Each election year the words "educational reform and change" echo through the halls of severely under-budgeted, over-crowded classrooms throughout America. After the election, as politicians settle into all the urgent demands that face them, education becomes an agendized topic, and the first default strategy seems to be testing. Testing is touted as a solid measurement of a teacher's value and a student's progress.
Testing has long been used to measure results for many things. It may lend a peek into a child's ability to memorize, but it doesn't offer a solution for learning. Testing doesn't allow for remediation of students who are not learning on grade level; it only acts as a loose measurement of a student's knowledge retained over a certain period of time and a weapon used to fire at teachers when failure occurs.
If we value testing as a way to measure a students knowledge, it seems that entrance exams similar to those used by universities might serve students and the educational process to a much greater degree than tests that merely point blame after the fact.
Entrance exams would dissolve the long-standing pressure for social promotion. Kids would no longer graduate from high school who still can't read or write English. Children who struggle with language would no longer sit silent in tears as they're forced into classrooms where they have no idea what is going on. High school students would know that graduation was a true measure of their accomplishment not a way to move them through an old system in our changed world.
if we use testing as a measure of placement it may well reform education as we allow students to learn starting from their true educational ability. Over the next four years of President Obama's term, real education reform should become a top priority. Otherwise movies such as Idiocracy where the smartest person makes Honey Boo-Boo look like a genuis may soon become prophetic entertainment.