What schools need and what they don’t need

Dan Pink, author of the best-seller Drive. (Linda Davidson/THE WASHINGTON…)
Daniel Pink (By Linda Davidson/THE WASHINGTON)

Veteran educator and education blogger Anthony Cody wrote a piece on his Education Week blog, Living in Dialogue, about a new proposal by Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, to postpone for a year the high stakes linked to new assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

Cody says that a delay will do nothing to actually improve the Core but only postpone the harsh consequences. Deep in the piece is a reflection on what we need and what we don’t need in this high-stakes testing era. He refers to work by Daniel Pink, a former White House speechwriter, a student of social science and an author of popular works on human motivation, including “Drive:”

We know from Daniel Pink‘s work that the three drivers of human motivation are autonomy, mastery and purpose. Teachers and students are internally motivated to get better. Teachers are also motivated by their sense of autonomy — their ability to determine for themselves the focus of instruction, the ways that the standards will be explored, and the means by which students will develop their abilities. Therefore we do not NEED all these high stakes — threats, penalties, evaluations based on test scores, etc. Not only do we not need them, but they actively destroy motivation. Thus the imposition of standards aligned benchmark tests in the guise of “formative assessment” is an act that destroys the motivation of teachers and students both, and is fundamentally contradicted by what we know about assessment and motivation.

You can read the whole piece here.

And you can watch Pink talk about motivation here:

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | May 7, 2013