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Testing, testing: How will measurement change in the future of education? | Darrell Bradford


Testing is complicated and essential, which
is to say as long as we’re paying for it somebody is going to want to know if it works. I think the question is always it’s like
the uncertainty principle in physics, the act of measuring something can change it and
is the change worthwhile and/or is the measurement so narrow that it doesn’t tell us anything
that we need to know? And so, what I’ve been and what I think
a lot of people are considering now is how do we not throw out the baby with the bathwater
when we talk about measuring the improvement, hopefully constant improvement, of our kids
of all types and in all locations while they’re in school? So, in thinking about a future where measurement
still matters the balance we’re trying to strike is can you add and subtract? Do you know how to read well? Which is so critical, if you’re not reading
well by the time you’re in the fourth grade you stand less than a ten percent chance of
ever reading well. I can’t think of a more hostile prison than
illiteracy that too many of our people of all races, incomes and places are consigned
to. So, how do we make sure we got those two things
right while providing a more holistic set of indicators that parents care about a lot? Safety. Does my kid feel cared for? Do they feel respected and challenged? That’s a much softer and more difficult
thing to measure, but it’s clear that it’s very important. And then at the far edge of this discussion
is not two variables, you take reading and math, and not reading and math plus some other
things that people value, but 50 indicators that covers so many things that they are meaningless,
which is like not the place that I think we want to be. I’m not a psychometrician, I don’t write
reading tests but I’m really happy that I can read and I think most people that can
pretty much are and we’re trying to engage in a process that values all of this now so
that we can still figure out whether or not our kids got the message. Now, the measurement thing is also important. Measurement is also important for two different
reasons: one is that it is good to know whether or not anything happened, but knowing what
happened doesn’t get you much leverage to change culture. So, measurement is very close to the fulcrum
of how you make policy or cultural change, which means you can lean on it a lot and it
might not changed much. Social change, like true transformations in
how we think about who we are as a people, as a nation and what our ideas should be is
much harder to do, but when it flips everything flips. So, you can look at a ton of different instances
of this in the last decade, marriage equality is a great example. Like I can remember Barack Obama saying on
the campaign trail that marriage was between a man and a woman and then five years later
love is love. You couldn’t do that leaning on measurement
very close to the fulcrum. You could do that in the hearts and minds
of that people changed in a way that made something big and important like fairness
acceptable. And our desire to measure the future has to
embrace that. It’s got to embrace the difference in schooling
necessary to get people to accept that. It’s got to embrace the different paths
that people take to success. Like some people are really good at math and
really good at tests and they like that world. Some people are not good at those things and
they hate that world. How do we respect both of those things in
a way that still produces literate numerate children who can take their place in our society
and our democracy? These are huge open questions right now. I think we thought we had the answers to a
lot of these things. I think we did have the answers to some of
them. I think figuring out what the answers to those
questions are is the essential work of the next ten or 15 years.

11 Replies to “Testing, testing: How will measurement change in the future of education? | Darrell Bradford”

  • Marriage Equality is such an insidious misdirection and mismeasurement. Broaden your lens and look at the statistical differences related to marriage comparing 1919 and 2019.

  • MEASURABILITY IN EDUCATION IS A WAR CRIME! We push people to do well on tests, leading world wide to suicides, depression, stress, failure. And learning for a test is not learning for yourself. More criteria due to apps doesn't make it better, it makes it more crazy! And finally we want developed humans, not compliant slaves for the corporate machine killing the planet.

  • I was really good at math.. however, not very good at reading, specifically comprehension, in the 4th grade(guess I'm in that,oh so fortunate, 10% that that he so confidently, smugly refers to)I read all the time now, at age 54, read and comprehend very well… so glad I was not convinced by someone's belief, like this guy.. Unfortunately there are many people who with good intent, generalize and instill false beliefs in developing mind that manifest into self limiting beliefs in adulthood.. unfortunately when you point this fact out, they will become defensive, rather than curiously explore that there is not just some evidence to support this.. there is a vast amount..
    Children need encouragement not labels.. they need to be taught how to think, not what to think…
    They need to be taught how to focus/ concentrate… not just told.. 'you need to focus more..' or 'why can't you just concentrate..' (and when those asking/ demanding them to become frustrated and elevate their voice, activating the sympathetic nervous system, shutting down the learning regions and capabilities for that child.. )
    Unfortunately, they are also never taught about awareness..
    That is the next level after focus/concentration..
    If you were never taught how to play an instrument and I told you in a raised, frustrated tone ' you just need to play the piano… ' ' play the piano..' everyone would think that is ridiculous, they have never been taught.. hmmm. However with focus/ concentration and awareness.. can just say that or worse yell that at a child, without teaching them how, and it's expected and acceptable.. then they get labeled.. like here, if you can't read by 4th grade, you'll never get it..
    Unfortunately, too many individuals with influence and good intentions, try to build this 'You need to do this or else you will not be worthy ' mentality or system on a shaky foundation and never notice it..
    If it were an actual building, then it would make sense, however it's just a human being developing in their formative years.. and the highly educated people cannot see the analogy.. they can not provide a stable fountain and then compare the results by not encouraging, pit one against another and never look to see where the cracks are in the foundation and shore them up…
    That's unfortunate..

  • My playlist titled what curriculum fails to teach us is what is missing from School curriculum. What good is it to be able to read and do math if you have no logic guiding it and you are so cognitively biased that you are your own shill and also perpetuating the majority's mental prison?

    Without the removal of logical fallacy, cognitive bias and the inclusion of the scientific method, what emerges is the societal cult of opinionism.

  • it is inefficient for some genotypes to pursue intellectual endeavors in great detail but all of them require a certain level of logic and rationality.

    if non intellectual beings are running around Society pretending their opinions matter, then we have a serious liability.

    The majority are so logically flawed and cognitively biased that they are at lvl of criminal negligence, the negligence is that of the education system; that is the biggest contributing factor anyway. It's also the the reason why democracy is, largely, a failure.

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