Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Standardized testing cripples educational goals - The Daily Athenaeum: Opinion

Standardized testing cripples educational goals - The Daily Athenaeum: Opinion:

Standardized testing cripples educational goals

 At the end of every year in high school, a week was dedicated to the longest, most mind-numbing standardized test imaginable. We were taken to the gymnasium, spaced three feet apart and tested on our skills in reading, mathematics, history and science.

Since my younger sister has entered high school, there are now two weeks set aside each year for testing. During these weeks, students are tested on only reading, mathematics and science. History was cut from the list, she told me, because it was not considered one of the core subjects.
In his book "Class and Schools," Richard Rothstein wrote that because only mathematics and reading count toward "adequate yearly progress" for schools, many schools have minimized time spent on "social studies, literature, art, music, physical education and other important topics where test scores do not result in judgments of school quality."
Some schools have even eliminated these subjects from their curriculum altogether. Not only this, but America spends an obscene amount of money on standardized testing each year. Following the No Child Left Behind Act, annual state spending on standardized tests increased from $423 million to almost $1.1 billion in 2008, according to the Pew Center on the States.
By being considered standard, standardized testing is inherently problematic. People are not "standard"; there is no standard method of learning that works best for every student and no standard speed at which every student learns.
Standardized tests are only capable of measuring a tiny portion of what makes education significant. According to education researcher Gerald W. Bracey, standardized tests are incapable of measuring, and therefore devalue the importance of "creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, reliability, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, civic-mindedness, courage, compassion, resourcefulness, sense of beauty, sense of wonder, honesty and integrity."
Furthermore, there is no faster way to ebb the desire to learn quicker than standardized testing. One teacher, Dawn Neely-Randall, told Harvard Political Review how she asked her fifth grade students to write down how they felt about the standardized tests. One student wrote, "I feel like we have to take all these tests, and if I pass the tests I live and if I don’t, I die."
In March of 2002, the "Sacramento Bee" stated, "Test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so Standardized testing cripples educational goals - The Daily Athenaeum: Opinion: