In Vermont, music education leaders are trying desperately to show people in educational leadership positions how District Music Educators can assesses their students and themselves with valid and reliable district-wide assessments. MEA leaders have been helping a number of school districts to figure out how to do this with great success. However, only a few of the districts in Vermont are doing this due to the overwhelming emphasis on Math, Science and English Language. There seems to be no one questioning the ridiculous idea of assessing an entire school on two or three standardized tests which only account for a portion of what that school does for children. Other than our Governor, Peter Shumlin, who feels his hands are tied due to the need for federal money, no one in an educational leadership position has stepped forward to decry the poor assessment procedures we have in this country.

Some concerns:
1 – The present assessment of the nations schools use only two or three tests per year to assess entire schools, overlooking the majority of subjects and teachers that effect the lives of the children in them.

2 – Students who have recently arrived from non-English speaking countries are assessed in English. The goal should be to find out what they know and are able to do, however, we find they don’t understand English. We already knew that. We still don’t know what they know and are able to do.

3 – Teachers are being evaluated on test results that do not reflect the work many teachers do.

4 – Students who arrive from other schools are being tested in their new school and the new school is being held accountable for the result even though the new school could not do anything about it.