Critics want to eliminate standardized tests because they say the tests don’t provide a fair picture of learning. New York State serves as a case in point, since passing its Regents exams is necessary for a state high school diploma (“Will Regents exploit coronavirus crisis to end meaningful testing in New York?” New York Post, Apr. 12).
Local control of education makes it hard to get valid feedback about what public schools are actually doing, and even harder to justify spending millions of dollars on public schools. When I was in high school on Long Island, N.Y. in the early 1950s, Regents exams were required in most academic subjects. (I still have my Regents diploma.) Past exams were readily available as a study guide. I saw nothing on the exams that did not measure what my teachers had taught.
But because the Regents exams today do not produce the desired racial outcomes, critics want to abolish them completely. Rather than do so, I suggest using the results primarily for diagnostic purposes instead of for punitive purposes. Finland, which is known for the quality of its schools, has done this for many years. There is no naming and shaming.
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