Here’s an excerpt from a paper I just finished for a School and Society course.
If schools are to serve the public as a means toward social mobility then they must create a situation in which students learn skills that are more developed than simple test taking can judge. There must be a critical element in schools that not only educates students, but provides them with the necessary creative skills to adapt to different situations and modes of knowledge.
It is this educating of students as critical thinkers that schools ought to be held accountable for. Put simply critical thinking inherently cannot be measure by multiple choice tests. Assessment is perfectly acceptable and accountability for schools is also necessary; however, it should not be undertaken through these mass tests of basic abilities. If school’s are to be held accountable and have the consequences that those in Chubb’s book (Within Our Reach: How America Can Educate Every Child) call for then it ought to be for something higher than basic skills. Ultimately schools serve to educate all children and provide for the opportunity for all children to participate in and perhaps even change their worlds and it is this that schools ought to be held accountable for doing. NCLB just does not work toward these higher goals. It just work toward imparting the basics upon students in the most efficient and cost-effective manner which does nothing to address the greater needs of society.