John Oliver’s segment on standardized testing is a brilliant critique of all that is wrong with the system. It has struck a chord with many, articulating the absurd aspects of standardized testing and voicing concerns that have steadily gained momentum. A lot of people are fed up. Oliver articulates this frustration and exposes the insanity of a system that defies all common sense, one that has nothing to do with learning and everything to do with corporate profits. Testing is big business.
As Oliver says, ‘At this point you have to ask yourself, if standardized tests are bad for teachers and they’re bad for kids, who exactly are they good for?’ Indeed. But of course, they’re good for the companies who run the tests. With annual revenue from the tests totaling $258 million, Pearson leads the way. Their influence on education is shocking.
Many critics – including teachers – agree that the tests don’t improve students’ learning. The majority of the tests are impossibly challenging, fail to reflect ability in a practical sense, include error-laden questions and are graded with shady scoring tactics.
These articles delve deeper into the world of Pearson. Definitely worth a read.
Pearson ‘Education’ — Who Are These People? – An article that focuses on their finances and the three key executives who set the agenda.
No Profit Left Behind – A thorough expose by Politico that explains how the testing giant is negatively impacting education.
The Authoritarian Genius Behind Common Core and Pearson – A look at Michael Barber, the Chief Academic Officer and his ideology of ‘deliverology’.