Standardized Testing; Saving Grace or Devil’s Advocate?
It may have started out to help out schools, but somehow ended up being something that has teachers skeptical of their jobs. With no state without rules and regulations for tests, thanks to No Child Left Behind; all students, no matter race, gender, or handicaps must take these tests in order for the state to give their schools more or less funding. So should funding for our schools be based on test scores or actual grades and participation? Some of the major problems I see in standardized tests are the curriculum map, the stress it has on our children, The fact that every child takes the same exact test, the fear installed in our teachers and the monopolization of funding.
One of the positive aspects of standardized testing (according to http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/16137.aspx) is it gives teachers guidance to help them determine what to teach students and when to teach it. The net result is less wasted instructional time and a simplified way of timeline management. However, most of us would see this as a more negative effect. Because teachers are going by what they should teach, they neglect the many things that are not on the test material, therefore leaving our children further behind in the system.
The stress of testing is also a huge impact on today’s students. Because the results of the tests reflect on teachers and the school, schools have done away with recess. In most cases this is a student’s only time to unwind and interact with peers. With this taken away we take the chance of letting our children stress even more about the standardized tests.
Another problem with No Child Left Behind is that every student has to take the same exact standardized test. This is to promote equality in the classroom, however, it is somewhat discouraging to the disabled and the ethnic. Although some might be able to, most kids in a special needs classrooms cannot do the same work as one in a regular class. Therefore, having them take the same test will make the disabled feel somewhat uncomfortable. The tests are in America, making them given in English. No matter how many people want to argue that “they came to our country, they can learn our language” is not valid; this is America, a melting pot of culture. A lot of recently immigrated aliens speak little to no English,consequently, their kids speak none, are they expected to take an exam in complete English and understand what they are doing? This does nothing but intimidate a young child. I believe they should be given an option in what language they are able to take the test in. This is bound to improve the scores of states with lots of Hispanic children.
Teachers have admitted to doing anything to improve the test scores, even resorting to cheating. With the consequences of low performance on tests, lower salary and competency tests for example, it’s no wonder that teachers feel like they are forced to do something about the scores. Teachers need to feel secure in their jobs to be able to have a good impact on our children’s education. With good and bad teachers out there, we assume standardized test grades are the only way to decipher them apart. I agree we need to get rid of those teachers that lack passion and aren’t good teachers. But seems to me as if we can see who those are by grades in the class, and students input. Making all teachers fear for their jobs isn’t a way to improve standardized tests scores.
I believe the lack of funding to those schools with lower test scores is somewhat unfair. First off, it is more likely for a lower income school district to have lower scores rather than a higher income district. Thus cheating the lower income districts out of much needed funds because they weren’t able to raise their test scores. In most cases, this turns out to be a continuous cycle in which these districts never get the funding to have a chance at getting their scores up.
In general, standardized testing isn’t a bad thing. It can predict how well the child has progressed in the school year. And knowing this can help the kids that aren’t doing so well, get more focus from their teachers. But when the tests become the priority over everything else that the kids need to learn, there’s a problem. The children should be put first, they should all be given the same equal chance with individual priorities; because everyone is special in their own way. This is America, and they are our future.