If standardized testing is such a valuable tool for school improvement, why do so many educators oppose it?
The key difference is one of perspective. Parents, policymakers, and the consuming public view public education as a human development resource. Their top priority is literacy, numeracy, and the other educational outcomes that prepare youth to be productive members of adult society. Educators want these same outcomes but consider a broad range of other objectives to be of equal or greater importance.
This conflict mostly stays below the public’s radar, but it occasionally bubbles up as a political battle between educators and elected officials about accountability. Tennessee and other states now implementing their Race to the Top Reforms are now experiencing the full blown problem.
Author Richard Phelps’ classic Kill the Messenger: The War on Standardized Testing describes the issue and analyzes the arguments that non-educators must understand in order to defend and advance the public’s educational goals.
J. E. Stone’s preface to the 2005 edition frames the issue and outlines the chapters.