The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell You What You Think They Do

Rewards and Punishments Don’t Motivate

  • The current NCLB system and Obama’s Blueprint place excessive reliance on rewards and punishments. The assumption is that they will motivate students and educators. It relies on a belief in behaviorism, which focuses only on objectively observable behaviors and discounts mental activities. They do not take into consideration the challenges that confront individual schools. Sanctions do not tell a staff what is wrong or how to improve the situation. There is no evidence that sanctions are effective. There is also research that shows how rewards dampen interest in, and enthusiasm for, the activity that is rewarded. Fortunately we haven’t been dangling many rewards in front of kids. Human motivation is far more complex.
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10 Responses to “The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell You What You Think They Do

  1. Dr. Don says:

    Every educator, administrator, government bureaucrat, and union leader should be required to read this book, and then tested on it in the same manner that our children are tested today. Better yet, this should probably be a seminar topic for required academic continuing education. Chart 14, “New Ideas for Genuine Accountability” brushes the surface and wets our appetite on a new direction and sounds like it could be the basis for Harris, Smith, and Harris’s next book.

  2. The Myths Of Standardized Tests Why They Dont Tell You What You Think They Do…

    [...]This bok by Philip Haris, Bruce Smith, and Joan Haris tels how our schols are under atack by the[...]…

  3. [...] Doug Green has an excellent summary of the myths and negative consequences of standardized testingbased on a book on his site: [...]

  4. Archangelo says:

    Standardized tests aren’t really meant to measure student achievement, but to provide an excuse to dump teachers.

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