October 21, 2011
Media Release - Resisting the Removal of Standardized Testing
Let’s use the best tools available
Winnipeg, MB: The Frontier Centre for Public Policy released today a study authored by Frontier’s education research fellow Michael Zwaagstra. The study, entitled Standardized testing is a good thing, examines the state of standardized testing in Canadian provinces, explains the merits of the tests, and systematically tackles the commonly-used arguments against standardized testing. The paper makes a case for the multiple benefits of conducting such tests for the children, the parents, educators and planners.
These tests form an essential component of public education because they provide teachers, parents, and the general public with important information about student academic performance. Without the data provided by standardized tests, policy makers are literally operating in the dark when trying to determine where improvement is needed, the author argues.
A growing desire to dismiss such a useful tool in some quarters needs to be questioned. Getting rid of standardized tests is unbalanced and unnecessarily creates an information gap. Zwaagstra argues that a balanced approach to gathering reliable information that decision-makers, parents and the public can use about the education of our children should include standardized testing: “Teacher-created assessment ensures that teachers can consider individual student needs. Standardized testing balances this with an objective measurement tool to determine if the students are meeting provincial curriculum standards.” Standardized testing does not preclude the use of other instruments.
A copy of Standardized testing is a good thing can be downloaded HERE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Zwaagstra is a research fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and specializes in education policy. He has extensive teaching experience at a variety of grade levels and currently teaches high school social studies in Manitoba. He received his B.Ed., Post- Baccalaureate Diploma in Education and M.Ed. from the University of Manitoba where he won several academic awards including the A. W. Hogg Undergraduate Scholarship, the Klieforth Prize in American History and the Schoolmasters’ Wives Association Scholarship. His columns promoting common-sense education reform have been published in major daily newspapers including the National Post, The Globe and Mail, the Winnipeg Free Press and the Calgary Herald. He is also a frequent guest on radio stations across the country. His best-selling ?rst book, What’s Wrong with Our Schools and How We Can Fix Them?, was released in 2010.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Michael Zwaastra, MEd
Marco Navarro-Genie, PhD
Director of research
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy
is an independent public policy think tank whose mission is "to broaden the debate on our future through public policy research and education and to explore positive changes within our public institutions that support economic growth and opportunity."