Watching the Intellectual Weight
Juslia Steiny deployed an interesting simile, a couple of columns ago, that serves the opposite point than that which she makes:
However, standardized-test scores in isolation, alongside no other measures, are a hurtful, immoral misuse of good information. Parents value many features of a school as much, if not more than, achievement. Along with their academic prowess, private schools always tout their strengths in building strong characters, developing citizenship or attending to the whole child. When it comes to evaluating schools, the public-education industry tends to turn a deaf ear to these values.
Our current use of tests is like judging my health by my weight, while ignoring my bone density, cholesterol and whether or not I’m depressed.
Certainly, test scores are not sufficient for total judgment, particularly when it comes to schools and programs that promise more than a baseline education. Nonetheless, following Steiny’s analogy, one can see school as an intellectual health program, and standardized test scores (including NECAP minimums for graduation) are like bare minimum requirements that even overweight, depressed participants should achieve if the program is to be said to have any value.
Sure, fat camp might be fun and reward campers with many friends, but if it consistently fails to reduce children’s weight by measurable amounts, then it really isn’t what it bills itself to be. Parents and those who subsidize it should assess expenditures accordingly.