Re: Reforming Education

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 6 Oct 1999 16:14:29 -0700 (PDT)

> The trouble with preventing teachers from allocating the credentials
> themselves is that it makes it impossible for the teacher to grade based
> on performance in class.
> "Who cares," you might ask, "so long as the student passes the test(s)?"
> The trouble with THIS attitude is that it promotes cramming, as students
> do no work during the year, cram to pass the test, and then forget the
> material. Providing incentives to work throughout the year is a valuable
> part of the educational process.

> There's still room for a private credential organization, but ideally it'd
> be one that gave tests once a month, or ideally bi-weekly, on a
> progression of material, up until the final. However, once you're talking
> about bi-weekly standardized exams, the administrative costs may begin to
> increase rapidly.

I don't buy that argument at all: first, nothing prevents teachers from doing any kind of testing or evaluation they want at any time. The fact that such tests "don't count" should make them more honest evaluations because the student feels no economic pressure to cheat on them. Having the credentialing authority be separate prevents even the teacher from knowing exactly what will be tested, and therefore /discourages/ cramming because it would be useless. It also discourages teachers with "pet" theories that they stress and test for at the expense of the broader field of study itself. Teachers themselves are not evaluated at all in this model--they just acquire reputation based on how well their classes perform with the credentialing authorities.

The credentialing authority's reputation and the value of their service will depend on how useful their evaluations are, so they have incentive to do a good job of testing real understanding of the subject. As for whether or not a student has "worked" during the year, well "who cares" is precisely the correct response here. Fuck effort, results matter.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC