Below is an excerpt from Joe Bower's blog. It connects to some of the conversations that I have heard today about Reach for the Top and Standardization.

Do we have to go down this path of standardization? Are these things done with the best interests of the students in mind?

He starts off with this quote from Sir Ken Robinson.

"There is nothing wrong with having high standards, but who said that having high standards means everyone has to do the same thing. Having high standards and standardization are not the same."

So if we don't have to standardize in an effort to provide high standards for our children's education, then why is there so much standardization? Alfie Kohn writes about cui bono in his book Punished by Rewards. Cui bono meaning: who benefits?

Standardization rarely is in the best interest of student learning. Instead, standardization most benefits those who wish to collect data that can be analyzed and compared - allowing teachers, students and schools to be 'properly' ranked and sorted.

It's about ranking rather than rating.

I propose that we liberate our children's learning from their standardized prison cells. Personally, the best thing I ever did in order to liberate my students was to abolish grades. Without grades, I no longer felt like every student had to do the same assignment or same test. I didn't need 'data' that was quantifiable nor did I need to compare one student to another.