“When Jefferson Parish school officials rolled out a laptop computer program in two middle schools three years ago and five other schools a year later, they had high hopes that it would help boost standardized test scores.”
Stuff like this makes my blood boil.
I continue to have trouble understanding the obsession in the US with test scores. When millions of kids, teachers and parents are boiled down to a set of numbers, education has lost it’s way and its purpose. The people are left behind and the numbers replace them. Numbers are a poor substitute for people.
Now it is definitely possible that the laptop program in this place was doing little to help their students. Poor implementation schemes and teachers who don’t understand the reason behind a program such as this are both possible. Placing laptops in the hands of kids without helping all of the people involved in education to see and be change is a pit waiting for money to be thrown in to it. It will change very little.
But putting laptops in to the hands of people and asking standardized test scores to increase is an even worse idea. It comes down to what is being measured. Measure things that matter for our time. Measure connections and growth. Measure cultural understanding and a full host of changing, complex literacy skills. Measure interest and motivation. Look into what has been published by learners and shared with the world. Measure interactions and conversations and curiosity. These are the skills that improve lives and move nations, not the micro managed set of outcomes standardized tests are interested in.
Can laptop programs be poorly managed? You bet. But they can’t be more of a waste of money then the billions spent on standardized testing programs that measure few things that are important and instead suck the life out of learning and classroom life.