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.



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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