I am against our current testing culture. The problems with high stakes standardized tests could be ignored if our nation still saw testing as it did during my education. I do not every recall worrying about a test until the SAT. I recall taking very few. I had pride in my abilities and education, so I did my best on tests, but never felt they had much consequence for me personally, my teachers, or school. If the testing climate was still like this, I would not feel the need to opt my children out of testing. But, the climate has changed. Accountability is reigns and testing is the measure.
Below are my reasons for opting my child, who would otherwise face her first computerized, corporation manufactured, standardized test in the fall of Kindergarten just a few weeks after turning five years old.
- I trust teachers. Education was my child's teacher's
calling, and thus she sought training through her degrees, peers,
administrators, and professional development. She spends hours each
week with my child. My child's teacher will always be a better
judge of my child, both academically and as a whole person, than any
test score. I trust a person I can have a conversation with far
more than a corporation selling a product.
- I trust administrators. Administrators were once classroom
teachers. They evaluate our local teachers' performances better
through utilizing their experiences and education than reading a
print out of test scores.
- Our money for education should be invested locally on
personnel, facilities, and other programs and resources. Tests cost
millions of dollars. Investing this money locally would return
miraculous outcomes. Why send our money to large corporations who
are interested in profits not our local children?
- If you want your child to grow taller, you don't simply
measure her more often. Students should be reading, writing, and
creating to learn, not to demonstrate what they have learned.
Time and resources should be spent teaching and learning. The
most meaningful assessments are seamlessly woven into daily
activities by teachers.
- Children are not vessels to be filled. Education contains a
huge human component through both the students and teachers.
Standardized tests disregard this element; teaching to such
tests devalues the inherent individuality of humans. Over-reliance
on testing devalues any growth that cannot be measured
statistically with a bubble answer sheet including curiosity,
creativity, relationships, and metacognition.
- Standardized test scores represent the socioeconomic status of the test takers. Districts already know this information and the tests provide no solutions. Consequences for schools that rate poorly on evaluations composed of mostly test score data are discriminatory. The accreditation process is a superior way to assess a school.