“The logic of testing is justified by moralistic tautologies and statistical psychobabble”… “and mostly bogus ‘science-based research’ cooked up in quantitative social science studies.”
Individual and collective test scores are a part of the bumper sticker mentality that plagues our miseducational culture.
There is, of course, nothing intrinsically evil about a test. Testing is not in and of itself a harmful thing. There is no way to avoid certain tests. When one’s courage is tested, there is nothing one can do to opt out. The test of love is one we all hope to pass. However, a “test” itself must be accountable to a truer and more rigorous standard, just as a “law” must be held accountable to a higher standard. When laws are unjust, they become unlawful. When tests are stupid, they fail the test of reason. When laws and tests harm entire, and increasingly poor, populations and enrich multi-billion dollar private industries, they become violent. They even drive some to cheat, with legal consequences.
Miseducational Culture: The only bad test is a bad test, and the only bad school is a bad school.
There is nothing magical about testing something that it must be regulated and restricted like a pharmaceutical drug. Indeed, a great deal of the failure of testing is that it supports the toxic ideology that restricts making sense and showing intelligence to a class of know-nothing experts and professionals, rendering teachers, parents, and students disposable and at a constant deficit.
In every possible way, testing has failed. The only way that it has passed and perhaps even succeeded has been in forming into a set of private interests and capital that are able to defend it against its critics. I have been and will continue to be a critic of compulsory schooling writ large, however it is impossible to deny or wax cavalier about the plain fact that compulsory testing in compulsory schooling makes things far worse and at least doubly harmful.
If you have the option for your students to opt out in some way, it is not enough to save them from the savage teeth of testing. There are hundreds of thousands of others who, for whatever reason, will not be able to avoid testing, who will be chewed up and ground into what may even be a premature intellectual death. It is long overdue to gather across ideological and political lines (what I have called The Schooling Consensus) to declare one of the few things progressives and conservatives agree upon: The tests have failed.