Last updated on: 5/17/2012 | Author:

Titania Kumeh Biography

Mother Jones Editorial Fellow
NC to the question "Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?"

“When teachers talk about high school ‘standardized tests’ these days, they’re not talking about the SAT [a college admission test]. They mean federally mandated, timed, ‘one set of multiple choice questions fits all’ tests designed to measure students’ performance in basic subjects like math and reading. Each state decides how to define educational proficiency, and tests use a minimum of three scores: Below Basic, Proficient, and Advanced… If you’re thinking that students are now getting tested more than ever, you’d be right…

How are teachers and schools impacted by student scores?… It depends on the state. If Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs the ‘merit pay’ bill currently on his desk, teachers in Florida will get raises depending on whether their students score well on standardized tests. In Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver, schools were shut down or sold to charters because of repeatedly low standardized test scores. Whole teaching staffs in Nevada, Ohio, and Rhode Island have been fired because of test results. School, district, and state funding are tied to standardized test scores…

States are required to make sure schools tested make what’s called ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ each year so that by 2014, 100 percent of students will be labeled proficient.

…[T]o make the goal, more than half of states have lowered their standards to redefine ‘proficient.'”

“Education: Standardized Tests, Explained,”, Mar. 25, 2011

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Columnist, Mother Jones
  • Freelance writer for the New York Times, Ghanaian Times, Spectator (Ghana), Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, and other publications
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