Education researcher David Berliner has just written an excellent guest post in The Answer Sheet, a Washington Post education blog. It’s called Why Rising Test Scores May Not Mean Increased Learning.

I’ve posted in the past about Berliner’s exceptional work.

In his guest post, he makes six key points, and he elaborates on each one. I’d strongly recommend you read his entire post. I’m just going to briefly quote each of the six:

1). Virtually all states have changed the passing score on tests so that more children are classified proficient.

2). School districts across the nation engage in excessive, perhaps unethical, and, in some cases, illegal test preparation. This results in higher test scores, but not necessarily greater learning.

3) Familiarity with the objectives and the items on a test invariably results in increased test scores.

4) The test items we use do not tap the knowledge we really want to assess.

5) Afraid they could be fired or their schools closed because of NCLB test scores, district and school administrators invent ways to prevent the poorest performing students from taking tests.

6) It is common for scores to go up because of cheating. For example, there are companies that look for anomalies in test scoring. They often find incidents such as a low-scoring student suddenly getting seven items right in a row, or a class in a low-performing school suddenly outperforming classes in a neighboring high-performing school. These may or may not be instances of cheating, but several hundred of these anomalies are associated with NCLB tests in many states.