Standardized tests vs. skill development

North Carolina’s State Board of Education is looking at “sweeping changes to the way it evaluates students and rates schools,” says the Charlotte Observer. The big question is, “what changes?”

One of the ideas being floated is to have students take college entrance exams or occupational tests as a measure of student readiness for life after high school and to judge how well schools are teaching. While college entrance exams and occupational tests have their place, we would suggest that North Carolina take a look beyond testing to the actual skills students will need to succeed in life and work in the 21st century. As the Observer says, “states have begun requiring the tests as more universities are dropping them,” which is contradictory policy.

The Center’s Defining a 21st Century Education explores how and why skill demands are changing and what school districts can do to help students prepare for 21st century challenges. It won’t be inexpensive to have students take these standardized college and work readiness tests. We would ask, “Is this route the best use of scarce education dollars?” ~ Pamela Karwasinski

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