Use portfolio method to rate student achievement

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Friday, June 10, 2011
EDITORíS NOTE: This is among commentaries written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School. The seminar is for students in the advanced placement U.S. government course taught by Joe Van Rooy.

Throughout the week in Washington, one question I continued to ask was ďIs education reform being funded at the right level, or should it be increased in order for it to be effective?Ē

The problem is not necessarily the lack of money. The main problem is that thereís no evidence that the investments put into education reform are improving student achievement.

David Bergeron of the Department of Education stated: ďOverall, education is underfunded and underinvested. There is a public resistant to investing in education because we havenít been able to demonstrate that we use those investments well. The problem is demonstrating the result and being accountable for those investments being made. The money needs to be spent appropriately to gain public support.Ē

Therefore, itís not about how much money there is, but rather where that money is going and what programs itís being invested in.

ďMore money is not going to get us where we should be because a lot of these issues have more to do with allocation of existing funds, said Mikyung Ryu, assistant director of the American Council on Education.

Is test-based accountability making a difference in education? In answer, I share Bergeronís opinion. Yes, testing is a valid method to assess whether students are at the level they need to be, but is testing alone enough? No. Itís simply impossible to assess a student based on one test score. Itís evident that looking at a studentís entire body of work exemplifies the student as a whole. A portfolio method of rating students achievements, rather than simply test scores, would lead to greater improvements.

Last updated: 5:42 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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