Teach skills, not just facts
The word “Assessment” has evolved into a negative connotation because of some politicians’ obsession to seek accountability from schools and teachers. They wrongly equated test results with students’ progress, ignoring the well-known fact that most of us have forgotten what we have learned by the time we reach adulthood. Yes, we have acquired some skills that allow us to find the answers and most of us should read and understand at least 80% of common texts. But who remembers state capitals or historical facts and dates, or the formula to determine the surface of a circle.
Now politicians at state and federal levels have changed their collective minds after a furious reaction from parents and teachers, demanding a strong reduction in assessed topics and in frequency.
In Washington, the Department of Education is granting waivers (read: continue funding) to states if they can show that they have a comprehensive method to evaluate students. In Texas, the Education Agency came to its senses, with political support of course, and reduced the amount of state tests from 15 to 5, causing an enormous relief to all teachers and students alike.