Imagine this scenario: you’ve been excelling in sales job for a few years when your boss tells you that your continued employment is in jeopardy if you don’t bring home the bacon on a randomly selected day next week.
Sound extreme? Maybe even counter-productive for the company’s long-range best interest? This is what the state is asking of local public high school students with its new standardized test graduation requirement.
Of course, no employer would determine an employee’s value to the company based on one bad day at the office; that would be poor management. As such, perhaps it’s hard for us adults to realize just how high the stakes are with a make or break standardized test.
So the Providence Student Union has come up with a way for us adults to feel their pain: they are asking us to take the test too.
According to a press release:
To lend a deeper perspective to the debate over Rhode Island’s new high-stakes testing diploma system, members of the Providence Student Union (PSU) have invited community leaders and policy makers to put themselves in students’ shoes and take a shortened version of the NECAP exam that is now being used as a make-or-break graduation requirement for the state’s young people. Currently 40 state senators, state representatives, city council members, school board members, non-profit directors, lawyers, reporters, and education officials are planning to participate in this student-administered, student-proctored event.
Probably because I’ve been such a loudmouth on the issue, a student called and asked me if I’d take the test. So this Saturday at 12:15 at the Knight Memorial Library, 275 Elmwood Avenue in Providence, number 2 pencil in hand, I’ll be reliving the good old days of test taking.
There will be a whole crew of community leaders and education advocates taking the test with me, and I hope to see some of the people who pushed this new state mandate there, too. (No, not because I want to look over their shoulders for the right answers1 …because I think they will learn something about high stakes tests, students and themselves by doing so.)
But if they are anything like me, they probably aren’t looking forward to this challenge. I’ve got a lot to do this week and cumulatively it will all serve as a better metric on my aptitude than will one single test.