Let’s get real for a minute. Let’s talk the dreaded words: STANDARDIZED TESTING.
Cue ominous music.
Whether you are a teacher, a parent, or neither, you need to realize that we as an American society are in grave danger. We have become completely obsessed with standardized testing and the results that come from them. Our education system is drowning with standards and producing positive results.
What about those teachers who just were sentenced to JAIL because they were holding cheating tests parties??
Look at Common Core. Just look. Don’t understand it? Neither do the teachers. Seriously. I get hives just trying to read it. And I’m a TEACHER.
Students of all ages are beyond over it. Need proof of that too?
Every single junior at a high school in Seattle refused and boycotted their standardized tests. Every single one. What does that say about the test they are supposed to take?
Let me give you an example.
A student with a 3.9 GPA that has been in advanced classes since middle school. She’s in tenth grade and in Pre-AP Language Arts. She goes to take her state standardized test and receives 4 points above a failing score. She has historically done terrible on tests because she gets massive anxiety and can’t function. She is then told that she may need to be put in intensive reading next year because of her score. At the same time as AP Language Arts. Is there something wrong with that to you?
That girl went on to graduate with honors and receive a scholarship to attend Florida State University. That student is me. At the same time that I was reading Anna Karenina for fun, I was almost put in intensive reading. Not because I couldn’t read; but because I couldn’t test.
There is a HUGE difference.
I had a problem with standardized tests then, but now, it has taken on a whole new meaning. It has taken on a whole new form of evil. There is nothing good coming out of something that is causing anxiety, physical symptoms, and tears from students. What is it accomplishing?
The tests are not only ridiculously hard, but they make no sense. As the video above says, there are times when the question itself doesn’t make sense. I have a friend who teaches second grade. On a practice test (in Florida), it asked what word best describes the feeling of when a subway is going under your feet? Ummm…how is that Floridian who barely knows what closed toes shoes are supposed to answer that? Ask that question in New York; absolutely. Florida though? Really? That’s like asking a kid who lives in Oklahoma City what the ocean smells like.
There is nothing more heart wrenching than watching your students give up on their standardized test before they even walk in. Their mentality is, “I’ve failed before. Why will I pass this time?”
They spend hours a day testing. Hours.
People, we need to take a stand. We need to shout NO MORE.
Teachers, we know our students. The business people that make these tests DON’T.
They don’t know that Susie’s mom died a month ago and she’s still traumatized. They don’t know that Anthony can’t take an exam next to Paul because they play. They don’t know that putting a girl who has been sexually assaulted by a man in a classroom with a male teacher is NOT going to result in good test scores, even though she has a high school reading level.
They can’t possibly know our students. They don’t know how much time and effort it takes to gain their trust. They don’t see when they come into our classrooms and lives, dejected, rejected, their self-esteem about as tall as Tom Thumb. They don’t see it. Why are they the ones deciding about our testing?
Why have we let this become our lives?
I want America to be the best. I’m a very competitive person. I want to see my students succeed. But frankly, I don’t think that testing is going to get us there. I think that it’s time to let the teachers be teachers. We are not monitors for testing. We are not human proctors. We are teachers. We have been made specifically for this.
Let’s look at the facts about standardized testing.
I’m not making this up people. I am legitimately concerned about education and the future. It is time to stand up and say something.
However, teachers are fearing for their jobs.
Teachers are not given job security until after test scores have been released. But when you do this, you give a teacher a standard that may not be able to be met. When pay is given to a teacher based on how a student tests, you are judging a teacher’s worth by one test and one day. Is that one test the actual character of the teacher? (http://www.nea.org/home/36780.htm)
Think about yourself for a moment. Picture you in a class with your siblings and/or friends. Are you all exactly the same? If you say yes, you are a liar. What are your strengths? What’s your learning style? Can you memorize dates? Are you a visual learner? Do you need to do things before you grasp the concept?
These are the questions that I have to take into account when I teach my students. No two of my students are the same. Standardized testing makes teachers need to teach to the test and it makes the student suffer. We as teachers will always lose at least one student if we are only teaching to the test. You are taking away our creativity.
Not to be stereotypical or anything but I don’t know many school teachers who don’t love being creative. We get giddy when we get new colorful pencils. Glitter makes me act like a toddler. New erasers that have SHAPES? Oh my gosh, let me breathe. We get excited about organizing and being creative with our students. We love when we have one of those days where the students were engaged in the lesson and having so much fun.
You make me teach to that stupid test, I no longer can have fun. My students are being stuffed with knowledge that they aren’t really learning. Then they get nervous as the test gets nearer because the teacher is getting nervous. It’s an endless cycle that gets worse every year.
The cost of living is not decreasing. It’s increasing. Then you make teachers compete with each other more so we can get more money and keep our jobs? C’mon guys.
I’m not saying don’t hold us accountable. We need to be held accountable. It makes us make sure we are teaching what we are supposed to be teaching. But there has to be a happy medium.
I am tired of watching my students come to me after testing and tell me it was too hard or didn’t ask anything they actually knew. I’m a teacher and I’m tired of this.
Want to read more about the pros and cons of standardized testing? http://worklife.columbia.edu/files_worklife/public/Pros_and_Cons_of_Standardized_Testing_1.pdf