This chapter outlines issues surrounding the testing mania that is so present today. Wagner asks readers to work through several test examples to demonstrate the trivial nature of high stakes tests and the difficulty of creating truly valid tests. One of the major points of the chapter is shifting our collective thinking in the world of education about what we value. “In today’s world, it’s no longer how much you know that matters; it’s what you can do with what you know" (Wagner p. 111).
High stakes tests were a big part of my education and played a large hand in where I went to college. We were expected to demonstrate mastery of material and subject areas by performing on tests whether that be the SAT or a unit test in History. From talking with various educators, I know how much pressure they feel for "teaching to the test" and how they feel it gets in the way of the students' education. Overall everyone is feeling the pressure (teachers, student, parents).
I just read an article in another course (531) by Yong Zhao entitled Flunking Innovation and Creativity. It discusses how China is dominating on test scores but they have no "Steve Jobs" because they are labor intensive rather than knowledge-intensive. This article right here demonstrates that just because China is more successful at testing, they are not changing the world because of their tests score. Students ability to perform on tests does not guarantee they will be successful in other ways.
I agree with Wagner's view on how testing should be (no multiple choice, critical thinking questions, etc.) but I do not agree with him when he generalizes the youth in saying that they have a lack of will. We cannot say that all young students need to be constantly entertained and for things to come easy to them. I believe that many students are used to be kind of given the answers so we can't blame them when they have gotten used to this in their education. But that's where Common Core comes in. As I read this chapter, I made strong connections to the current Common Core situation. As we work together as students, educators and colleagues, we are beginning to make sense of the term and exactly what that would look like in our classrooms. I'm beginning to understand and become knowledge about how the classrooms should look and I think Wagner's idea of testing would fit nicely in the Common Core vision.