There seems to be a lot of angst around standardized testing in schools. Kids don't like it. Teachers don't like it. Parents don't like it. Even many administrators don't like it. So how do we stop it? Here is a simple and innovative approach to end standardizing testing.
Let's assume that today was the day that all 9th graders in Concord, Massachusetts were to take the new PARCC standardized test. PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. All of the 8th graders sit down to take an exam that is supposed to take 60 minutes and instead they are done in 5 minutes. How? By just randomly choosing a, c, b, a, d, etc. on all multiple choice questions. No pattern. No thought behind the choices. Just every student happily clicking on the little circles.
Boom! The results of test would be rendered useless. What could the administrators do? Could they demand students take the test seriously? Could they force students to try harder? "You sit down and take this test that has no impact on your life whatsoever seriously young man!" They would be at the mercy of the students. To make it even more fun, maybe students tell the school that some kids did actually take the test as instructed and some were random. The validity of the data would be in such question that no logical interpretation could be made. Chaos would rule the day and, more importantly, the nonsensical exams that have overtaken our education system in America would be exposed as worthless and nothing but a time consuming, high cost, low yield investment in our children.
No lobbyists. No protests. No court cases. Just 5 minutes of what Henry David Thoreau wrote so eloquently about in his essay, Civil Disobedience, which, by the way, makes its way into the school system just around 9th grade. Simple and easy - just like innovation.