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October 03, 2012

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I love this analogy. In fact, we have two digital thermometers in our house, and they give different readings. I always use both on my daughters, then end up using my hand and my common sense.

You're right - we keep changing the assessment tool and then acting like it's giving accurate and meaningful information. While I'm a fan of assessments, as my posts demonstrate, I think they're good for only a few things.

If one group of kids has a fever of 105 on the thermometer, and another group of kids is at a comfortable 98.6, we've learned something. But we haven't learned what to do about it, or why it is.

Your point is well made, that we need to continue to investigate, and question the tool.

Your comments about trying a different thermometer, because maybe the one we have is broken, are good ones. We thrown out many thermometers in the past few years in terms of changing state standards, WASL to HSPE to EOC, and then moving on to Common Core standards and Next Generation Science standards. It makes it impossible to reasonably compare results from year to year in many subject areas and grade levels, yet people do. Will a move to national standards bring us some stability in this area?

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