With standardized testing being the hot button issue in education right now, I can’t help but think about my stance on the situation. There are many things that distress me about standardized testing. The whole phenomenon began because the creators of the standardized testing movement genuinely believed that testing and accountability would close the achievement gap and provide every student in our nation with a quality education. But, the reality in my opinion is that it has done the exact opposite of its initial intentions. The standardized testing movement has infected our school system and we need to do something to fix it.
One of the many things I don’t understand about standardized testing is the fact that it isn’t really comprised from a nationwide standard. Each state has their own test they present to the students during various times in their education that are vastly different than one another. If they really wanted concrete data about how every student was doing in our nation, they would need to provide each student with the same test.
Another concern I have with standardized testing is the fact that with so much riding on good test scores, many teachers and students are missing out on genuine learning opportunities. By teaching to the test the classroom environment is in many cases becoming robotic. We are expected to regurgitate random facts that are not applicable in life. The questions on the test are also often biased which alienates many people and consequently widens the achievement gap they intended to close. When the stress of teaching to the test is occurring, we don’t get a chance to learn in a way that is engaging.
I am not against discovering where students are in their learning process and holding them accountable to achieve a designated standard, but I do not think a standardized test is the best way to get results. All people shine in different ways. By limiting the showcase of our knowledge to a test, we are not getting accurate data of what people really know. I think a positive way to assess students is through portfolios and ongoing projects that incorporate each area of education. There are many other ways to learn how our students are performing nationwide without subjecting them all to a test.