Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Case AGAINST Standardized Testing

‪#‎lesstests‬
If you follow me at all, then you know that I am a HUGE advocate for child-led learning, self-directed learning, integrated learning, collaborative learning...you get the idea. 

I haven't written about my massive beef with the Common Core Standards, or it's tag-along - standardized testing. But with new legislation potentially coming about regarding mandatory testing, and the article below about the need for testing, I'm raising my voice.

Whether you are in the public school system, homeschool, or private school, standardized testing issues effect your children. Many states require all students, including homeschooling students, to take standardized tests and there is a push in other states for this as well. Given that the standardized tests are being revised to be in-line with common core, along with the ACT and SAT, it puts students who have not been taught the common core way at a huge testing disadvantage. 

I do assessments with my students, but the reason I do them, is because of the need for my students to have them for THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. I am currently doing school applications for my pre-k's, and the schools they are applying to, or going to, want their assessments. Since they are all well above grade level, if I did not do assessments to prove their abilities, then they wouldn't receive the proper placements and support services they deserve.

Do I need them as their teacher? Absolutely not. 

However, the reason for these assessments is to show their new teacher their skill set, because otherwise she'd just have to take my word for it, the parent's word, or simply wait long enough to be able to make such a judgement on her own. Testing has its place, and this is one of them, to show relevant information to the child's benefit. Another is to prove mastery for more rapid advanced, especially for gifted and advanced students.  

To give you an idea of the RIGHT direction in education, here is the title of an article that I love, love, LOVE:

Why Are Finland's Schools Successful?
The country's achievements in education have other nations, especially the United States, doing their homework

 
And one of the best parts of the entire article reads: [emphasis by me]
There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians. Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators. The result is that a Finnish child has a good shot at getting the same quality education no matter whether he or she lives in a rural village or a university town. The differences between weakest and strongest students are the smallest in the world, 
Is the U.S. learning from Finland? Evidently not based upon this new article.
 Paper | 

The Case for Annual Testing


Students are tested as frequently as twice per month and an average of once per month. Our analysis found that students take as many as 20 standardized assessments per year and an average of 10 tests in grades 3-8. The regularity with which testing occurs, especially in these grades, may be causing students, families, and educators to feel burdened by testing.  
  • Many countries only test their top students, or only report their top scores. The U.S. tests and reports all.
  • Many countries lack diversity in their populations, so they do not have the levels of language and cultural barriers to education that the U.S. possesses.
  • Many countries such as Finland, do not test annually, so only those that take the final test and graduate are compared to the U.S. not giving an accurate comparison over the schooling years.
  • Many countries do not include special needs students in testing. The U.S. does.
  • Testing in many countries is not the high-stress, one-size-fits-all testing like we do here. Children who are relaxed and simply asked to do their best, will always score higher.  
  • Many countries are smaller than most of our states. The diversity of our populations, incomes, and economical challenges are vast in comparison. A composite score does not reflect the high educational abilities of a majority of the states.
It's NOT apples-to-apples comparisons. 

There are reasons, very good ones, why we have so many students from other countries in our school systems and universities. There are very good reasons why so many foreign parents want to move here for their child's education. 


4 comments:

  1. I love how you voiced your strong opinions here. Thank you for speaking your mind!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I live in a non-Common Core state, so it's interesting to get your perspective on the connections between standardized testing and common core.

    ReplyDelete