Gains in Houston Schools: How Real Are They?

…Ms. Arevelo discovered the distance between what Texas public schools called success and what she needed to know. Trained to write five-paragraph “persuasive essays” for the state exam, she was stumped by her first [college] writing assignment…. “I had good grades in high school, so I thought I could do well in college,” Ms. Arevelo said. “I thought I was getting a good education. I was shocked.” —Diana Jean Schmeo and Ford FessendenGains in Houston Schools: How Real Are They? (NY Times (will expire))

The article critiques the Texas school system’s techniques for measuring student success. Teachers who tailored their lessons to helping students ace a standardized test did their students a disservice, because all the effort placed on mastering a single test did not give the student critical thinking skills, information filtering skills, etc.