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Meeting Testing Goals By Lowering Standards


Michigan State University Professor and author Yong Zhao has just written a piece on the “causes of education corruption.”

I’d strongly recommend you read his entire post, but would like to specifically share a quote he uses from from social scientist Donald Campbell, who has developed an interesting concept called Campbell’s Law:

Achievement tests may well be valuable indicators of general school achievement under conditions of normal teaching aimed at general competence. But when test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways.

This might be something that, among others, Secretary Duncan and President Obama keep in mind.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. This is something true all over the world – an issue we grapple with constantly in the UK too. Teaching to the test simply isn’t enough.

  2. Your post reflects the problem we are facing in our international school. The school’s sole purpose is to have students pass standardized tests, particularly SAT. I teach grade 11 who have stopped taking Engish curiculum and are practicing SAT all
    English periods
    ( 8 periods per week). We teachers feel that the school is losing credibility with regard to preparing students to college and work place. Standardized help students to enrol in colleges but they do not ensure that students will excel or at least survive college. I am trying to analyze data from our students’ product to argue against this approach. I would like also anyone who have or know any studies that would back up my arguement to share these with me.

  3. Hi,
    Yes you are right, its a universal problem these days, each country facing same dilemma.
    Its simply not enough teaching to the test.

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