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Race to the Top Funds Should Not Be Spent on Test Prep Materials

Many psychometricians have argued that certain forms of preparation lead to "test score pollution"—that is, they invalidate the results of standardized tests. (All sorts of studies showing this were done in the early '90s; in the current educational climate, this is a forgotten issue.) Nevertheless, many schools see the implementation of K-12 commercial test preparation curriculums as a more immediately efficacious way to raise test scores than the traditional language arts block.

 

Congress should thus make it illegal for Race to the Top funds to be spent on commercial test preparation materials. This will send a strong message that replacing the language arts block with multiple-choice practice is unethical, and the media and parents will be alerted to act as watchdogs. If a school is found spending RTTT dollars on test prep materials, require them to repay the grant amount to the state (or perhaps federal) government in full.

 

(For a longer version of this argument, see http://theedskeptic.blogspot.com/2010/03/dont-test-reading.html )

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Idea No. 107