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Here we are in the midst of sweeping change in education where our policy makers have decided that in order to make our educational institutions better places for learning they would make standardized tests even more important. I guess the idea was that by adding more tests children would get more excited about learing, be more motivated to succeed, and the United States would suddenly be filled with happy, intrinsically motivated students of all ages.
I warn parents however, before they put too much pressure on their kids over these tests, to be advised that their student's success or lack of success on these tests virtually amounts to a hill of beans. In fact, various progressivists argue that schools who have great results on these tests are probably places where little real learning is taking place.
Why Standardized Tests are Worthless
So, what are the reasons parents and educators might want to support changes to our current educational system and organize to get rid of standardized testing across the board in order to improve our children's education?
- The large amount of time dedicated to test-prep in schools leaves little time for class discussion, critical thinking, group projects, and other creative curriculum approaches. Testing is replacing our children's creativity with superficial achievement results.
- Millions of dollars are spent by state education departments annually for the purchase and grading of tests by companies and corporations whose own self-interests are served. No doubt our federal government realizes this and makes their decisions with this fact in mind. The government-corporate world boast an interdependent relationship and their influences on each other are important to note. To say that the testing movement is anything less than politically motivated would be silly.
- A student's achievement on a standardized test correlates to his family's gross income. In general, the better a child does on a standardized test the more money his parents make. This, in truth, is about the only thing the results of a standardized test shows.
- Eight years after the beginning of No Child Left Behind, children are still being left behind, perhaps even in larger numbers.
- There is a distinct bias in standardized testing against poor and minority children.
- Tests cause stress and depression. Teachers our on edge all year with regards to how to prepare children for the tests. Children become nervous and depressed worrying about how well they are going to do on the test day. I'll bet that doesn't help them to do better. To think that a child being tired, hungry, or nervous during a test can totally effect their results in and of itself says a lot about the fallacy of any test, least of all a government test.
- Children, human beings that is, are turned into numbers. A high number or a low number. Instead of making changes in thinking of the thoughts, feelings, emotions, curiosity, of real people, our children, the powers that be see only numbers. Numbers that represent living breathing children.
If that is not enough to covince you to put an end to the silliness, visit nomoretests.com or fairtest.org to learn more. There are so many people, parents and educators fighting to change our institutions with the children in mind.