Teaching for The Test … Standardized Testing Fallout

ImageWe live in a state where education is beyond complex and it seems as if each year the State Dept. of Education, to justify its own existence, has to make some sort of sweeping change that has a domino effect across every school district.  Now, we have a superintendent who has added his own system on top of the State’s and I really don’t see where teachers have any time whatsoever to teach, discover or even get to know their own students.  It is like they live in a pressurized bubble.

When I graduated high school some 20+ years ago, I graduated with the highest diploma available at the time and was considered the “college track.”   Just a few weeks ago I sat down with Bella and her guidance counselor to go over a plan of her next four years and to understand the graduation requirements, etc. In one generation the requirements for a college track diploma in this state have gone insane.   Add this to the Standardized Testing, the superintendent’s plan and the State Dept. of Education’s expectations, it is no wonder there is a movement across the country to opt your children out of these insanely expensive standardized tests.

If you simply Google “Opt Out Standardized Testing” you will get an overload of sites out there, some national, some state-wide and other local, that are spreading the word about taking a stand against these expensive tests that in reality tell us very little and generate billions of dollars in revenue to the companies who design the tests.  The pressure that is put on these students and teachers is insane.  My daughters are scheduled to take some big tests next month and already they have after school help sessions, study sheets, packets, etc. all geared toward these tests.

Here is the bottom line, for me anyway, if you teach to the test and focus so much time and effort into students getting the best scores possible, aren’t you defeating the purpose of the testing in the first place?  If we want a true,, honest measure of what they know then there should be no exam prep or specific information about what the test covers except in very board and general descriptions.  Only then can we really measure what a child knows vs. what has been shoved down their throats and is being temporarily stored in their short term memory until three minutes after they walk out of the testing room.  My real fear is that these types of situations are only going to become more frequent.

Far too often people want to treat kids as just young adults.  They’re NOT!  Not cognitively not physically and certainly not emotionally.   Furthermore, these tests do not have any kind of impact on students’ grades; they are solely for the purpose of the schools at the local and state levels to gauge their performance.  Since schools and districts are regularly caught red-handed fudging numbers to the State and Federal Departments of Education, our kids have now become the sacrificial lambs of adults who have no moral compass.  For fear of losing their job or those around them, they provided misinformation and now our kids are paying the price.  Instead of punishing districts who provide false information, because, ya know that would be embarrassing, we now spend billions on standardized testing.

Taking into consideration all of the formal class time taken away from the regular curriculum to prepare, study and practice for these tests, the only one really losing out is the student. We keep pushing irrational expectations on our students and once we have them indoctrinated into these State tests some detached administrator at the State Department of Education is going to say, “Hey!  Look how well they did with this.  They are capable of much more!”  Then it becomes a new challenge to change the state curriculum, change the graduation requirements, change the testing expectations and generate new standardized tests … all so the people at the State Department of Education can justify their existence.

And what do you think the kick backs are for these administrators from the testing companies? All at the expense of our kids.

Mine will be opted out and will refuse to take the exams.  That is just the way it is going to be.

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