Thursday, October 16, 2003

I don't know how much of this new testing program is based on the same old ideas I once had to work on, but this is an unpleasant memory. I didn't have a public journal at that time, which is probably a good thing.

Before I left my job five years ago, one of the projects I was assigned, with a team of others, was to research the idea of a "rising junior" test for college students. We sharpened our pencils, surveyed the literature, chatted with folks from other states, listened to pitches from the big testing programs, and learned that it is mostly a terrible idea, costly to operate, and generally, a failure. We presented our findings, but it didn't matter. There was an agenda that included comparing campus performance, standardized testing of students for basic skills and Western canon, and what the research said, unless it was positive, was disregarded.

Anyway, I picked up my toys and went home - for this and a whole host of more important reasons, including finishing my PhD. But I figured the stupid testing idea had died out - killed by the faculty union or administrators from various campuses, or maybe because of lack of funding. I guess I was wrong; the idea seems to have been resurrected, and it sounds more powerful and just as insidious as before. Sometimes I must pause, and thank my lucky stars that I took a risk, and quit that job!

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