While I wasn’t selected for the program associate position with the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), I did receive an e-mail from their Director of Business Development. I was asked to come in on Friday for an interview and to discuss my views on two particular points:
- The publication of Academically Adrift
- The possible by-products of the recent Atlanta cheating scandal
The CAE compiled the data used in the now, famous book, Academically Adrift. While I’ve read about Academically Adrift in the NY Times, the Chronicle and other media outlets, I haven’t read the book itself. I plan on purchasing it tomorrow morning and ripping it to shreds before Friday—don’t expect to see me anywhere else but my room until then!
As for the scandal in Atlanta, this is an interesting topic to discuss with the CAE—a standardized testing non-profit group. Clearly, the reason for increasing the test scores was money. No one wanted to lose funding and someone—the chancellor, administrators, principals and/or teachers—made a conscious effort to alter those scores.
So am I to convey my insight on how to prevent a mass-cheating scandal like that again? Ideas to re-tool the NCLB test? Bring in a third party testing group? Should I give reason to the behavior of who is at fault or put that person to blame for sabotaging the analysis of the students? or both? Should I be more concerned about the reasoning of standardized testing or the policy workings that create classrooms to become absolute win-or-lose environments? Is taking a page out of Diane Ravitch’s book the right or wrong thing to do here?
I’m not entirely sure. I have a bit more reading to do before I can ascertain how I truly feel about the entire issue. But what I can say is that opportunity rises from tragedy and we shouldn’t waste a chance to do it better the next time.
Friday afternoon is going to be exciting, that’s for sure!