-By Karl-Heinz Gabbey
Please allow me to add an observation regarding this thing you call “objectivity”: It doesn’t exist! “Objectivity” exists nowhere in the private or public sectors, including education. Beyond state mandates, school boards and administrators, usually in negotiation and collaboration with teacher representatives, set standards and rules for teachers. Teachers, in turn, set standards and rules for students. In principle, bosses in the private sector do the same for their employees. Reasonable individuals strive for what is valid, fair, moral, and yields the best results; though in the end, beauty is still in the eyes of the beholder.
That’s called subjectivity. The best we can do to prevent a clash of subjectivities and to operate within a reasonable framework, is for us to create collaboratively certain ground rules embodied in a legal contract that binds all parties. In truth, where is the “objectivity” here?
No matter how hard we try to be totally objective, we will never achieve it due to mankind’s imperfections. Human beings are not perfect machines, and what they produce even with great precision always has flaws. Ever hear of car recalls?
Among the greater imperfections or follies of mankind are standardized tests like PARCC, particularly when they abuse children and are misused as teacher evaluation instruments. One fact that I learned from a very wise, former colleague is that if these standardized tests “test” anything “they really test the community in which the school is located.” Give that some thought.
Spare yourself the agony in the attempt to achieve “objectivity.” End your useless obsession. I have a feeling that you could find far better things to do.