Why do we test school kids anyway?

Finn Poschmann, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC), Nov 14, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) is an "independent think tank" that offers business-friendly advice to governments and lobbyists. Normally they steer away from education, but occasionally offer an item like this recommending that we adopt a pro-testing standards-based system that is definitely not constructivist or 21st-century learning. Finn Poschmann cites "evidence" (from another 'independent think tank', the C.D. Howe Institute; actually a link error but probably this) to argue "too much emphasis on using differently coloured blocks to represent 100s, 10s, and 1s, and not so much on “what is 7 times 12?” seems to cause problems for kids in later years." The evidence seems to say the opposite; the highest-achieving students are in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, and these are also the most progressive schools in the country. It's where progressive education is steadfastly resisted - as in Canada's Atlantic provinces - where we see poor test scores dragging the nation down. See also: high poverty school succeeds by focusing on adventure, the arts, project based learning.

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