02/17/11 — Higher standard: How do you really push children to be tops in the world?

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Higher standard: How do you really push children to be tops in the world?

State officials are one step closer to eliminating some of the end-of-grade testing that is being done right now in classrooms across the state.

The idea of the standardized tests is to measure just what students got out of their school experience -- and if they have the necessary grasp of the knowledge to use what they learned elsewhere.

And, admittedly, there have been some challenges that have gone along with that testing program -- teaching to the test, cheating in one high school in the state and students who simply could not pass them.

So, stepping back and looking at the program might not be such a bad idea.

But just to play devil's advocate, let's talk about the goal so many of us say we want to have for our schools and our students.

We want them to work better and for our young people to come out of high school ready to compete in the world.

And to accomplish that, we need to make sure they are not just sitting in a classroom for more than a dozen years, but that they have some kind of knowledge they can use when they leave.

Perhaps end-of-grade tests are not the answer. Perhaps we need a more reliable measure.

But in the end, we have to give teachers the ability to demand more from the students they teach and to let students know that they must demonstrate knowledge to be able to claim it. That is how you create students who are the best in the world.

Higher standards just might be what we need to make that goal a reality, no matter how we decide to measure it.

Published in Editorials on February 17, 2011 10:46 AM