Author Will Richardson has issued an ultimatum against the current school system and I can’t help but agree with him on many fronts. Primarily, I support his recommendation that the current way we assess student progress is severely shortsighted. Through a demanding regimen of standardized testing, we are senselessly beating facts into our children and… For what? The value of learning has been massacred by the pursuit of higher averages and higher profits.
Pulling back from the dramatics, I think having grown up through much of this standardized testing boondoggle has put it in a certain light for me. That is, how could I as an educator put my pupils through the same waste of time? I admire Richardson’s thought that “Performance-based assessments, where students actually have to do something with what they know tell us volumes more about their readiness for life tan bubble sheets or contrived essays.” The hurdles in transitioning to this mode of testing are great, but I think there are many extracurricular groups that can be looked at as models. Take for example, Destination Imagination. After picking a designated challenge, students work as a team to complete it and perform for a panel of judges. Why can’t a similar type of examination be used in our schools?
Richardson establishes 6 strategies to help adapt to this age of abundance, when the wealth of human knowledge is in your pocket.