Reign of Error: Week 3 (Destiny Crockett)

Ravitch claims that using testing, or “value added assessment” to determine whether students are learning and whether teachers are effective is unreliable and leaves much room for error. Throughout the book, she is critical of standardized testing for any other purpose than as a benchmark–to gauge how much information a student has taken in from one point in the school year(s) to another.

What other methods should be used to gauge whether students are being educated well? If not standardized testing, then what uniform method can be used to assess how much a student is learning? Is it necessary to have uniform methods across school districts?


Ravitch also makes the claim that poverty is the reason behind student underachievement, instead of low expectations or dull curriculum, the way “corporate reformers” describe the problem. If corporate reformers say poverty cannot be assuaged until all children have quality education, then what alternatives are there that may align with Ravitch’s take on poverty’s relation to education? Do you think her claim is true?