Interesting article suggesting the reduction of standardized testing
I am not a fan of standardized testing. I feel that way too much importance is placed on the results and this damages students, teachers, and schools.
During my first year of teaching 4th grade I had a student, "Bob", that was very smart and very talented. He was able to take a radio apart and totally redesign it. I would have discussions with him regarding a multitude of subjects that was so advanced for his age. On the other hand he was somewhat a class clown and had some behavior issues in his past because of it. The school I taught at was 100% Title 1. Every child qualified for the free lunch program. Most of these students did not have a lot of opportunities outside of their neighborhood, Bob especially came from a rougher family.
After working a couple months with Bob I decided a lot of his behavior issues came about out of boredom. When Bob was being challenged his behavior was perfect. I nominated Bob for our district's gifted & talented program because I truly felt Bob would be an ideal candidate. I was promptly turned down solely on the basis of Bob's standardized test scores from past years. I had to beg and plead with the principal, counselor, and G&T teacher to please give Bob a chance. To please look beyond that one set of test scores. There was so much more to Bob than those tests if only someone would take notice! Finally by March of that year Bob was allowed in the G&T program on a probationary basis. Not surprising to me he did wonderfully. He shocked everyone else! Bob was being allowed to fall through the cracks because of standardized test scores. How many other students does this happen to every day across our country? How many teacher miss the signs and don't fight for those students? Talent can be shown in so many ways outside of a multiple choice bubble test!
As a parent I hate the standardized tests just as much. My oldest son is not an ideal test taker. His standardized scores do not even come close to reflecting the kind of student he is and does not show what his true ability is. I know these test scores are held in such an importance within the district and I absolutely hate the shadow that they have over my son and what he will be allowed to try.
I wholeheartedly agree with President Obama that when we use these standardized tests they need to be used as one snapshot of a larger picture. The main focus of assessment should be given by the teacher in direct relation to what is being taught in the classroom. I also really like the idea that the standardized testing only be given every few years. At the rate we are going now it is way too much. Here in my children's district they not only give a national standardized test but they also have a multitude of testing done for the state of Nebraska every year. It is just too much!
I hope for the benefit of all students that the suggestions made in this article are looked at seriously and hopefully implemented soon. Our students are failing, our schools are failing, and standardized tests are just not the answer, in fact I firmly believe they are the main cause!