Well-known and respected author/researcher David Berliner (I’ve posted about his work several times) gives a very understandable explanation of “Campbell’s Law” in this video (this post’s title comes from his comments). The “law” says:
The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it was intended to monitor.
It’s an important critique of the use of standardized tests in schools for teacher or student evaluation.
I found the clip on Joe Bower’s blog, and it’s worth reading that post and his previous posts on the topic.
This clip comes from a more extensive address that Berliner gave in Michigan. You can see his entire speech here.
Speaking of the misuse of standardized testing, Jonah Lehrer has also written an important article titled Measurements That Mislead.
In addition, a “must-read” series of posts have been written by Anthony Cody over a Education Week. He has been engaged in a quasi-dialogue with the Department of Education about the meaning of President Obama’s criticism of standardized testing last week.
I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad).