A company is like a business only bigger and richer. This particular company was known to be the biggest and richest in the educational business world.
“You, a student, have the nerve to challenge me, Pearson, to a test?” the company asked the students. “This must be some sort of joke.”
“No,” said the student. I want to challenge you to a Race to the Top! To show critical thinking and preparation for the 21st Century, may the best thinker win!”
Pearson looked at the student strangely, but agreed to the race.
All the inhabitants of the district arranged the desks and a timer. The principal placed the student in one of the desks, and Pearson was on his way. Everyone on the sidelines was bustling about and chatting about the obvious prediction that Pearson was going to claim the victory. Suddenly, the parent had a revolutionary realization. “AAAAIEEH! Taxpayers I have an idea to share! The student has not challenged our good companion, Pearson, to a simple test! Surely the student must know that Pearson created the test! He obviously has studied their psychometrics!” exclaimed the parent.
The teacher spoke up, “ Students don’t do psychometrics.”
“You know what I mean!” the parent said.
“I think the student knows we are rooting for Pearson, so he is planning on using all his hard work, studying, and attendance, so we look foolish when he wins!,” the taxpayer passionately proclaimed. “The student will ace the test because the company will be overconfident, not read it carefully, or guess on the multiple choice.”
The others agreed that this made sense. There was no reason a student should challenge a company unless it had an idea of some sort. So everyone, wanting to back the winner, cheered for the student.
A few minutes later, Pearson sat down in the desk next to the student, who sat there contently. The Superintendent blew the whistle and the test began! Pearson took off, pencil blurring across the Scantron, and the student just sat there. He had wanted an honest test—but knew the multiple-choice could not measure what he knew, how well he could think, or how prepared he was to succeed in the 21st century! His classroom work, discussions, collaborative projects, media presentations and studying showed that. Two hours later, when Pearson slammed its test booklet shut, the student still sat in his desk and had not lifted his pencil, thunderstruck this was not a measure at all.
Profit ate the student.
Moral: Current testing trends are a poor measure of students’ critical thinking skills and academic accomplishments.