How Mass Civil Disobedience at a Seattle High School Catalyzed the ‘Education Spring’

By | Published July 1 2013 by


This victory against a standardized test represents a high stakes test for corporate education reformers who have attempted to reduce the intellectual process of teaching and learning to selecting answer choices, A, B, C, or D. Their entire project of denying students graduation, firing teachers, closing schools, and privatizing education through the proliferation of charter schools rests on their ability to reduce teachers and students to a single score. Our ability in Seattle to unite students, parents, and teachers in a movement for a more meaningful and empowering education is a threat to their whole project.

In an effort to demonstrate what authentic assessment could be, educators in Seattle established a Teacher Work Group on Assessment, which engaged in months of research resulting in the “Markers of Quality Assessment” (PDF)—recommended guidelines for developing assessments. The guidelines promote assessments that reflect actual student knowledge and learning, not just test-taking skills; are educational in and of themselves; are free of gender, class and racial bias; are differentiated to meet students’ needs; allow opportunities to go back and improve; undergo regular evaluation and revision by educators.

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