a singular number.
Why, then, is so much time spent chasing a number that at most only shows a portion of everything teachers do for students and students do for themselves and the community?