No other country in the world takes the approach that the US does, after “A Nation at Risk” of 1983 and NCLB of 2001, that:
1. Teachers cannot be trusted;
2. Public Education must be turned over to private corporations;
3. Students must be tested by those outside corporations, several times a year, and for seven of their school years;
4. There are no real consequences to the students if they do well or poorly on the tests other than their teachers or administrators getting fired or rewarded and/or their school being closed down;
5. The results of those outside tests don’t come back to the school until 5-6 months later, are scored and graded by machines or by unskilled assembly-line temporary workers, AND the questions are mostly kept secret.
Many other nations obviously DO have national exams, but they are quite different. All the ones I know of, have exams that have very serious consequences for the STUDENT– ie they do or do not graduate from middle school or high school or college (or the equivalent), do or do not gain entry into the desired next level of school or profession, and so on. Those exams are also written AND GRADED by actual professional educators. Also, the questions are released to the public almost immediately.
In France, where I took and passed their famous “baccalauréat” exam many decades ago, the various versions of the “bac” would in fact be printed in the daily newspapers the very next day. Plus, unlike our SAT and AP exams, there were exactly no machine-scorable multiple-choice questions. Nearly every question required the student not only to give an answer but also to explain their reasoning. (Which is ironically sort of what the Common Core math **process** standards call for — one of the few positive things I see in the billionaire-led US educational DEform movement.) so for each question, a couple of teachers had to agree on how many points the student should be awarded.
And with all that skilled piecework hand labor, the results of the Bac were given out within a **Couple of Days**. Let that sink in.