Wednesday, October 21, 2015
the cost of testing...
I have no doubts that our teachers, principals, and school board members want to do what's best for our kids. But their hands are tied. Standardized testing is a juggernaut propelled by an educational industry, and individual teachers, even when they disagree with it, in whole or in part, dare not stand in its way. Here in Arkansas, the state board of education has changed tests 3 times in 4 years. To draw comparisons from one year to the next is not accurate, so to spend so much time testing is a needless distraction from real learning.
Standardized testing and reliance upon it is standard in all 50 states. It is an attempt to industrialize learning. It is not healthy for the child to spend so much time and so many days distracted from real learning. Nor is it healthy for human culture, which thrives upon diversity of ideas and experience. So, while the standardized testing industry rakes in billion dollar profits at tax payer expense, the real cost is what it's doing to students, schools and human culture. Perhaps worst is the illusion that standardized testing measures anything real. There are aspects of mind regarding the retention of facts that lend themselves to being measured in bubble tests, but there are aspects of character that are just as essential to the child's success that do not. To be so focused on test scores is to ignore the development of the whole child.
On the other hand, children left to their own devices learn and reflect. It is a primary aspect of human consciousness. Would it not be best that we put standardized testing aside, give students the tools and inspiration to make beautiful and useful things and allow them to get on with it?
Make, fix, create and assist others in learning likewise.