“Grandpa, they are grading it downtown?”

Recently, my wife and I babysat for her two grandchildren while their parents took a brief vacation. The oldest grandchild is in first grade in what is considered a good school district.

Among the list of tasks my daughter in law leaves for us is assisting my grandson with the completion of daily homework assignments. That first afternoon I sat down with my grandson to get homework out of the way so he could go out and play with his friends. We I asked for his assignments, he responded: “Grandpa, I don’t have any homework tonight. We were doing tests all day.”

As a former teacher, principal, and university professor, I asked: “All day.”

“Yea, they go most of the day”

“How did you do on these tests.”

“Grandpa, I don’t know, they grade them downtown.”

I will leave it to the educators who read this blog to comment on what my grandson’s response says about schooling in general in this country and the accountability movement in particular. Let me begin…

Level One: Validity and Reliability

Any course in test and measurements would immediately question the validity and reliability of testing first graders. Putting aside the assumption that was being tested has been taught—validity—asking a first grader to sit for four or more hours filling in bubbles raisers all kinds of red flags on the test reliability: in the words of my other grandson in another state—“Grandpa I didn’t do so well on the last test. I got tired—so I just stopped doing the test.”


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