Monday, June 08, 2009

A Downside of Academic Testing

One downside of too much academic testing and school-level accountability is that schools are reluctant to let gifted kids skip a grade. I skipped third grade, and my oldest son could probably do that or more (his Lexile reading score as an 8 year old put him well into the top quartile of high school seniors).

But one principal told me that the policy now is never to let kids skip a grade. As I pushed for an explanation, it turned out that one motivation is that they're nervous that even if a child seems to be ahead right now, he might not do as well on the tests in a higher grade. My cynical interpretation: rather than thinking about how best to challenge a child intellectually, schools would rather hold him back so that they can be sure he'll keep acing the tests year after year, and thereby make the school look good.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Paul Gowder said...

For obvious reasons, I think that's totally outrageous -- it might be worth considering a nuclear option in this kind of a case -- establish a score cutoff above which schools are required to offer the grade-skipping option to kid + parents...

6:02 PM  
Blogger Stuart Buck said...

Say, Paul, I know you showed at HLS at age 18, but I can't remember . . . did you skip several grades altogether, or take a bunch of college credit in high school, or both?

8:58 PM  
Blogger Paul Gowder said...

I skipped high school entirely via this.

9:10 PM  
Blogger miriam said...

I skipped two grades and was much too young to interact with the other students in my class. It was a big mistake.

9:55 PM  

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